OUR STORY…a note from the founder.

Have you ever had something tug at your heart over and over?  You think you do something* about it so you can check it off your list but it keeps coming back.  You’ve gone on short-term mission trips “to help” but you come back and wonder….did we actually help anyone or is this somehow selfish?    Are our mission teams doing more harm than good?  Have we gone through the right training?  Are we giving a hand up instead of a hand out?  Are we creating paternalism and dependency?

The feelings continue and you realize that maybe it’s a mid-life crisis.  It can’t be that bad…you’re not buying a Corvette, you’re just wanting to make a difference.  So you quit your job and volunteer your time to your favorite non-profit organizations while looking for a full-time way to do this.  After more time goes by, you realize that maybe this really isn’t a mid-life crisis….it’s a MID-LIFE CALLING.  It’s that light bulb moment.  Doors close that devastate you but it’s the opening windows and new opportunities that make you see that although it sounds cliché, you really can do something* and you really can make a difference.

That’s where Shoes & Hope was born.  From the passion of knowing that one person can make a difference.  After spending one or two weeks per year in remote villages in third-world countries, you feel like you want to do something more but you have time and financial barriers.  What can you do? 

You struggle with how to get your friends and family to see what's going on outside their own little world** when everyone is too concerned with their first world problems?  How can people understand when they haven’t seen it first hand?  This is the biggest challenge….to get YOU to care and to get YOU to do something* and next thing you know, YOU are making a difference!  It's contagious!

If only we could take every person reading this to one of these small villages in the developing world.  A place where there’s no water, no food, no electricity, no sanitation.  You spend one week there, come home, and that’s when YOU decide….does life just go on, or does life go on in a whole new way?   YOU begin to struggle with how to tell people.

Part of it is about education….educating people of what’s going on outside of their own little world.**

I often wonder why the media doesn’t pick up on the fact that more than 22,000 children die in the world every single day from poverty related causes.  How do we go about informing people about this?  That is one of the goals of Shoes & Hope....to bring awareness.  Shoes are just the first step and for now, we can share stories and photographs from our friends in these countries. 

This comes with a challenge!  Whether you come on this journey with me and get to know the people of Guatemala and Belize, or whether it’s just getting to know people struggling in your own community through some of our partner organizations, it will change your life.   You will begin to see life in a whole new way.  Our lives are so much richer when we are serving others.

Want some amazing inspiration?  Check out the words to these songs by Christian artist Matthew West, then get out there and DO SOMETHING!

* "Do Something" by Matthew West

** "My Own Little World" by Matthew West

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world: population -- me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
It's easy to do when its population -- me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Stopped till the red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said, "Help this homeless widow"
And just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, "God, what have I been doing?"
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh, how many times have I just passed her by?
I gave her some money then I drove on through
And my own little world reached population two

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world, ooh, my own little world, ooh

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now

I don't wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now
Outside my own little world, my own little world, my own little world

 

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”


Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something [x3]