GUATEMALA CITY — More than 1,092 Guatemalan children received new shoes in June as a group of 28 individual volunteers led by K-LOVE Radio Co-Host Scott Smith and Mike Grayson, lead vocalist for Dove Award-nominated band MIKESCHAIR, dedicated a week of their lives to share God’s love with others.
The mission trip was one of Shoes for Orphan Souls® annual trips to deliver new shoes to the world’s most vulnerable children. Shoes for Orphan Souls is the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International and since 1999, has distributed more than 2.5 million pairs of new shoes to children worldwide.
“The shoes that you gave during the K-LOVE Pledge Drive through Shoes for Orphan Souls might seem small, but they are accomplishing HUGE things here in Guatemala. They are a reminder to these children that “I am not alone,” “there is someone who loves me,” and most importantly “God hasn’t forgotten me,” said Scott Smith, K-LOVE co-host. “With God there is power in a simple gift.”
In April, K-LOVE listeners helped provide more than 30,000 pairs of new shoes through their generous donations to support K-LOVE’s radio ministry. Two lucky listeners also won an on-air contest to travel with the team.
Three days out of the trip were dedicated to serving children at the Secrataria De Bienestar Social, Guatemala City’s “City of Children.” A former prison now government-run orphanage, the City of Children is home to more than 750 of the country’s most vulnerable population.
It was here that Smith met Anthony, a 7-year-old little boy whose cramped toes were hanging out of his tiny shoes. Anthony grabbed Smith’s hand and led him to the corner of the basketball court where he proudly pointed to his work of art.
“Anthony’s chalk sketch was of a simple little house, but what it represented was far more telling – Anthony longs for family,” Smith said. “As I washed his little feet, I reminded him that he has a family. I pointed to all of us visiting and told him that we are his family and that we love him. In that moment tears filled Anthony’s eyes and a smile crept across his sweet, little face with a reassurance that he was not forgotten.”
The second half of the trip was spent serving children in Buckner’s three Guatemala Family Hope Centers: Jocotenango, El Cerrito and San Jose Pinula. The Hope Centers focus on improving the lives of individuals and families in communities of extreme poverty with a holistic ministry approach through family, medical, spiritual, and vocational training. Along with distributing shoes, participants had the opportunity to engage children in a message of hope through daily Vacation Bible School activities. Throughout the week volunteers took turns sharing the story of Queen Esther and reminding the children that God has a plan for their lives.
“The impact the K-LOVE listeners made on the children in Guatemala is immeasurable,” said Molly Cash, Shoes for Orphan Souls project coordinator. “Their support not only provided shoes to protect children’s feet, but it also opened doors to speak God’s love. We had the opportunity to let these children know that they are valued and that they are perfect because they are children of God.”
Please continue to pray that the seeds of God’s grace planted in these children will continue to be nourished and that they will come to fully understand the depth of Christ’s love in their lives.
“I am so blessed because this was my fourth trip with Buckner over the past five years. I can say firsthand that everyone involved with this organization is truly walking out the gospel and being the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Mike Grayson, lead singer of MIKESCHAIR. “My life has been forever changed by the kids we have been able to serve and to think that a new pair of shoes opened the door is so cool to me. If you ever get the opportunity to take a trip with Buckner – just do it!”
To learn more about the ways to support Shoes for Orphan Souls, or upcoming mission trip opportunities, please visit buckner.org/shoes.