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Taking your children on a mission trip is a fantastic and eye opening experience. On one trip to Swaziland with my oldest son, Hayden, I noticed he was playing soccer in bare feet. You can imagine my thoughts were very “fatherly” and “responsible.”
When I asked, Hayden said he had taken the shoes off of his own feet, and given them to one of the boys who didn’t have any shoes at all.
Hayden had shoes for all different occasions, school, church, sports, etc. This became something Hayden, my other son Gideon, and their friends all started doing. They gave kids the shoes off their feet because at the moment, it’s exactly what those kids needed.
Sadly, if you have ever traveled to Africa you know that sometimes kids end up with some strange items from us.
Like a bridesmaid’s dress.
Missy Roepnack, one of the leaders of the sponsorship ministry for Kechene CarePoint in Ethiopia, had this to write today:
I can’t go back with my expensive highlights still peeking out halfway down my head, with a purse full of Luna bars and $250 worth of camera equipment, and pretend not to SEE. I CAN examine the needs I saw and present them here, and I CAN contribute to assisting those needs.
One little girl in particular kept staring at me. She wore a junior bridesmaids dress; American made. It was so fancy and over-the-top that all it did was highlight the situation and problem for me.
The fact that this dress was sent over to Ethiopia by well-meaning Americans, she found it, and that she now wears it with pride made this whole picture very clear:
We are not giving them what they need.
We can stop boxing up our bridesmaids dresses and used winter clothing, and start sending things that they need.
They need shoes.
They need uniforms.
Missy and the Kechene sponsors have organized a uniform and shoe drive for the kids of Kechene. In large part they are doing this because the community of leaders at Kechene–the Ethiopian leaders–have recognized this need themselves. This is something they need and is not just something to make Americans feel less guilty about their abundance.
If you would like to partner with Missy in providing a pair of shoes or a uniform for a child, all the links are below. From Missy:
1) Buy a sky blue uniform and share The Promise of Jeremiah 29:11. Show them it’s real.
2) Or, buy a pair of shoes. To me, this is the basics of our Gospel. Shoes for “the least of these”.
Meet the kids of Kechene in this video: