In the Book of Matthew, Jesus related a very strong visual of what the day of judgement would look like. He relayed how the people of all the nations would be divided into two groups, much as a shepherd divides up the flocks into the sheep and the goats; the sheep on His right hand side, the goats on His left. He tells those on His right that they are blessed and they are to enter into their inheritance. “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Mt. 25:35-36. The righteous are puzzled by Jesus’s announcement. They ask when did they see Him in such need? Jesus reminds them that whenever they did something to meet the needs of their fellow man, that they were also serving Him.
A thought provoking passage, to be sure. One that is good for self-introspection. How are we doing at serving our fellow man, woman, or child in need? Sunday, I had an opportunity to do just that, working alongside a wonderful organization, called Sole Hope.
Sole Hope began a few years ago when Asher Collie was perusing the internet for more information on international adoptions. She found a Youtube video about the horrors of jiggers, the parasitic chigoe flea of Sub-Saharan Africa. These fleas burrow into the flesh of unsuspecting humans, the feet the most common site of the attack. After burrowing in, the flea lays eggs, which cause infections, horrible sores, difficulty in walking, and if left untreated, can lead to fatal conditions such as gangrene, and sepsis.
The images from the video stayed with Asher and she shared her concerns to her husband, Dru. Something had to be done to combat this horrid medical issue, and that’s where Sole Hope was born: creating shoes for the people in Uganda in order to protect their feet, provide medical clinics to help those infected, and education classes in order to help the Ugandans know how to protect themselves from these fleas.
Sole Hope hosts shoe preparation parties and that was the event I was invited to at my church, Greentree Christian, in Rolla. 8 pf us ladies divided our efforts into 3 different groups of activity. Some of us cut apart the donated and washed blue jeans-cutting away the hems, seams, front pockets, and waistband in order to leave behind the main leg material of the denim. Another group took the cut denim and laid onto it the patterns for making the shoes upper parts, tracing the patterns onto the denim. The third group cut the pattern pieces out and then pinned them together as a set. These would then be mailed to Sole Hope’s headquarters in Uganda, where locals there make the shoes. Another good idea that has stemmed from Sole Hope’s work is that in Uganda, bicycling is a thriving mode of transportation, however when one’s bicycle tires wear out, it’s not uncommon to toss that tire off of the road, out into the brush. Sole Hope has been able to collect these unwanted tires and has found a company that can recycle the tires into the soles of the shoes being made.
It was a small effort on my part, but I had an enjoyable time working with the other ladies at the Sole Hope Party, and it was nice to think that my small effort could have a good and larger impact on people who would truly benefit from pairs of shoes.
If you are intrigued about Sole Hope and what they are about and trying to accomplish in Uganda, then click on this link and learn more.http://www.solehope.org/gallery/ The included gallery is a montage of pictures of Sole Hope in action in Uganda.