Before I left them, I borrowed a stubbly pencil and marked how far each of their feet reached on my sneakers. I went back to America and mailed them sneakers. The last time I heard from them, their mother wrote me to say their family was being devastated by AIDS. I have not given much thought to that family and the sneakers I sent them, nor have I shared the story much at all. But just this week, the Lord reminded me the seed He planted back then in my heart has given forth to a harvest I could not possibly have imagined.
“Hey, what are you doing with all those sneakers in that barrel?” I asked Rob, one of the owners of Palmetto Running Company in Bluffton, SC.
“We’re giving them to a company that recycles them and uses them to cover roads,” he explained.
“Is there any chance I could take one pair for myself?” I asked him. “I direct a ministry and God provides for me in creative ways since I don’t get a normal income.”
“Sure,” he replied. “Help yourself.”
I did not take a pair right then. I didn’t even look through the huge barrel. I went home and thought about it. Then it came to me.
I called the store and talked to Tim, the other owner. “Tim,” I said. “My pastor ministers in inner city Savannah and Haiti. Is there any chance we could have those sneakers and give them to people that could use them? They may not be good for runners anymore, but I’m sure there are lots of people that would be blessed to have a pair of shoes. Will you think about it and let me know?”
I explained how Christian Revival Center in Savannah has a Clothes Closet for the homeless and others in need, and how Pastor Freddie will head to Haiti soon to help thousands of children enjoy Vacation Bible School.
“Lara, I don’t need time to think about it,” Tim said. “The answer is yes.”
Never in a million years did I think when I marked the length of children’s feet in Jamaica over two decades ago to send them shoes so they could go to school that the Lord would use me now to help provide shoes to those who can use them.
This life of mine truly is a faith walk – sneakers and all.
Palmetto Running Club is located at 22 Plantation Park Drive #103, Bluffton, SC 29910. You can reach them at 843-815-1718. They are open weekdays 10 am-6pm and Saturday 8am-4pm. Visit them online at Palmetto Running Company. Please consider donating your old sneakers for this very special project!