A Sermon In Shoes

July 26 2012 / ShareHim in Ethiopia, Jun. 22 - Jul. 7 '12 #557
by Elfriede Volk

Campaign Site Narrative from Lesperance, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The speaker assigned to this site was Elfriede Volk.

As soon as I stepped out of the minibus, I was surrounded by a horde of ragged youngsters chattering excitedly, yet almost accusingly. “What are they saying?” I asked the pastor who would continue with my husband to his site.
He laughed. “They said that they waited, and waited, and waited for you.”
I was supposed to present a ShareHim series at the L’Esperance orphanage, but school was out, and all children who had relatives had gone. So that more people could attend, the orphanage directors had arranged for use of the village school. But there was a problem. There was only one electrical outlet, which did not always work. On days when there was no electricity, the meetings moved to the orphanage chapel and the children waited at the school in vain.
As I bent down to hug the tykes, I could feel how keenly disappointed they had been when I did not come. I also noticed their feet. Many were bare. One little fellow had a neon green croc on one foot, and a black flip-flop, three times as large, on the other. Some had boots cut down with the backs cut off to accommodate growing feet, but their heels were on dirt.
After I had my equipment set up, I sat with the children. Some snuggled up to me while others climbed onto my lap. “Film?” one boy asked, looking at the projector.
“Yes,” I said. “A film, about Jesus.”
“Yes,” I said. “A film about God.”
He sighed happily and nestled against my shoulder.
On the last Friday we asked a pastor to buy children’s shoes in various sizes for us. He came back with a large bag containing an assortment of crocs, sandals, and flip-flops. After the baptism at the orphanage the next morning, we went back to the school. The children, as usual, were waiting. They watched as I assembled the equipment for what would be my last presentation. They timidly touched the puppets I had used every day to tell a story, and which I would leave there. One boy was fascinated by the large bag in the corner and peeked inside.
“Shoes!” he exclaimed, his face filled with awe and wonder. He pointed to his bare feet.
At the end of the meeting, the shoes were given to those most in need. But I could have used a dozen more. And pants without holes to cover bare bottoms. And dresses for warmth during the cold rainy season. And longer arms so that I could hug them all.
When Jesus was here on earth, He mingled with men, won their confidence, and met their needs. I like to think that, had He been at my site, He would also have given out shoes. And I hope that as the children came to the meetings, they also caught a glimpse of Jesus, and not just on film.
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