Small Church Sows Seeds, Reaps Blessings for Shoes for Orphan Souls
By Carolyn Thurman
Can God use a tiny seed or a small pebble to accomplish His mighty purposes? He can, and He does! What about the parable of the mustard seed? What about little David and the pebble he picked up to slay Goliath? God continues His work today in the same ways we read in the Bible.
Most people have never heard of the small town of Perryton nestled in the Texas panhandle. There, God has used a small church in a small community to accomplish great things!
It started at the September 2011 Woman’s Missionary Union meeting, where each woman found a small magazine at her seat. Carolyn Thompson opened this booklet and God opened her heart to a ministry she had never heard of – Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls. Her heart broke for children around the world without shoes.
She committed to do something and soon had the children at First Baptist Perryton involved in collecting money for shoes and socks. For two years, she led this small church to greater and greater involvement, and God moved deeper in her heart to accomplish more.
In 2013, she saw that Buckner was planning a mission trip to Russia. Carolyn, her husband and two other couples committed to go to St. Petersburg to serve orphans and “plant seeds.”
She planned a trip to the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in July 2013 to prepare the hearts of those going to Russia. People of all ages signed up to serve in Dallas. Even the small children were used by God to draw pictures, place them inside shoes, carry the shoes and place them in proper bins.
Before leaving, many tried “The Barefoot Experience,” where they walked without shoes on the simulated ground of different countries to experience what children without shoes endure daily. As a young mother watched her children try it, God began to work a plan in her mind.
Karmyn had been teaching her children’s choir students at First Baptist Perryton to see with the eyes of Christ, to complete acts of service and to feel compassion for children around the world. God planted a seed in her heart to plan an event for these children that would accomplish all three goals. The “Walk in Love Barefoot Benefit” was conceived.
Karmyn hoped to teach in a small way, but God had other plans. Again He used a small thing – the children – to blow the socks off all involved! Prayer and planning went into the event and the children sought sponsors to give flat donations or donations per lap. They chose Oct. 20 for the walk, and Karmyn asked the children’s choir to set a fundraising goal. They set a big one: $5,000.
The day of the event, moms and dads and other church members joined the children to walk the course barefoot. The pavement was cold but hearts were warm, and God blessed and blessed the effort.
Church members kept track of each lap participants made. Others passed out cups of water as the participants passed the front of the church building. Some handled the registration, accounting and other necessary paperwork. Some bandaged the cut toes and feet of the injured. Many sat in the stands to shout words of encouragement and cheer as the participants passed by.
When the walk ended, all moved inside to hear results, receive prizes and praise and worship the Father. The children led the service, reading Scripture, leading in prayer, answering Bible questions and giving testimonies!
Later in the week a man who hadn’t gone to this church for many years stopped by to say he had heard the service on the radio and was touched by the children. He had a small check he would like to give: $4,000.
Total participants: 98
Total laps: 1,038
Total monies received to date: Over $13,000
Total blessings: Immeasurable
Is God able to use the small and insignificant to accomplish great and mighty things for His glory? Yes.
From the meeting of a small group of women to ministering in Russia. That’s big!
From collecting a few pairs of shoes to collecting more shoes than can be transported to Dallas in one trip. That’s big!
From young children seeing with the eyes and heart of God to influencing adults not only in their church but in their whole community. That’s big!
God says He has plans for each of our lives; plans for good to prosper us. As we begin to open our hearts and seek to know His plans, we will be allowed to view His awesome works!
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