Feet . . . some people think feet are ugly. They don’t like looking at them, touching them, let alone smelling them. Others adorn their feet with rings, tattoos, polish, fancy pedicures and exquisite footwear. Still others take feet for granted, simply walking around to and fro without regard to the blessing of mobility. And then there are some who would love to have healthy feet, free from pain or peril, yearning to walk but a few steps.
As a CROP Hunger Walker, I often think about feet during the Walk. I think of walking in the footsteps of those who have to walk everyday for their food, water, education or employment. I am reminded of women who have to carry gallons of water strapped to their forehead and back, and barefooted children searching for and lugging firewood. I think of how their feet must ache at the end of the day, how mentally and physically tough they must be. And when I start complaining about the price of a gallon of gas, I have to pause and catch myself, thanking the good Lord I have a car and remembering those who have but feet as their mode of transportation.
While walking along the way, I remember the father I heard about, who just a few short years ago was a donor to our local food pantry and now was humbled to the point of having to ask for himself because of a job loss and underemployment today. I am thankful that our CROP Hunger Walk is partnering with this food ministry to extend mercy and hope to this father and family!
As I continue on my journey, I recall the help we gave and continue to give to people on the eastern U.S. coast in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and those in the Midwest following tornados and flooding, through emergency food supplies, CWS Hygiene Kits, Cleanup Buckets as well as guidance and tools for rebuilding their lives! Then my mind turns to Haitian children and those disabled following the devastating earthquake, and I am glad to know that our CROP Hunger Walk continues to provide much needed resources, education and vocational training to those still struggling in challenging situations.
It is a joy to know that our CROP Hunger Walks benefit those in our own communities, domestically, and those hurting in the global community, providing emergency help in the midst of crisis and sustainable development in the face of chronic need. I am glad to say charity/mercy begins at home, but doesn’t stop there, extending to the most vulnerable around the world! And as my feet ache at the end of the Walk, it is a privilege to know the vision of the CROP Hunger Walk is to end hunger, for all of God’s children near and far, one step at a time!
Feet can say a lot about the person. Elegant high heels, the newest Air Jordans, well worn working boots, flip-flops and snowshoes all tell a story of the wearer. When I was in Kenya recently, I paid some attention to the feet of our hosts and partners. Take a look . . . who do you see?
Let me tell you who I saw while I was there. I witnessed the welcoming feet of children lining the entrance of their school as we arrived, yearning to share the remarkable advances in their test scores due to our partnership! I saw the enterprising feet of a woman encouraged by a micro-credit loan, now supporting herself and her family. I observed the resilient feet of a community building canals to water their land, now harvesting corn where there once was wasteland. I took in the hard working feet of a man so proud of the cow he had received through our partner, now building a future for his family. And I was blessed to ponder the feet of Vanessa, dancing in the middle of a Nairobi slum, portraying the dreams of her and her friends through the Giving Hope program. I saw the feet and faces of beautiful people who have persevered amidst the harsh realities of their life.
Scripture reminds that feet can be beautiful: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news. . .” Isaiah 52:7 NRSV.
I would like my feet to be described this way! And when I think of CWS and our partners, I can think of no better way to explain our ministry than to say our feet bring good news of food, water, education and sustainable development to the poor, as well as the message of peace to the most vulnerable in our world, sharing good tidings with all of God’s children. For being the beautiful feet of service is our joy-filled mission.
Rev. Lary Jackson, Associate Field Director, Michigan region, CWS