International (MNN) — Shoes: something most of us put on every day before we walk out of our house. It's something many of us take for granted, but not everyone around the world is fortunate enough to own a pair of shoes.
Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) is hoping to raise enough money to purchase 9,000 pairs of shoes by the beginning of February. Already they are half way to their goal, but VBB's Dyann Romeijn says they are still looking for donors. "With shipping, I think we need to raise another $15,000."
VBB had an opportunity to buy "a shoe that regularly retails for $65-$70. It’s a leather shoe with a nice, solid, rubber leather sole. We were able to buy them at a discounted price for $3.50," explained Romeijn.
Last year, one of VBB's contacts went into a mountainous area in the Himalayas to share the Gospel with some unreached tribal group. During the visit, the team noticed the children did not have any clothes, and the clothes that the adults had were dirty and tattered. Romeijn noted that the ministry team "had a compassion for the people, even though the people weren't welcoming."
The following year, the team decided to bring large bags of clothing to the people–not an easy task to carry them through a very mountainous region. "The people could see how they had to labor to get all these clothes and things up to them," bringing them as gifts, Romeijn explained.
As a result, "They were not only able to share the items with the people, but the people were then open to the Gospel. They saw the love of Christ demonstrated for them and the compassion that the [ministry team] had for them, and they were open to hear the Gospel.
"We truly believe God will do the same thing with these shoes," said Romeijn. Shoes will not only "protect their feet but will be a seed–an opportunity–to show Christ's love and then to share the Gospel."
VBB's goal is to reach as many people as possible with the love of Jesus. "Some [who receive the shoes] are already believers," Romeijn says. "But we also believe that it will show them God's provision for them."
VBB teams hope to begin the shoe distributions in February.
"A lot will just be carried by teams…in areas like Romania, Egypt, and Turkey, and into the refugee camps in Nepal and Burma, and all over Southeast Asia, even into Africa” Romeijn explained.
If you would like to become involved in this project, click here. Write "shoes" in the memo line.
VBB asks for prayer that "the people will see the love and compassion of Jesus Christ in these gifts; that He will open up their eyes to see the truth."