International (MNN) — In the first of a two-part series, we’ll take a look at how you can impact the next generation, or “next gen,” for Christ.
Psalm 78 speaks of the importance of impacting the next generation in verses 5 and 6: “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.”
For Buckner International, shoes are the key to doing just that. These simple, everyday items act as a bridge between believers in the West and vulnerable kids throughout the world.
Buckner’s Shoes for Orphan Souls ministry provides new shoes and the Gospel to orphans around the world. They’re hoping to hand out their three-millionth pair of shoes this year. The ministry is well on their way, according to Ashley Williamson, with 225,000 pairs between Buckner and the 3-million mark.
Below are some easy ways you can help.
Prayer is the backbone to any mission endeavor. Set a reminder on your calendar and intercede for Buckner’s team using the following prayer points:
- Pray that churches and individuals can collect more shoes this year than ever before.
- Pray for staff and volunteers as they work to process the shoes for international shipment.
- Pray that each overseas shipment will arrive safely at its location and be processed quickly.
- Pray that shoe delivery trips will fill up with volunteers willing to be the hands and feet of Christ.
- Pray that each child who receives a pair of shoes this year will know that he or she is valuable, loved, and known by God.
An easy way to support Buckner’s efforts is through the gift of shoes. You can purchase a new pair of shoes for a child and stick a note in the box to share God’s love. The greatest need is new athletic shoes, sizes youth 1 through adult size 7. Once you have the shoes, just take them to a nearby shoe drive or ship them directly to Buckner.
Don’t have time to pick up a new pair of shoes? $25 USD is all it takes to provide one child with a new pair of shoes.
The gift of shoes comes full-circle when donors travel with Buckner to place new shoes on the feet of needy orphans.” The Lord works so powerfully on both sides of the trips, through the lives of the volunteers who go with us…but it also just means more than we can imagine to the kids who are receiving that gift of shoes,” Williamson says.
Buckner has planned 7 shoe delivery trips for 2014. One was taken a few weeks ago to the Dominican Republic.
“Some of our trips are actually full and closed, but the ones that we still have available are two trips to Honduras; one is in June a,nd one is in September, to different parts of Honduras,” says Williamson. “One is to Peru in July, and our 15th anniversary trip to Russia is in September.”
Shoes are the lynchpin to this entire ministry, and without shoe drives, teams would have nothing to deliver.
“Our greatest need right now is just for more people to partner with us to host shoe drives, either in their churches or schools, or businesses or organizations,” says Williamson. “It’s such an easy project to do.”
Once someone signs up to host a shoe drive, Buckner sends them everything they need to get started. They’ll also be put in touch with a project coordinator who answers any questions that may come up and offers advice on the best way to set up a successful shoe drive.
“[Pray] that more people with partner with us to help get the shoes in the door so that we can continue to serve more children around the world on those mission trips,” asks Williamson.
Maybe you’re realizing you can’t go on a deliver trip or host a shoe drive, and you aren’t able to give financially. There’s still a way for you to support Buckner’s efforts.
“Even if someone can only support us through getting the word out there to their friends, that’s such a huge help,” Williamson says.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear how God used one pair of shoes and a note to make an eternal difference in three lives.