After spending the first night at the Nairobi Hilton, Benson picked me up at the hotel and we headed back to Fiwagoh Mission Orphanage near Nakuru on Sunday morning. Nakuru is 80 miles from Nairobi. It was a two and a half hour trip. Pastor Benson told me that I looked extremely tired from the travel and he wanted me to rest before we were to distribute the shoes. I am grateful that Benson was looking out for me in this way.
The children eat dinner at 3pm. Pastor Benson thought it would be a great idea to gather the children around 4 pm on the hillside between the school and the orphanage. Word quickly spread among the children that we were going to hand out shoes TODAY! You could hear the giggles and the excitement. I couldn’t always understand what they were saying at first but their joy was unmistakable. All four pieces of my checked luggage for this trip were filled to capacity with shoes. The bags weighed 49, 51, 49, and 50 lbs. Five of the older boys hurried upstairs to take the bags and place them at the feet of the waiting children.
Pastor Benson along with Florence his wife and I began to unpack the shoes and lay them out in front of these precious smiling faces. There were plenty of ooo’s and ah’s as one pair after another were laid side by side. Their eyes would light up when we pulled out a pair of blue shoes or a pair of bright red athletic shoes. I wish I could have captured the laughter in a bottle. Once all the shoes were before them, there was silence. All eyes were now on Pastor Benson Nganga, the director and founder of Fiwagoh.
He reminded the children that it was God’s faithfulness that had brought shoes to them. He told them that the blessings were made possible because of Soles4Souls and Tiffany Johnson, 1Way Ministries JT and Sheryl Turner, those who gave financially to help send me to them, and my willingness to come. I was speechless and humbled. He then asked who would like to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings that were in front of them. Beth raised her hand and said, “let us pray.”
The children all got on their knees with hands clasped ready to pray. Again, I was without words. This is how they pray every time. Beth thanked God for his provisions for them that day, she gave thanks for those who helped send me to Kenya, she also thanked God for the company called Soles4Souls, and for the Lord protecting me and bringing me their safely. I was reminded in that moment of Paul saying, “give thanks in all things.”
Benson decided to take five children at a time to begin fitting them. From this moment, it all became a whirlwind. The children were throwing off their torn and worn out shoes ready to receive their new pair. They would run from one group to another looking and complimenting each other’s shoes. Some broke out running back and forth to a building in the distance to see how it felt. I saw a young girl named Emma help Joseph tie his shoes. She received her shoes first and now was seeking to bless and serve others. I am grateful that this model from Soles4Souls and 1Way Ministries was taking root in their heart.
As I moved from one child to another, someone would stop me with this glowing smile to say, “thank you for my shoes!” There is no currency to place a value on that. I noticed that there was a pile forming from their old shoes so I wanted to make sure and take a picture of what they had compared to what they were receiving. I was reminded in that moment of what God had brought me out of and brought me into as well. There were so many lessons from being part of blessing Fiwagoh with shoes; lessons on grace, that our stories are all woven together, the difference one persons choices can make in helping others (Wayne Ensley, founder of Soles4Souls), and that God is gracious to us allowing us to take part in His work caring for orphans.
Please accept my sincere and deepest thanks for the role that each of you played in making this dream of helping Fiwagoh become a reality.
You can view all the pictures of the shoe distribution by clicking here.