Word of the Week

Today, I am participating with my friends at Feed The Children in their pledge to go one day without shoes.

It’s an emphasis begun by one of Feed The Children’s partners, TOMS shoes to raise awareness about childhood poverty around the world and what it would be like to be even without the most basic life necessity: shoes. Feed The Children is participating, staff-wide for the third year now.

Throughout my travels around the world, I have seen more children than I can count who run around and play, who help their mothers collect water, who walk to school, all without shoes. When a parent has to make the choice: will we eat tonight or will I buy my child shoes, food always wins.

So without shoes, not only do children in the Global South walk miles on hard terrain but they are exposed to infectious diseases like worms. Worms can ravage their body, taking valuable nutrients away from the food they are eating. So even if a child is eating quality nutritious food, the worms take all the vitamins and minerals, leaving the child with nothing of value in their system.

Did you know that according to the World Health Organization: "More than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world's population are infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections (worms) worldwide. Infections are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas, with the greatest numbers occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China and East Asia."

While we often don't think of shoes in this way, shoes can be one of the greatest defenses a child can have to disease and childhood death from malnutrition.

Giving a child a pair of shoes can literally change their lives! It's no small thing.

Are you not in Oklahoma City but want to join us?

It's so easy. Simply, take off your shoes. And as you go about your daily activities consider meditating on a child who spends every day without shoes. Walk a mile or two today in their lack of shoes . . . Take a picture of yourself without shoes on and post to your social media networks with the hashtag #withoutshoes so others would be encouraged to do the same.

Or, consider buying a pair of TOMS shoes, knowing that as you do a pair will be donated because of YOU to a child in need (and many of these kids are participants in Feed The Children’s programs!)

Or, consider sponsoring a child like her (as Kevin and I have done) through Feed The Children’s child sponsorship program. You’ll ensure she never goes a day without shoes again and food and school uniforms and so much more!

In all of this, I can't help but be reminded on this day as I participate with countless others in this emphasis of Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

By going one day without shoes, I believe we are embodying good news.