Guatemala (GAN/MNN) — There's one thing you can say about four-year-olds: they constantly surprise
In Guatemala, Emilio
is just 4 years old, but already, he's wise and kind beyond his years.
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.
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.