Costa Rica (MNN) — When you hear the words “Beautiful Feet,” there are a lot of different connections that come to mind.
For a lot of Christians, it’s Romans 10:15, which reads: “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'”
For others, there’s an assumed grace that comes from the fight against poverty. Nearly always, religious communities connect the phrase with hope.
That’s why Beautiful Feet International chose its namesake. President Melissa Heiland adds that it also serves dual purpose. “Believers would recognize it as something from the Bible, but those opposed to the Gospel would not necessarily be alerted to that.”
It’s the Gospel first, she explains, in the business of getting things done where they’re invited. ”We do mission trips around the world–all kinds of mission trips: medical mission trips, children’s programs, English as a Second Language, sports camps, and eye clinics.”
However, one of the most effective ways to reach a community for Christ is through pregnancy center ministries. “Our international pregnancy centers educate women, help them to choose life, help them to take care of themselves and their babies, and primarily to give them the Gospel and disciple them, help them to become disciples of Christ.”
Heiland adds that although women in the areas where Beautiful Feet International is working may not have had any interest in spiritual things prior to pregnancy, they are often open to the Gospel at this most vulnerable time in their lives. Women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies are often afraid and confused. They come to pregnancy centers seeking answers.
With specific aptitudes like empathy and vulnerability, God has created women with beautiful feet to the answers found in the hope of Christ. That’s partly why Heiland was in Costa Rica earlier this month. “I did a pregnancy center training, and we trained 32 women from various regions throughout Costa Rica in the pregnancy center ministry.” She says that pregnancy centers are not “clinics” in the medical sense. They are primarily informational centers. “We do pregnancy tests in some of our centers; we have ultrasound machines so that they can understand the value of life and see that this really is a life.”
Because the women of Beautiful Feet International walk with a woman through her pregnancy and in the early days of motherhood, “Almost all of our clients do end up trusting Christ. What happens is that during an unplanned pregnancy, we find that women are much more open to hearing the Gospel. As our volunteers come alongside them, we’re really able to show them the love of the Lord.”
This approach has been extremely effective, adds Heiland. “We have been asked to come there by a national who has said, ‘We need this ministry here.’ We work closely with the churches, and in each case, we have a location that has been donated to us.” In the last few years, growth has blessed Beautiful Feet with 7 pregnancy centers: 4 in Costa Rica, 2 in Mexico, one in Togo, West Africa, and it looks like they’re going to open as many as three more in 2016. Beautiful Feet also offers free ultrasounds in select centers.
Teams are forming now for the 2016 trips. If you’re interested in exploring what’s available, click here.