I’m extremely excited to share these stories from my experiences serving in Rwanda with you! I pray they can be an awesome encouragement to you and move your heart closer to the Lord in this mission we’ve been given. Like I told you in that first post, I had a million questions of doubt and fear but the one that answered all and continued to be faithful and true was the Lord. It’s crazy how he shows us how simple and awesome He works in our lives. Although we think we need all the skills, all the knowledge or right words, or all the answers. All we need is Him and He will use you in amazing way each and every time. In this situation, the Lord used me in a super weird way. He used my big feet!!!
This story is one of the wildest ways I’ve ever seen God work! While fundraising with the Rwanda team on what would be my second trip with them, our fearless leaders, Cory and Paige were preparing and contacting people on other RCRI mission teams along with the leader of RCRI, Ben to get a better idea of what was needed of us. Usually, Cory and Paige try to get a good idea of what the people there in Rwanda are in need of such as, toothbrushes, toothpaste, other toiletries, and a wide range of items that the school is in great need of. Then before the trip, Cory and Paige through donations and support gather as many items as possible into big totes for us to take with us on our travels. Well, it was mentioned during this time from another Rwanda mission team who had recently been in country that there was a man in need of shoes. This isn’t a surprise because shoes are hard to come by there especially for the kids and the main reason being that the magnitude of the families financial struggles make it hard to afford shoes and if they do have them they are usually worn down shoes on their last life.
This man was in need of shoes for a different reason though. It turned out his feet were too big for the shoes he had which were very worn down sandals and since most of the Rwanda people are known to be smaller in stature, finding shoes up to his size was a huge struggle. This man was a father and husband, a worker and provider for his family but without the correct type of footwear, his feet began to get in too bad of shape to work and support his family as they needed. It’s crazy how God worked this together because the other mission team said he was in need of around a size 13 shoe. Well, here I am, about to make my second trip to Rwanda, we’re fundraising and getting ready then I remember hearing my cousin Paige mentioning this during one of our fundraisers. I looked down at my SIZE 13 feet and said, “uhh I might be able to help this dude out!”
What’s the chances that a guy all the way across the world is in need of the same size shoe that another guy across the world has and is literally months away from coming to his specific area?!?!? Hold your excitement! God is only getting started with this one!!
I happened to have a few different extra pairs of shoes that I didn’t have much use for so I made sure to pack my bags with 2 different pairs of size 13’s with one being a pair of high-top basketball shoes on the off chance he liked to ball like me. So we get there and after a few days of getting settled into our manual labor jobs and how the week would go, I was so excited to give this guy some shoes I carried them with me everywhere we went so I would for sure be ready! About halfway through the week, we were going out to do home visits and I was asked if I had the shoes? My answer was basically sprinting to the car all jacked up and sprinting back, “YESSS! Let’s do this!” We walked through the villages to the gentleman’s house and upon arriving I noticed that this guy was literally the same height as me! I’ve always been a little taller than average standing at around 6’3, and as uncommon as it was to see many 6’3 Rwandans, here he was. I couldn’t help but want to call him, “Rwandan Jordan.”
I got to meet him, hear more about himself and his beautiful family. I had heard that his feet were in pretty rough shape after not having good shoes but I had no idea how bad they had gotten. He had gotten an infection in one of his feet at one point and by looking at them, he really needed some shoes to be able to walk and work as he was doing without them anyways. I was just excited to hook a brother up especially since he had big feet like me but I had no idea how deep this need was which made how God worked this together even bigger in my eyes. I began displaying the shoes I brought to him showing him the swag he was going to have! The man was grinning ear to ear! I began putting the first shoe on him, because his feet had been through so much with the swelling from the infection along with how they had shaped by wearing shoes that were too small, they didn’t fit. Okay I still had my basketball shoes for him so I thought surely these will fit. After persistently trying and trying to get the shoes on, we came across the same problem, they didn’t fit. I’m a pretty hard-headed person and I didn’t want to come all the way across the world to bring him shoes that didn’t fit especially after seeing his great need for them. So I looked down at the yellow running shoes I had on my feet, size 13, it was the only option we had left.
I began taking them off my feet and placing them onto his, praying, hoping, “God please make these shoes fit his feet!” While I pushed his feet in there, I started to see it! They were going to fit!!!!! Praise God for these shoes fitting on his feet! The craziest part about these yellow running shoes, just to give you an even crazier view of how God works so perfectly and awesomely in every moment of our lives. On the first trip our shoes had gotten dirty from work, so we decided to leave them outside the house that night. Woke up the next morning and they were gone! I guess somebody else with a size 13 foot was in need of some shoes also! I didn’t have any other shoes to work in so we went to the “world famous” Rwanda markets. That place is wild! I found some shoes at one market and later that night just casually strolling down the streets, I saw this yellow pair of running shoes that did more than catch my eye, they stopped me dead in my tracks.
I just bought these other shoes to work in but these were yellow and looked super cool. So with the help of our trusty sidekick/translator/ wingman Kenny, he negotiated the guy into trading my new shoes for those yellow ones. So the rest of that trip I walked around with some of the brightest feet in Rwanda, took them home showing them off only to come back next year and the ONLY pair of shoes that fit this guy’s feet was…….the yellow running shoes!!!!
How crazy is that??!!? A pair of shoes that started in Rwanda only because of a theft ended up back on the heart of the country’s feet, which was this gentleman!!! Wow, God! It’s amazing how He used little simple moments like that and magnifies how awesome He is!!!! Whether in the mission field, in daily life, which is still the mission field, God will literally use your feet your hands, all that He made you to be in little simple ways to bring His hope to another!!! I told you, I had no idea what I had to give on these trips or how I could help these people but God knows and God makes it happen every single time!!!!
I write this message and ask you please pray for this gentleman today and his family! Like many of the families over there, finding work is a struggle and as you know without work, buying food and medicine, the things their families need to survive is nearly impossible! What was so cool to see from this man was how he was wearing these flip flops that barely fit his feet, his feet were battered and messed up from working, doing hard manual labor and walking to work everyday in these shoes. He faced infections and cuts that could have cost him to lose his feet. But despite not having shoes, he walked and he worked every day to support his family no matter what! What an awesome example he was to me and for all of us! Keep pushing forward, doing what God had called you to do and He will always provide your every need! The ways He does it may be stinkin crazy but hey! He does it!!!