I am going barefoot in July – and I want you to help me.

Just about a year ago, while at a gathering for Nazarene Pastors in Alaska, I heard about an organization called Because International.   This group of folks is dedicated to practical compassion – meaning they work to meet known needs in developing countries through creative thinking and innovation.   One such need was shoes for kids.  It’s something I’d never thought much about before.  I’ve never lacked shoes – and neither has my daughter: when her feet grow I just buy another pair of shoes. Yet not everyone has that luxury.   Shoes are a luxury – and I didn’t even think of that.

Because International learned that kids in other countries don’t have access to shoes – and if they do happen to have a pair, when they grow out of them they can’t just go buy another pair.  So the majority of children go barefoot – in the dirty streets, over rocks and in fields, streams and the toliet.  It’s not by choice.   As these kids go barefoot they are exposed to soil-transmitted parasites and diseases that can cause infection, loss of limbs or even death: simply for lack of shoes.

After seeing the need in developing countries firsthand in 2007 – the folks at Because International developed the SHOE THAT GROWS 5 sizes and will last 5 years!   I have a pair of these shoes on my desk – they are incredibly well made.    Check out these two videos to hear about it from the folks who made it – and then read about how you can help!

It’s been said that you can’t truly understand someone unless you walk a mile in their shoes.   In this case – perhaps we can’t understand someone unless we walk a mile barefoot.   So that is what I intend to do.   For the month of July I will forgo shoes and live life barefoot in an effort raise awareness and funds for the SHOE THAT GROWS.   I will carry my pair of SHOES THAT GROW with me wherever I go, along with some information cards for those who are curious, or who would like to donate.  All the funds collected will be sent with the funds raised at other Nazarene churches in Alaska to Because International so more kids can have shoes!

Want to get involved?  Here are simple ways you can help get shoes to kids that need them:

  • Sponsor me as I walk barefoot in July.  $1 a day or $31 for the month is the equivalent of two pairs of shoes!
  • A simple cash donation of any amount.
  • Pray for Because International.
  • Pray for the kids who need shoes.
  • Go through your closet and donate clothing and shoes that are good condition to your local women’s shelter, or homeless shelter.  Make a difference in your community!
  • Share this blog to spread the word!

Help your kids get involved too!  Set out a pair of shoes on the kitchen table, or somewhere you will see every day.  Collect spare change in the shoes all month and then count it up at the end of the month and donate it via the link below.  Encourage your kids to do some extra chores, mow the neighbors lawn, and find the lost coins under the couch!

We can make a difference together!

EMAIL me with questions!    I’d love to tell you more about this project!

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This is a tough word.  When we are hearing the word spoken to us it means that the circumstances of our life require it.  When we speak it out loud ourselves we are attempting to build it up within ourselves for the battle that might lie ahead of us.   It may be a simple athletic activity that requires endurance:  a longer than usual work out, heavier than usual weights, or even just getting out of bed early day after day to squeeze in that activity.

It could be endurance for a job that you don’t like.  Getting out of the house and into that workplace with a boss you must endure, or a coworker you must endure for a paycheck, which just barely breaks you even.  Some of you may not want to admit it, but you may even use this word when thinking of your kids or your spouse.  You have endured time with them when you are worn out from the other areas of life that require endurance.   And we haven’t even mentioned the larger than life things: terminal illness, job loss, financial crisis, relationship decline etc.  One can only take so much enduring before something gives, right?

Hebrews says we are to, “run the race with endurance.”  So what keeps us going in the midst of self imposed standards, daily grinds and extraordinary pressures and situations?   Is coffee?  Friendships?  That inner ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ attitude?   Or perhaps is there a greater motivator for our souls, bodies and minds when we must endure and what are we enduring for? Is it something greater than just the end of the day or the end of the trial?

Suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope.  (Romans 5:3-4)    The things we endure in life can either crush us or refine us and make us stronger.   Jesus suffered and endured the greatest evil and pain that is imaginable.  He was crushed for us, so that we do not have to be and He did it for the joy that was set before Him. He calls us to have that same hope and endurance.  He shows us there is something greater than this world and it’s woes.

“God is the God of endurance and encouragement.”  (Romans 15:4)   God has more endurance than any of us, and so He alone knows best how to encourage your soul as you patiently endure.  He has endured the worst of the worst and can sympathize with you – no matter what the circumstance.  He is generous with His compassion and mercy and love.  In the face of enduring something- God’s presence and friendship changes our hearts, though perhaps not our circumstances.

What keeps us going when we are running out of endurance?  Love.  Not love we give but love that we receive. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things…endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)  Jesus’ love for you enables you to have hope, to have faith, and endure all things!

When you feel weak and want to give in – call out to the God of endurance and encouragement!  His very character is that of Love and He will meet you right where you are and encourage you to finish the race!  Don’t give up…God is with you!

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is marked for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.  For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorned it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart.” (Heb. 12:1-3)