Written by Danielle Wallingsford Tuesday, 24 July 2012 18:18
A life changing experience for a local woman
Shannon Black heard God tell her “I want you to do that” as she listened to her friend Susan Hicks describe the blessings she received on a mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. But she thought to herself, “There’s no way I could ever do that.” She wondered how she would get off work and be away from her family. A few months later she heard someone else sharing their missionary experiences and she knew she had to make it happen.
“I just got chill bumps and I felt God telling me again, ‘I want you to do that.’” At that moment she grabbed Susan and said “Okay. I’ve got to do this!”
She and Susan, along with Susan’s husband Dennis Hicks and Rebecca Wells, found a way to do what God put in their hearts to do, and last October they made their way down to Mexico on a Shoes for Orphan Souls mission trip.
Shoes for Orphan Souls is a humanitarian aid project of Buckner International. Their organization delivers shoes to thousands of children in many impoverished regions of the world, children who otherwise might spend their young life dealing with diseases brought on by walking the harsh earth in bare feet. Buckner sends individuals like Shannon and Susan to these children with the blessing of brand new shoes and the assurance of Jesus’s love.
Though the shoes are meant to be a gift for the children, Shannon felt that she was the one who truly received a blessing. “It was just so amazing to see how much a simple pair of shoes, something we take for granted every single day, meant to the kids. They loved them,” she said. The trip left Shannon with many unforgettable and life changing memories. She savored the simple beauty of singing a hymn, then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, while others who worshiped sang the words in Spanish mi corazon entona la cancion, cuan grande es El. Shannon will also carry the memory of a little boy named Ernesto in her heart forever. Ernesto lived in an orphanage and walked with braces on his legs. She worked with him on Vacation Bible School activities, but before she could say goodbye a teacher took him to work on something else. Later she noticed Ernesto sitting in a corner, his feet without new shoes. She was able to wash his feet and place new shoes on his young feet. “That was special for me, to put his shoes and socks on after we had formed that special bond. It was just a really awesome experience,” she said.
Susan received her share of blessings on that trip as well. She visited a government orphanage. “They told us in the morning you’re going to be with some mentally challenged children,” she said. At first, the situation made Susan feel uneasy because, having had four healthy children, she had never been around children with disabilities before. Susan said, “I’m a talker and normally nothing ever prevents me from talking, but this day I couldn’t. I was just standing there thinking, ‘these children, what kind of life do they live?’” When she went into the room she noticed a girl, about 14 years old, who was sitting across the room moving her head back and forth. Her name was Patti. Susan sat down with her, took off her old shoes and washed her feet. But, before she could get the shoes on Hattie’s feet something amazing happened. “Tears are just pouring down my face and I’m trying so hard to keep it together,” she said. Then, inside Patti’s new shoes Susan found a note. It said, “God made you special, love Mallory.” In that moment, God gave solace to Susan. “I was like okay Lord, that’s it. God made her just the way she is. I don’t understand it and it doesn’t seem fair in my eyes, but God you just gave me an answer right there. This little girl is special in your eyes,” Susan remembered thinking.
Volunteers like Shannon and Susan help bring blessings to orphans across the globe, and they are rewarded with joyous hugs and kisses of small children whose grateful smiles will forever linger in their minds. If you too would like to help improve an impoverished child’s life by giving them a new pair of shoes you can drop-off a new pair of athletic shoes and socks to Calvary Baptist Church in Scottsboro by August 31. The shoes will be sent to Buckner International and processed to go out as a gift to a special child in need. For more information call 256-259-0385 or visit www.shoesfororphansouls.org
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