Imagine being curled up in your bed at night falling fast asleep holding a pair of sneakers. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly what the children want to do in the group foster home that I visited in Guatemala with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls.
Sixteen year old Diego is like most of the children who enter this home, he came in with only the clothes on his backs as his belongings. His shoes were completely worn out and too small but since it was his only pair he continued to wear them.
The day after he arrived, his group foster mother, Marisol, said that he was going to get a pair of new shoes from Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls. He was so excited that he didn’t believe it until he was holding them in his hands! He kept exclaiming, “Thank you,” to his host mother but she would say,
“No, these are not from me, but people in the USA gave these to you.”
There was even a note stuffed in his shoes when they were packed at the Buckner offices in Texas. It said, “God loves you!” Diego cherished the note so much that he posted it on his notebook at school so that he could see it every day and show it off. He asked to sleep with his new shoes that night so that he could fall asleep being reminded that someone far away cared about him.
You provided that moment for Diego.
Because we partnered with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Soul’s I was able to deliver over 2,000 pairs of shoes to Guatemala to children just like Diego. Your generosity means that another child is probably sleeping with some new shoes held in their arms tonight.
Many children like Diego, have been in orphanages and foster homes their whole lives. When Diego enter this Buckner Foster home it was clear that he had experienced a hard life. He had walls built up and it was hard for them to work with him at first. He trusted no one. Diego slowly started to see that this Foster home operated differently than any of the other orphanages or homes he had been in. They prayed before they ate. They talked about Jesus and forgiveness in this home. Marisol started to show him what a real, loving family should look like. It was only then that Diego opened up about the mental and physical abused he had suffered over the years of being in orphanages. Sadly, not all are as safe as we would hope. He started to see that living with these new people does not mean abuse but unconditional love for one another.
The Buckner foster home I visited actually takes the children through a version of the “Celebrate Recovery” program to help them deal with the abandonment and abuse they have received. Not only do they teach the children that God loves them and forgives them for their sins, but they also work intensely with the children to forgive their parents and all those who have abused them along the way. Marisol shared that learning to forgive those who have wronged them is the only way these children will be truly free.
At each mealtime, Marisol prays with the children for the families in the USA who gave them their shoes. She said these families don’t know us and yet they love us! Marisol even observed Diego and other children praying for these families before bed.
When they graduate out of the Buckner Group Foster home and step out as an adult on their own, many of the children express that they want to have a healthy family like what they experienced in their Foster home.
THANK YOU for loving these children like Diego through your giving!
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