Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
ORANGE — Can you remember receiving your first pair of shoes? Many children in Uganda received their first pair of shoes this past week due to the love and mission of many here in Orange, Texas. Eight individuals recently traveled to Uganda, Africa to deliver over 1,800 pairs of shoes to children in six schools under the care of Parental Care Ministries. Seven from North Orange Baptist Church, one from First Baptist Orange, and others from Dallas, San Antonio, Kingwood, and Tylier partnered with CERI (Children’s Emergency Relief International), who has done shoe projects in other countries, to help raise the $40,000 needed for the 1,800 pairs of shoes and socks! On June 21st, the muzungus (white people) arrived at Rwemikoma and were greeted by smiling children. Over two-thirds of the children were not wearing any shoes and their feet were painted with fu fu (dust) up to their knees. As the team began the process, Ashley and Liz Farley (our feet measurers from Dallas) observed that it would be so much more meaningful for the kids if we were able to wash their feet first. So, acquiring some old shirts, Amber Walters (from Orange) and others proceeded to wipe down each foot as they measured them. Walking shoeless on rough terrain meant several children had wounds on their feet that were bleeding or blackened. Those with open sores were sent to Nurse Liz so she could clean and bandage the wounds. The rest of the team then helped put new socks and the correct size shoes on each child’s feet. Amber LeGault and Marisa Nycole beamed with joy as they saw the smiles on the faces of the children as they gave many their first pair of shoes. Mother and daughter from Orange, Michele and Morgan Dollar, were overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of the children and meeting their sponsor child because they have dreamed of coming to Uganda since her brother Justin Hayes (leading the trip) began working with Parental Care Ministries several years ago. Parents of Michele and Justin, Bob and Judy Hayes, were also able to go to Uganda to help distribute shoes to the children, and were able to meet the child they sponsor through Parental Care Ministries. Pastor of North Orange Baptist Church, Scott McIntosh, was also able to meet his sponsor child Grace for the very first time and was able to give her a hug and a brand new pair of shoes. Although the team was able to help these children, their lives will be forever different because of the love experienced through the lives of the children they met. These children are poor in possession but rich in joy because they are receiving parental love from PCM and the love of their Creator who saves their lives and provides for their needs – Mukama asimwe (praise the Lord)!