(Image courtesy Global Aid Network)
Guatemala (GAN/MNN) ― There's one thing you can say about four-year-olds: they constantly surprise you.
In Guatemala, Emilio is just 4 years old, but already, he's wise and kind beyond his years.
Global Aid Network (GAiN) has been working with a partner in Guatemala, where being poor is a way of life. Among the 10 poorest countries in Latin America, nearly a third of the population lives below the poverty line. Many people in this developing nation are struggling to provide for their families, and many children go without adequate food, shelter, and education.
Emilio and his family are no exception. Shoes are a luxury compared to food.
Recently, GAiN's in-country partner distributed boots in the schools of communities where poverty was rampant.
Emilio received a pair of boots to protect his feet, providing protection he had not had in a long time. The boots serve to prevent future disease and infection in children. Since many diseases enter the body through the feet, when a child walks through mud and filth of the slums without shoes, they suffer anything from injuries, to severe athlete's foot to contracting life-threatening diseases. In addition, new shoes can also help a child go to school because wearing shoes is often a requirement.
But what Emilio did with his new shoes was unexpected. He went home and immediately gave his boots to his cousin.
When he returned to school with no shoes, the teachers noticed. When asked, he told them he gave his shoes away because his cousin does not go to school, adding that he might never have the chance to have a pair of shoes of his own. Shoes = opportunity. Opportunity means the potential of breaking the cycle of poverty. With GAiN, that also includes the opportunity to hear about the love of Christ for them. Who doesn't want to share that?
The teachers were able to provide another pair of boots for this young man with a big heart. These children witnessed God's big heart and His provision through the gift of a new pair of boots.
The price tag for this kind of transformation: $3 per pair of shoes, $1,490 (plus airfare) for a chance to deliver hope and love to these kids on a mission trip. Being surprised by the joy of Christ = priceless.