Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sole Hope Spells Love

How do you spell Love? S.O.L.E. H.O.P.E.

If you've never spelled it this way, read on to find out why I changed the spelling.

Holly and Anna is a ministry dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus through shoes. Dru and Asher Collie founded Sole Hope as a means to provide shoes for children who suffer from the affects of jiggers, a parasitic sand flea. Jiggers bury themselves in human flesh and multiply. If left untreated, they cause infection which leads to disease, amputation and even death. The insects have direct entry into feet since most children in third world countries don't have shoes.

Asher conceived the idea of making a shoe to fit little feet and the plan of having shoe cutting parties was birthed. Shoe parts are cut, and placed in plastic bags to be sent to Uganda for assembly. Factories in Uganda are employing local people…teaching them a skill, offering a better life, a hope for a future…not only a future here on earth, but a future in heaven.

Sole Hope seeks to share the love of Jesus, who  compels them to serve…to wash feet, to remove jiggers, to love the lowly.

The process reminds me of biblical days in the washing of feet…

Picture this with me, if you will… children in long lines…all sizes, shapes, large round eyes, beautiful eyes…

   Wounded children

      Hurting children

And they know at the front of the line there are nice people with a warm pan of water that will bring relief to their pain…they've heard the rumors…they've come to see for themselves…maybe…just maybe…they might help them…

The children's feet are washed, jiggers removed, and feet are treated with medicine. The families are educated on jigger removal and the subsequent care of wounds. Happy children are given shoes, many times, their first and only pair.

Access is given into homes and schools for spraying to eradicate jiggers. Lives are changed because somebody cared enough to do something…to lay aside their own agenda and ask the question, "How can I help?"

My church, Concord Baptist, hosted a Shoe Cutting Party in January. Over 100 women participated, including those who dropped off medical supplies to be shipped to Uganda. Pamela Jones and I had the privilege of delivering our shoe parts and supplies to Asheville, North Carolina, the home base of Sole Hope.

I was excited to see the operation for myself. I'm a visual learner…I want to see, to touch, to experience. I was not disappointed.

Walking through the front door of Sole Hope, we were greeted by two lovely young women, Holly and Anna. They quickly showed us around two rooms of boxes stacked nearly to the ceiling. Churches and organizations from around the world have heard the message of Sole Hope.

We worked four hours unpacking boxes, then repacking, to send on to Uganda. Each bandage, each roll of gauze, and each tube of ointment would find its way to a suffering child. And eventually, each bag of fabric would be sewn by African women, into shoes worn by those same children. Many of the seamstresses have been rescued from human trafficking.

As I told Anna, "There's so much suffering all around us, and we feel helpless, but this is a ministry we can get involved in and see it's making a difference."

The Collie's moved to Uganda in early 2013 with their three young children, to live and work in a country where jiggers are common in children's feet. Yet, they did something uncommon…they went to the problem. They were moved by a heart of compassion to help those who are helpless, to literally, put feet to their prayers.

How about you…are you looking for a place to serve? Do you feel helpless and want to reach out and help the lowly, the orphans, the unloved? Sole Hope is a great way to start. Shoe Cutting Parties are easy and can be done with a few or many. Here's the website It will tell you everything you need to know.

If you live close to Asheville, you may want to volunteer your time. You'll be so glad you did.

Now do you understand why I spelled love differently?  
L.O.V.E. = S.O.L.E. H.O.P.E.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love;
but the greatest of these is love. 
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV 

Blessings from My Little Corner,

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