…for filming, we arrived back at the CARHA orphanage – one of its many vital outreaches. Soaked through with humidity, I was quite ready for some cold water and a quick shower. As we pulled into the compound, we were greeted by the smiles and squeals of the kids playing soccer in the yard.
We’d experienced a heavy rain that day and my shoes were coated in mud. So, I kicked them off at the landing before heading upstairs. These two flights of stairs seemed nothing compared to the spanking I had taken sitting on the sideboard of the truck all morning. Up I went. Now, showered, cooled off, and with fresh batteries in hand, I headed back down, ready to board the truck for the next village.
“My black, muddy shoes looked a lot like the others. But where were they?”
As I reached the bottom of the stairs, I began to look through the scattered pile of shoes. My black, muddy shoes looked a lot like the others. But where were they? I remember muttering under my breath, “Hey, who took my shoes?” It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, except due to the amount of filming equipment I needed to pack, they were the only pair I had.
Throughout the house, I went inquiring. The language barrier didn’t help. “My shoes?” “Zapatos?” What’s Kreyol for shoes? Verbal attempts having failed, I tried charades, pointing to my feet and other people’s shoes. Finally, a light bulb popped on for one of the girls and she hurried off.
“He walked to me and presented my shoes, clean without a speck of mud.”
Downstairs to the shoe pile. Still nothing. I guessed I would be heading out into the backcountry in my flip-flops. But moments later, the sweet girl from upstairs walked through the doorway followed by a tall young man named Williams. He walked to me and presented my shoes, clean without a speck of mud. Turns out, he had taken it upon himself to do this for me, as an act of service. I was deeply moved and remain so.
I was reminded of the New Testament tradition of foot washing. Although my feet were upstairs already being washed in the shower, out of the kindness of his heart, he took this opportunity to give me this gift, to see my “feet” clean before I headed back out to the ministry for which I had come.
“…he granted me a lifetime of encouragement.”
I will never forget that single act of kindness and thoughtfulness. Williams had taken to heart the Word of God he continued to learn each day in their studies and devotions. By taking my shoes that day, by being the “hands” of Christ, he granted me a lifetime of encouragement.
God’s Word says, “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (1)
(1) Philippians 2:3-4