Lives Changed by NEW SHOES.

Last week, I (Alicia) received this beautiful picture in my inbox.  It made my heart leap to see that our Jemo kids received new shoes!

This simple provision is so significant to me.  It shows these kids in a concrete way that they are loved.  Someone is caring for their needs.  They are being provided for.

It is also significant from a programming aspect.  You see, at many CarePoints, shoes are provided to the children as part of a capitol (special) project.  Sponsorship dollars are exhausted just trying to feed the children and provide basic medical care.  However at JEMO, our sponsorship numbers are so high that there was enough money to purchase shoes for the children!

I am so thankful for each and every sponsor!  The impact YOU are making in the lives of your sponsored sons and daughters is life altering.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A few years ago, I read the blogpost I am including below.  It has never left me.

I hope your heart is changed by it, too.

The Shoes
written by Ingrid – a Children’s HopeChest CarePoint leader who lives in Minneapolis, MN

I found the shoes pictured above laying on the ground. By the looks of them I suspected that the owner had outgrown them and had toes hanging out. I was right…

My favorite t-shirt is grey and in blue lettering it says, ETHIOPIA CHANGED MY LIFE!

The truth is my life changed because of pain, not my pain but the pain of others.  In particular, an 11 year old boy named Israel who had outgrown his shoes.
In January 2011, I visited a small village in southern Ethiopia.  We spent our time at a Christian school that Israel was privileged to attend.  The school focused on reaching orphans and vulnerable children (many of whom lived with their widowed mothers).  Without help, these children would not attend school. With dozens of village children on a waiting list, Israel was lucky.After finding the shoes, I took them to a staff member who directed me to Israel.  His dirty bare feet, a size larger than the shoes, looked familiar. I saw 1,000’s of barefoot children while traveling through Ethiopia.
I took Israel aside and began to dig through our donations.  I found a used pair of ladies tennis shoes.  They were the perfect size.  I found a new pair of socks, washed his feet and watched him, with a full grin, put on the socks and shoes.  I tied them, checked the toes and sent a grinning boy back to join the others.
A few minutes later I went over to the children to take some more candid shots. I noticed Israel standing in the background crying.  My immediate thought was that he didn’t like the shoes or that another child had been mean to him because he got shoes and they didn’t. A staff member translated for Israel. He was happy and those were tears of joy!
It was a moment that changed my perspective and life.  I cried so hard as I held that little boy.  My life changed because of his pain and his deep emotion as his pain was eased.  “…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”  Isaiah 58:10-11a