EDITOR'S NOTE: In June, a team of volunteers traveled to Guatemala with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® and WAY-FM, a Christian radio station based out of Nashville, Tenn., to deliver shoes to vulnerable children and fragile families. Afternoon radio host Joy Summers went on the trip and brought along several listeners. In a post on the WAY-FM blog, she shares about a life-changing experience on the trip:
“There is one final child who will need shoes today,” they said as they led 4-year-old Wendy over to me.
Her face seemed slightly unsure of me as I led her to a chair and helped her take off her old, dirty, worn out sandals.
Wendy’s concern broke into excitement when I presented her brand new velcro sneakers thanks to many WAYFM listeners just like you!
Joy here, and I am in Guatemala with one of our ministry partners, Buckner Shoes for Orphans Souls. During our spring pledge drive, you helped raise over 1,000 pairs of shoes for children in Guatemala, and now, I’m here with some of our lucky winners to actually put the shoes on the kids’ feet – like Wendy.
As I bent down, I saw how truly dirty Wendy’s little feet had become. I had to wash them four times just to try to get the dirt of the dusty streets off her tiny toes.
Wendy is not a typical orphan like most of the children that Buckner serves. For example her parents are both still living and she is still in their care. Her mother was even receiving new shoes at the same time as Wendy! But many orphans in Guatemala do have living parents who cannot take care of them because of abuse, addiction, or financial hardship.
Wendy’s family falls into the category of financial hardship. Her father is able to find construction work, but there are never enough jobs to fully provide for the family.
That’s where Buckner’s Family Hope Center comes in.
Wendy’s mother Marisol comes to the center for education as does Wendy. Marisol is learning from them how to sew! Marisol now sells the bags she is able to make and that has become the primary income to keep the family afloat. This keeps them off the streets and keeps Wendy at home with her parents instead of in an orphanage.
I love that a pair of shoes reminds the family not only that they are loved, but also that Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls is with them and is fighting for their family to succeed and stay together.
Once Wendy’s new pink and white sneakers were on her little feet she jumped up like she could take on the world! We played with a balloon and jumped around!
I watched Wendy laughing and playing but I also observed Marisol watching her daughter and pure joy spread across her face. It’s one thing to love your child and another to have proof in a pair of new shoes that someone else, a world away, loves your child too! That feeling is what Buckner provides for everyone who it helps!