Zambia (MNN) — Hundreds of millions of Africans get diseases through their feet. Worms, parasitic fleas, and even a rare type of cancer are the cause of severe infections and, in extreme cases, death.
Yet, all of these diseases are preventable. How? It’s quite simple: shoes.
Many adults and children in Zambia have never owned a single pair of shoes. As a result, they’ve picked up diseases. On top of that, most kids aren’t allowed to attend school if they don’t have shoes to wear.
“They’re primarily village people that don’t have access to shoes, let alone the funds [to buy shoes] if they were available,” explains Helen Williams of World Missionary Press. “Life is basically just trying to feed and take care of their families.”
For decades, WMP has supplied their distribution partners in Africa with Scripture booklets, devotions, and other Christian literature. One of their newest partners, Soles for Jesus, has been raising funds for, collecting, and distributing thousands of pairs of shoes since 2009.
When the recent partnership between WMP and Soles for Jesus began, they saw great opportunities ahead and took action immediately.
“We decided [to] send a 40-foot container: half of it with shoes (8,000 pairs) and half of it with booklets–1,280,000 Scripture booklets,” says Williams.
The two ministries have been promoting, collecting, and organizing shoes and funds which will go to Zambian villages. “We’ve had great response. Churches around here have been bringing in things, and families are gathering shoes. So, it’s an exciting project for all of us.”
Souls for Jesus staff recently met with and washed the feet of village leaders and pastors who will receive the supplies. “It’s such a message of grace and oneness in the Body [of Christ],” Williams says. “It is reaching those who under no other circumstance would be able to have this. Physically, it just makes things easier for them…[and] this is a gift that they just in many cases wouldn’t envision having.”
With a new supply of shoes, disease rates are expected to plummet, and children will be able to attend schools. With the shoe ministry and new supply of Christian literature, villagers will see the tangible love of Christ on display and hopefully come to know their Heavenly Father.
WMP sees this partnership project with Soles for Jesus as the first of many. Be praying for the success of the distribution and for hearts to receive the Gospel message.