I should’ve thrown these shoes away.
There’s a lot of things I should’ve done… Like mow the yard today, put more in savings this month and eaten a well-balanced breakfast fortified with vitamins, minerals and nutrients… but, I didn’t.
Even though these shoes have reached the pinnacle of ‘nastiness,’ I do have some valid reasons for keeping them around.
First, I wear size 18… go ahead and get the giggling out of your system. I’ve heard it all… Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti, you must have a good understanding, you’d be a foot taller if you weren’t turned under… which one is that, The Nina, The Pinta or the Santa Maria?
When it comes to big shoe, or Big foot, jokes I promise you… There’s nothing I haven’t heard. And elevators, they are completely awkward… everybody looks down and then they look at you.
So, on that fact alone, it’s hard for me to get rid of a pair of shoes. Size 18 shoes in any style are just not that easy to come by.
In complete honesty though, that has nothing to do with why I have held onto these particular shoes.
I wore these shoes last year on a trip to Haiti. It was a trip I shared with my oldest son, and we went to work with children from a school with a feeding program and to share the gospel through a ministry called Restore Haiti.
I’ve been to several places around the world on “mission” trips. I’ve been in places where I was not allowed to reveal my identity in Asia because of danger to the missionaries on the ground and even myself.
I preached the gospel in an open air church on the continent of Europe where my Christian belief was definitively in the minority… less than .01% of the population.
I have worked with students who are overprivileged in an under resourced area in a resort style ministry of the Caribbean.
But, none of my travels or ministry opportunities prepared me for that stint in Haiti.
I had never seen poverty like that. I have never seen such a devastated infrastructure even years after their major earthquake. I had never walked where they filmed the commercials of the hungry children.
It was devastating.
One of the things I remember clearly was the dirty congestion that reached out from the urban areas even to the rural. The walk to Trash Beach, named that because there was more trash than beach. The continuous litter that connected the shacks that many called home. And, the smell… can’t really describe it… it has to be experienced.
One night on that trip we were told we would have a special experience getting to do what many Hatians never get to do, eat out at a restaurant.
We dressed up, and headed “downtown” with 15 of us pressed into an open truck bed.
It was a great night! Good food, lots of laughs, picture taking, some dancing (hold your horses, it was Baptist approved dancing), and a much appreciated break from the hustle and bustle of that oppressively hot, constantly dirty, never-stop moving trip we called our mission.
Just before we left the restaurant that night it began to pour, I don’t mean drizzle, I mean frog strangler, gully washer, downpour.
We all ran out into the street to try and jump up in the bed of the truck. It was a good uphill mile and a half trip back to where we we’re staying.
As I was helping students climb into the bed of the truck the water was rushing downhill was a little over ankle deep. The filth of those city streets, the trash that had been lining the pathways we walked and all the things that I would intentionally step around were now clinging to my legs and submerged feet in that Hatian flood.
It was grotesque. It was unhealthy. It was beautifully brutal… Brutifal.
These were the shoes I was wearing that night. I can’t get rid of them.
They look horrible, they smell worse and I am absolutely positive that they somewhere have the ebola virus within them.
But, every time I wear them I remember how blessed I am, the importance of the mission, and to pray for those who live in that place every day.
Isaiah 52:7 says,
“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.””
This is the season when many of God’s faithful go “on mission.”
You won’t have to be on Facebook very long to see a team of teenagers trying to raise funds via the car wash to go on mission.
You’ve probably already received a letter from a distant relative who’s in college trying to raise support, whether financial or prayer, for a trip overseas.
And, in your church there’s no doubt been talk of summer mission projects, trips and missionaries.
Everybody has the opportunity to get involved in sharing the gospel and sending the hands and feet of our Savior to places where Jesus needs to be.
You may not be able to hop a plane this summer and find yourself in East Asia, southern Africa or a Caribbean jungle for two months, but you can make it happen. Here are your options:
Pray -not just in general, you need to find someone’s name, a specific trip and begin praying for them passionately right now. Pray for them before they go as they raise money, prepare spiritually and take the trip. Consider yourself a part of their prayer team and understand that you are just as valuable as someone on the ground as you are interceding for them every day until they get home, maybe even after!
Give -some can give a little, others can give a lot, but everything counts! Maybe you need to have a garage sale on their behalf, or you do a car wash in your neighborhood to give all the proceeds to them for the trip. Maybe, you should talk to your family about making your vacation two days shorter so that you can give all the money that you would spend on those two days for that mission trip. There’s 1000 ways to go about it, but these things don’t happen for free. You should give.
Go – maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but at some point in the future you need to begin asking the Lord for an opportunity to go! Let Him guide you to the place, and let Him outline a time. Believe it or not, you have beautiful feet, they just need to get on the right mountain.
You can trust me, when it comes to feet… I’m an expert.
Don’t wait, the summer mission trip season will pass you by quickly and you need to get involved now, praying, giving where you can and thinking about when you might go.
If you just don’t know where to start and would like someone to pray for, or would like a legitimate mission to be able to give to… Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), I’ll be glad to connect you with those who are heading out in the next few weeks.
Pray. Give. Go.
Maybe someday you’ll have a pair of shoes you just can’t throw away.