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Update from Ethiopia: Meet Rediet

A shoe delivery team currently serving in Ethiopia will be returning home this coming Friday. Please say a prayer for their final few days of ministry to vulnerable children and families in Ethiopia, as well as their safe return to the United States.

As you pray for the team, please also pray for the children who have received new shoes over the past few days.

Rediet (pictured at right) is one of the many children who received new shoes from the mission team this past week in Ethiopia. She’s 16 years old, her favorite color is orange and for fun she loves to watch movies.

Her dream job is to be a mechanical engineer. She dreams of assembling large machines used in construction projects.

She says the number one thing she’d like you to know about her is that she’s extremely kind. She wishes the best for everyone and tries to help others whenever she can.

Thank you for supporting Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls! You have helped provide Rediet and so many other children like her with new shoes, health, access to education and hope.

Mission team shows God’s love through shoes in Guatemala

Editor’s Note: A team from Mt. Zion Baptist Church near Oxford, N.C., recently returned from a Buckner mission trip to Guatemala where they held Vacation Bible School programs, distributed shoes and shared God’s love with vulnerable children. The following story is a first person perspective adapted from one of the team’s blog posts on the Buckner missions blog.

By Gabrielle Capps

Today our team went to an awesome and impressive government-run facility for special needs kids. We saw kids with various needs such as Down syndrome, autism and deafness. The center has physical therapists and doctors on staff. They even had a pool for physical therapy.

We went there with the intention of doing Vacation Bible School with the children. God had other plans, however, because when we got there we began a shoe ministry and did not stop.

Distributing shoes was truly awesome. We started by taking off the child’s shoes and socks. Then we cleaned their feet with baby wipes and presented them with a new pair of socks and new shoes.

It was a special time because we got to experience instant gratification [from the work the team was doing]. I personally received several kisses on the forehead and many hugs from kids. I saw a lot of smiles and heard a ton of laughter. Read the rest of this entry

Alexandra’s New Shoes

David Morais, chief engineer at WMBW Radio in Chattanooga, Tenn., spent last week serving vulnerable children and families in Oaxaca, Mexico, on a Shoes for Orphan Souls shoe delivery trip.

In one of his dispatches from Mexico, he tells the following story of a girl named Alexandra who was thrilled to receive the perfect pair of new shoes.

We’re in Oaxaca, Mexico, in the community of San Agustin Yatareni. She’s wearing a clean, pink and white dress. She’s beautiful, despite the holes in her dress. She’s one of 270 children who will receive shoes today.

We take off her old shoes. They’re dirty and very worn. She has no socks. Then we get some wipes and clean her feet. We ask her what her name is and how old she is. She’s Alexandra, and she’s 9 years old.

We make her laugh by offering her my size 12 men’s shoes for her to wear. Her eyes dance when she laughs. We find a pair of shoes to fit and they happen to be pink and white, matching her dress.

Later in the day, we visit the homes of a few families served by this Buckner Family Hope Center and we see Alexandra again playing outside her concrete brick and tin home. She smiles shyly; she remembers us. It is a joyous reunion. Her mother thanks us with shining eyes.

You can listen to more of Dave’s stories about the recent Shoes for Orphan Souls trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, here.

Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® and LifeWay Christian Stores partner to collect shoes for children in need

DALLAS— Shoes for Orphan Souls®, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International, is partnering with LifeWay Christian Stores this August to collect new shoes for the world’s orphans and vulnerable children.

“We are so excited to partner with LifeWay Christian Stores to bring awareness to the needs of vulnerable children served by Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls,” said Ashley Williamson, Shoes for Orphan Souls manager. “By working together, our hope is that we can broaden our reach to serve more children in the United States and around the world with the tangible gift of new shoes, as well as the love of Christ.”

Throughout the month, individuals and groups are invited to drop off new shoes at more than two dozen participating LifeWay Christian Stores in the following cities: Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Chattanooga, Tenn.; College Station, Texas; Houston, Texas; Longview/Tyler, Texas; and Sarasota, Fla. 

To see a complete list of participating stores, visit www.shoesfororphansouls.com/lifeway. Read the rest of this entry

Buckner shoes offer respite for weary immigrant children

McALLEN, Texas – Daniela Cruz* is bone-tired. After a harrowing month on the road from her home in El Salvador, she crossed the Rio Grande River this week, was picked up by Border Patrol agents and processed as an undocumented immigrant.

She is looking forward to a shower – the first she’s had in a month – clothing and some food provided at the Catholic Charities Refugee Center at Sacred Heart Catholic Church here. Among the clothing is shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, available to the waves of children who pass through the center daily with their parents.

Daniela Cruz talks to Javier Perez, manager of missions and humanitarian aid for Buckner, as she waits for her daughters, Carmen, 6, and Lorena, 8, to receive a new pair of shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Relief Center July 22. The family traveled for a month from their native El Salvador to reach Texas. The family had just been detained and processed prior to the photo.

The young mother made the journey with daughters Lorena, 8, and Carmen, 6. The decision to go wasn’t easy, nor was it inexpensive, but she said it had to be made.

“First, it wasn’t safe for my children and then there was no employment,” she said. “There is nothing you can do in El Salvador now for employment and I can’t even be sure my kids will be safe because of Mara Salvatrucha (a prominent Salvadoran drug gang, also known as MS-13).

“One of my nieces was being harassed by the gangs, and I didn’t want to have my daughters endure the same treatment.”

So she and her husband made the decision for her and the girls to travel the dangerous route to the United States to join family in New York.

They paid smugglers known as coyotes $3,500 to lead them past her country’s border, through Guatemala and Mexico and finally to the U.S. border, where they swam across the Rio Grande.

The family “travelled by bus mainly at night, and stayed in warehouses, sleeping on the floor for 3-5 days at a time while we waited to go from one country to another.” Along the way, her daughter became ill, but the family did not have access to medical attention. Read the rest of this entry