By Beth Bateman
We stepped out of the truck and took several steps back in time to a village in Bantu, Ethiopia. That’s when we saw the children. I stood in awe. They were beautiful.
I noted that most of the children had no shoes and wondered if I could ever fully fathom what it is like to walk for a day in their shoes. They had none. Some had wide feet, from never having the luxury of support from a pair of shoes. They were callused, scarred and dirty. One small child walked with me for several minutes and was completely naked from the waist down.
It was there, in Bantu, that I was privileged to meet one of the most beautiful children in Ethiopia. No doubt her feet have carried a load of plight, hardship, and a will to survive. Where have those feet been? Where will they go? Next to her, stood a young girl in thin plastic shoes. They were cracked in several places. Did she see us coming and hurry to put on her best looking attire? She was the only one with shoes. It was probably the very best she had.
As we walked the grounds of the future community center and school, the older children there guided me around the seemingly never ending patches of mud. They pointed to the ground to suggest where I should place my feet, to sections where they knew the mud wasn’t as deep. How sweet they were to help. How precious they were to hold my hand as we walked. It was a humbling moment as I caught myself pulling my pants up and trying to avoid getting my own shoes and clothing dirty. I wonder what they thought of me and how vain it must have seemed.
I have always found it interesting to study the faces of the elderly. It is as if each wrinkle tells a story of their life. Each line on their face represents something in their past.
Much is the same for feet, especially the feet of orphans. Worn, swollen, scared and tired. Those feet tell the stories of their past. As our Savior hung on the cross, He too was worn, swollen, scarred, and tired. In Mathew 25:40, He tells us that when we care for the least of these, we care for Him. Somehow, by the wounds on their feet, I could tell I was looking at the feet of our Maker.
We have a calling to clothe the needy. I couldn’t help but smile when I stood there and thought of how excited these children will be when Shoes for Orphan Souls brings them shoes one day. The selfish part of me imagined myself being there to see those smiles and hear the exclamations of joy and thanksgiving. I can see them dancing and skipping in their new shoes. I know this picture of them isn’t a picture in my imagination. It is a vision of what is to come. Truth is, it doesn’t really matter if I am there or not. It just matters that someone is there to deliver those shoes, and that the shoes are donated by someone in the first place. They will finally receive the gift of spiritual and physical needs being met. What a day it will be!
The sun was about to set right before we departed Bantu. It didn’t set before the Lord painted a beautiful scene in the sky for us all. The sunlight was showering rays down from the sky. It was as if God was showering blessings on the village of Bantu. He has big plans for the children there, and we all have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Editors Note: You can be a part of that shoe trip to Bantu this November 6 - 16. Call Pat Wilson at 214-388-1442 to learn how! Learn more at www.itsyourmission.com.
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