Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How discarded denim can change lives. Sole Hope: An invitation to help.

My chair was comfortable and my coffee was hot. My eyes were still casting dark shadows from my red eye flight the night before, but tired or not, I was ready. Ready to embrace all the writer wisdom, craft encouragement, and soul-sister fellowship this first full conference day had to offer.  

Bring it on, God! I thought.

The large room pulsed with servers bustling and 450 women buzzing with Allume excitement. I swallowed my last bite of egg and sausage as the big screen on stage flickered.

The video rolled.
The whole room stilled.
Silent save for uncontrolled gasps echoing under ballroom chandeliers.



2 minutes and 51 seconds. I was completely undone.

Tears streaming down my freshly made-up cheeks. I could barely swallow the huge lump in my throat. All I could think was: Who am I, God? 

Who am I that I was born in America? 
Who am I that I don't have to watch my babies suffer like this? 
Those could be my boys. This problem could be in my village. 
Those children could be my neighbors. 







They are my neighbors.

The beautiful blonde woman from the video appeared on stage before us and shared more of the Sole Hope story. She told us how we could easily help by hosting a Shoe-Cutting Party: collect old jeans, gather a group of friends, and play a crucial role in providing shoes for kids in Uganda. Kids the same ages of Asher's children. Kids the same ages of mine.

"Nobody can do everythingbut everybody can do something."

Her words hung in the air. Took root in my heart.

God moved in incredible ways at Allume. But as I flew away from Greenville, South Carolina back home to Glendora, California, I knew that one of my biggest "takeaways" from this writer's conference had nothing to do with writing.

But everything to do with God's story.

The plight of jiggers is real. Children in Uganda are being robbed of their childhood by sand fleas. And it is totally preventable.

I may feel like my finances are already stretched and my time already has too many demands on it. "I could call it someone else's problem or I could do what I could to help the situation." Asher Collie said it. She lived it. I knew I had to, too.

Nearly five months after Allume, I found myself once again in a crowded room of women, choking back tears while watching the Sole Hope video.

Choking back tears for the 100 women gathered in our church Worship Center, wielding scissors in their hands and conviction in their hearts to do something.

Something to be the hands of Jesus to little ones He loves.
Little ones He sees. Little ones He has not forgotten.

We spend two and a half hours on a Monday night tracing and cutting out simple patterns on discarded denim.











Old jeans turned into new hope.

300 pairs prepared!

The unneeded, never-worn extra from the back of dresser drawers becoming the needed, just-enough for the soles of children who have never worn.

New shoes from unused pants.
It's not rocket science but it is revolutionary.
A radical change for the lives it touches.







And it's not just the children who are given a gifthope through medical relief and new shoes. It's the Ugandan shoemakers who are given skills training and a jobhope of providing for their families. The mothers and caretakers who are given educationhope of preventing future suffering from foot related diseases.

It's me. It's my sisters. We are given the gift of servinghope that our American-born blessing, our State-side surplus is for a purpose.

There is joy in being part of God's story.

Last Monday I saw it all over their faces. I felt it deep in my heart.







God. is. moving. 

He's letting us be a part. The blessing of it is beyond words.

You, too, can join this story!

Host a Shoe-Cutting Party! $15 buys a party kit with everything you need. Our event was huge and amazing. But gathering a few girlfriends is just as meaningful!

Go to www.solehope.org to learn other ways to get involved.

But what else, God? I ask.

Having a Shoe-Cutting Party, collecting medical supplies, and giving monthly to come alongside Sole Hope in their mission of offering HOPE, healthier lives, and freedom from foot-related diseases through education, jobs, and medical relief are incredible ways to serve.

But I have sensed something more.

Felt another Bring it on, God! bubbling in my heart.

So I must quickly paint the picture of what else I see God doing...

Remember Allume? The conference where I learned about Sole Hope? The week leading up to our church Shoe Cutting Party, Logan Wolfram, Executive Director of Allume was actually in Uganda with Sole Hope. She and other bloggers were loving kids and telling their stories.

The day of our party, Logan wrote about how her heart got wrecked from holding a precious child whose feet were wracked with jiggers. Her emotional pain only outweighed by the writhing physical pain of the one getting parasites dug out of his feet.

My heart was wrecked from just reading it.

Then, the day after our party Allume announced their new ongoing partnership with Sole Hope through their Outreach House. Now known as the Allume Wellness Center, this special place provides medical care from an on-site nurse for kids from remote villages with extreme cases of jiggers. Children whose feet are infested with more than 100 jiggers can not be fully healed in a one-day clinic.

The deeper the disease, the greater the hope needed.


Do you see what's happening? Do you see how the God of the universe is working all things together for the good of those who love Him?

You and I can be a part of providing greater hope!!
A place of joy and healing. Through Pure Charity we can donate to the Allume Wellness Center and impact the lives of children whose futures may otherwise be lost.

Every Yes! helps.

Every dollar counts.

Click here to donate now.

Nobody can do everything—but everybody can. do. something.
The Outreach Center now known as the Allume Wellness Center takes in the kids with the extreme cases of jiggers in hidden villages and cares for them beyond what a day clinic can cover. At the Wellness Center they are cared for by an on-site nurse and given much needed medical attention. They receive continuing education about jiggers, given new pairs of shoes made from your jeans, and returned to their village with a new sense of hope. - See more at: http://allume.com/2014/03/now-proud-owners-outreach-house/#sthash.LGnQxxx9.dpuf
The Outreach Center now known as the Allume Wellness Center takes in the kids with the extreme cases of jiggers in hidden villages and cares for them beyond what a day clinic can cover. At the Wellness Center they are cared for by an on-site nurse and given much needed medical attention. They receive continuing education about jiggers, given new pairs of shoes made from your jeans, and returned to their village with a new sense of hope. - See more at: http://allume.com/2014/03/now-proud-owners-outreach-house/#sthash.LGnQxxx9.dpuf

What something can you do today?


*     *     *

I want give a special thank you to Mindy Rogers, Carolyn Carney, Lee Fischer, Natalie Ensor, and the rest of the amazing women of Cornerstone Bible Church who God raised up to fan the small spark in my heart into a blazing fire for His glory. I love you and am so very grateful for you.


**Original photos, or used with permission from Sole Hope and Rob Lee. Thank you!**

5 comments:

Dolly@Soulstops said...

Becky,
What an incredible testimony of God moving in your heart to then move in the hearts of others at your church...I had the gift of participating in a Sole Hope denim cutting party :) I'm in California, too. Linked up behind you at #TellHisStory

Kerry M. said...

This is awesome, Becky. I met a Sole Hope gal in the grocery parking lot recently because she was wearing a Sole Hope t-shirt. Isn't it a great feeling to unite with other believers to serve?

Thanks for stopping by Plenty Place. I had tickets to Allume this year, but God had other plans for me. I wish we could have met! =)

Kerry

Sandra Heska King said...

My heart's been wrecked by these stories. We are having a family get-together at an indoor water park over spring break. We're also going to be cutting out shoes. You've shared this beautifully.

Jacque Watkins said...

Just beautiful Becky!! I SO want to host a party like this ... changing the world together, and making a difference with Sole Hope!!

Loralee said...

Thank you for sharing this post with me! Gave me goosebumps! So exciting! God is good.