I get lots of crazy ideas. Some I share and some I don't. Some get put into action and do well while others just never come to fruition. Then there are those ideas that just stay with you. Have you ever gotten one of those crazy ideas that you just knew was from God? One of those ideas that God keeps laying on your heart until you share it with someone? Back in August, I got one of those ideas.
Our children's choir at church was about to start working on the musical "The Christmas Shoe Tree" written by Jeff Slaughter. The idea behind the musical was to show others how we can share the love of Jesus with people by meeting a basic human need.....a good pair of shoes. We were encouraged to do a Soles 4 Souls shoe dirve within our church. Soles 4 Souls takes gently used shoes and gives them to countries all over the world that need shoes. It is an amazing organization that has collected tons of shoes. This is where I felt God's voice speak to my heart.
As I thought about the shoe drive, God laid it on my heart to not just collect shoes to be sent to another organization to distribute but to get more personal and intentional with our choir's shoe drive. He wanted us to collect shoes for the children of Oneida, KY. Children that we had spent a week in July ministering to with soccer clinics & VBS during a family missions trip. Children who live in the 2nd poorest community in Kentucky. Children who deal with tough home lives and extreme poverty. Children who need to know that Jesus loves them. One hundred twenty nine children who needed shoes!!
One hundred twenty nine pair of shoes in one month was a big project that seemed slightly impossible. But I had faith that God would supply every pair. We started with the families in our kid's choir. Some of the kids chose children that they met during the family missions trip. Some chose children that were the same age as them. After every child chose, we opened up the shoe drive to the rest of our church. With the help of our church family, we were not only able to get a 129 new pairs of shoes but we were also able to purchase 2 pair of socks for each child. God wasn't done yet. He also provided the funds for a rental van to transport the shoes!! He was confirming for me that this was His project and He had all of the details worked out!!
When we arrived at the school on Monday morning, we were all so very excited and just a bit nervous. What if the shoes didn't fit? or the kids didn't like them? What happened next was amazing. There were smiles and "I love pink" and "Wow, look at these!" The responses from those beautiful children was so humbling and so overwhelming.
One of the first girls to enter the gym was a 4th grader whose face lit up when she saw the tables full of wrapped shoe boxes. She hugged her wrapped box and refused to open it. Everyone kept encouraging her to open it. She was the very last child in all of 4th-6th grade to open her shoes. In her box were also several pair of funky socks. One of the teachers commented, "That was the perfect gift for her. The extra socks couldn't have been given to a better situation." She beamed with joy and was so very proud of her new shoes. Her younger sister was a 1st grader and when she entered the gym she giggled and bounced with excitement.
This little 1st grader was wearing a cream colored coat that she refused to take off when she got to school. She was so thankful for her "new" coat. It was from Goodwill and was missing a button but she loved it!! She had this beautiful smile on her face that got bigger when she was handed a wrapped shoe box. After she opened her box she was absolutely giddy with excitement. Seeing the joy on her face brought tears of joy to my eyes.
Some kids giggled and hugged their shoes. Some put their new socks & shoes on immediately!! A few boys put their shoes on and ran around the gym seeing how high they could jump. One little boy got high tops and he said "Now I'll really be able to run fast on the basketball court."
Then there were a few who didn't want to unwrap their boxes. One little boy said he wanted to wait until Christmas because he wouldn't be getting any other gifts. Another little boy said he was going to have his mom rewrap his when he got home so he could open it again on Christmas. I've never seen so much joy and gratitude for a simple pair of shoes.
While it broke my heart to hear their stories, I needed to hear them. When we ignore or refuse to listen to the stories of struggle and need then we can go along with our happy little lives of ignorance and bliss. When poverty has a face, it makes it impossible to ignore. I'm now praying and asking God to give me another crazy idea to benefit the children of Oneida. An idea that only He can bring together
Do you have a crazy idea that you just can't forget??
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.