Guatemala (MNN) — Last week, 750 shoes were delivered to four Guatemalan cities through a Buckner International Shoes for Orphan Souls program.
Shoes for Orphan Souls has been distributing shoes to orphan children across the world for almost ten years. In that time, over 1.6 million pairs of shoes have been delivered to more than 60 countries. This ministry has given children something to hope for and made way for further ministry work.
"A lot of the children that we meet in orphanages really don't have things that they can call their own," says Buckner church coordinator, Jeff Jones. "So the next day when they put on their clothes and they put on their shoes, those are actually their shoes." Jones says taking ownership of shoes helps to build kids' self-esteem.
Shoes for Orphan Souls hands out shoes to children partly as a disease preventative; but the foundation for their compassion remains Christ, says Jones. "Probably more than anything else, when we're able to actually physically distribute those shoes to those kids, it enables us to be the hands and feet of Christ."
Not only does SOS speak volumes to the children it serves, but it speaks boldly to the countries it works with as well. "Once we tell [other countries] that we're willing to give the kids that they're responsible for new pairs of shoes without any strings attached, they really welcome that and it opens those doors a little bit wider," notes Jones. This kind of credibility and trust gives Buckner a foothold to build further international ministries down the road.
Although SOS has delivered thousands of shoes already, the need is still growing. "In Guatemala in particular, they estimate that there are about 370,000 orphans," says Jones. "So this is a constant need."
Shoes for Orphan Souls has created several ways for people to get involved. To donate shoes or host a shoe drive, visit www.shoesfororphansouls.org .
SOS is making a shoe trip to Honduras in December. If you would like to help more directly, consider journeying with Buckner to Honduras, where you too can become "the hands and feet of Christ." Information for this program can be found at www.itsyourmission.com .