How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” – Is 52:7
My entire body is trembling as I write. Shaking. Tingling. Nearly numb.
I have to write now. You have to know now. For the past 3 hours, I have been holding screaming children in a jigger removal clinic and my heart is shattered into a million pieces. Children the same ages as my own… whose feet were full of these wretched sand fleas and their egg sacs buried deep beneath the skin.
I clung tightly to precious children who screamed in a way that brought my stomach into my throat. I watched chunks of flesh detach as the painful jiggers were removed. Child after child clenching teeth at the beginning and then begging to be held by those of us around. What starts out as accepting a gentle back scratch, turns into a furious grasping for comfort wherever they can find it. A desperate cry to be free of the pain of these despicable insects.
I am absolutely wrecked and emotionally spent. My heart is still beating fast as my stomach threatens to expel all the contents at any given moment. And not only from watching the gruesome process of removal, but from the way my heart is throbbing with the pain I just experienced alongside of them.
At one point 5 of us held 4 year-old Abu who had jiggers in his feet and hands as he screamed out “Mommy!!! Mommy!!” and clung tightly to my arms. His face buried in my own as his tears mingled with mine and fell all over his outstretched legs. I held him tight and kissed his dirty, tear-stained face as a nurse removed jigger after jigger after jigger. His toes were so swollen that they looked to be spread wide from the infection ravaging every part of his foot.
I watched my sweet new friend lose an entire toenail because of the mass amount of eggs buried underneath and infection encompassing every part of his tiny toes. Infection spewed from every open wound in his toes as he writhed in excruciating pain. My heart is cracked wide open and my eyes feel constantly wet from the welling tears that won’t leave.
All they need to prevent this from happening is medical care, education, and a pair of shoes. All they need is a pair of shoes.
A pair of shoes.
And as I sat there broken-hearted, sobbing with these babes, all I could think was “How can anyone not agree to just cut up their old jeans to prevent this?” All it takes is my leftovers…a little bit of my time… and a piece of my heart to love beyond what I can see from the comfort of my own beautiful American home.
I don’t think I can ever view my old jeans the same. I won’t ever view my mass collection of shoes the same. I can’t not do something when I have SO MUCH to give. We have SO MUCH to give. And it’s such a small amount to give to make a difference too. After what I experienced today, I’m not beyond begging you. From the pit in my stomach and the fullness of my heart, I honestly beg you not stand by and do nothing. I beg you to gather people around you…to order a shoe kit and to bring hope to these children.
It’s not just giving shoes….it’s providing medical care… antibiotics, ointments, testing for HIV, Typhoid, Malaria, and other diseases. It’s holding tearful faces and kissing cheeks that don’t have proper care. It’s creating jobs for the shoemakers who for the first time can provide for even their own families. Some of the Sole Hope workers have begun taking in other street children and paying for their school as well. The hearts of all involved with this organization swell with Jesus and want to love their own people with the love that has been shown to them.
With everything that I am, I stand behind what Sole Hope is doing here in Uganda. They breathe love, and Jesus, hope, and new life. They give children back a childhood where they can run and play without pain. They open doors and create life-giving opportunities for workers and staff.
I cannot say enough good about what I have seen here. My words fall short.
So often from where we sit in America, it can feel like we are asked to give money…and more money and more money. And the truth is that we actually do have so much money that we can give. But there is something so special about becoming a bigger part of the story. About seeing a pair of my own jeans cut up with friends and family and then made into a pair of shoes. About holding the children as they cry, about loving on them, about seeing them educated, sharing the love of Jesus with them, and giving shoes made from items in my own home.
The children here are wearing pieces of your blessing… wearing bits of your generosity. They are given back childhood because of your cut up pants.
It’s a no-brainer.
If they were your children, wouldn’t you want someone who has piles of extra pants at home to cut up a few pairs to help your kids?
Please. Please. It’s just so simple… and so totally life-giving.
For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. – Ps 116:8–9
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – Rev 21:3-5
If you’d like to help provide extended recovery for some of these children, please join with me, Allume, Sole Hope, and Pure Charity as we partner together to make the Sole Hope Outreach House Project a reality!
Want to host your own shoe cutting party? It’s easy, fun, and will change lives. I promise..I see it. Go HERE to order a shoe cutting kit!
Be sure to follow all the other amazing gals on our trip by clicking this link: #bloghope
**Photos by Cara Coleman