Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FEET (01/17/19)
TITLE: How Beautiful Are The Feet?
By Sue Gallien
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The ground is heavy with mud. Monsoon season is just beginning, and the air is thick with humidity. It makes walking more of a labor as your shoes sink into the earth with each step. Distances are being told in the southern American equivalent of, “down the road a piece”.
I see a clearing ahead. Children, women, a few men have gathered around the exterior of what appears to be the nicest structure in the area. It is rough. Hand cut boards, a metal roof, and dirt for a floor. At least 65 people have made there way to this spot. We have 3 duffel bags with shoes for the children. Will there be enough? What about the adults? Will the sizes work? So many thoughts rush through my head as the bags are emptied and lines of shoes are set up. We are fitting shoes on tiny, bruised, dirty feet. Many of them have no shoes, others have ill fitting shoes, or flip-flops that have obviously been handed down from one age to the next. It’s not time for that yet. First, we sing and share the gospel. Then we bless them.
The children sing in Khmer to honor us as guests. I recognize the tune, “God is so Good”. As recognition dawns on each American we too sing along with the children. It is a surreal moment. A moment when a huge, wide world shrinks to the size of this one little village. The host missionary shares the gospel and gives an invitation to receive Christ. The adults are hesitant. Generations of belief in Buddha pulling them from the truth of the gospel of Christ. Some relent, and we pray for a few dozen children and a few brave adults to receive Christ as their savior.
It’s time. Time to distribute shoes. It’s a loving gesture toward the children, but I dread it. Feet gross me out. They always have. The idea of dealing with my own children’s feet grossed me out. These are strangers. Some of them have wounds or open sores on their feet. How can I do this? How can I be part of this act of love without showing repulsion on my face? I whisper a prayer. “Lord help me.” I was not even sure what I wanted help with. Perhaps not to gag as I sized the shoes to eager feet. I prayer to let my love and compassion for these children to exceed my disgust of feet. “I want to show your love, Lord.”
The first children come through the line. All too big for the shoes I was assisting with. Finally, a little boy with sad brown eyes comes to get shoes from me. I help him fit the sandals to his feet. Just a little big, but it will give room to grow. His sad eyes softened, and a smile swept across his face. He begins talking in a language I do not know. I do know what a child sounds like when he gets a gift he loves. The interpreter tells me these sandals are the first new thing the child has ever owned. The little boy hugs me and repeatedly says thank you. He walks away. I see this little one and many other showing off their new shoes to anyone who would listen. They modeled their new sandals the way a woman models a new pair of heels…with complete joy.
In these moments Isaiah 52:7 resonates in my heart: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” We brought good news and blessing to the village. Our small gift opened a world of hope to children with beautiful little feet running to share the message we delivered. There is hope in Jesus.
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