Foot washing in Zambia is one part of ministry for a Teen Missions Group.

By July 11, 2005

Zambia (MNN)–Estimates show that over half a million children are orphaned by AIDS. That translates to thousands of new orphans every week in Zambia.

Grinding poverty adds to the burden the government is already struggling with. As a result, many orphans go without necessities like school uniforms and shoes.

Teen Missions International’s Bob Bland says they just sent a team to Zambia for six weeks with an unusual mission. “These kids have agreed to go with only the clothes that they can put in their carry-on. Then, out of the two bags that we’re allowed to take on the airline, they will be filled with shoes.”

The distribution, Bland explains will be in mainly rural areas. “They’re going to our AIDS Orphans Rescue Units that we have established, from village to village, to wash the children’s feet, put socks and shoes on them.”

The Rescue Unites are small housing structures for two staff members. The team identifies AIDS orphans and helps them to survive by having on-site orphanages.

From there, the orphans learn how to plant their own gardens, get medical help, clothing, blankets, school fees and the all-important school uniform. Without one, the children can’t go to school.

Beyond that, the orphanages provide spiritual training. Even with so much being done, there are still so many who don’t have what they need outside of the Rescue Units.

So, for many of the orphans, the team’s visit will provide their first pair of shoes and socks. This, Bland goes on to say, is where actions speak loudly for the Gospel. “When they come and actually see this humility of actually washing their feet, they recognize it and of course, the young people share the Gospel.”

In addition to the shoe distribution, teams will also do Vacation Bible School programs with puppets, skits and the presentation of the Gospel. The trip wraps up in mid-August. Teams then head to Ethiopia for a debriefing before returning stateside.

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