God in Shoes ministry is an innovative method of evangelism that takes the church into the community to perform acts of kindness and demonstrate God's love. For information on how to implement God in Shoes in your community, order a free copy of "60 Great Ideas for Women's Ministries" by emailing Erica.Jones@nad.adventist.org or calling 301-680-6427.
Report on God in Shoes Outreach event in Orlando, FL, September 26, 2014
Testimonies from participants:
PACE Center for Girls
I know they enjoyed the manicures and the seminar and crafts presented by Kathy Ward, but the facials were the big hit I believe. They had never experienced a facial, and were astonished by the smooth, soft feeling their skin had when it was done. One stated, "This facial even makes my hair look good."
They were very appreciative and and seemed shocked that we would take our time to come and do this for them, AND give them a backpack full of goodieswithout asking for anything in return.
I think my highlight was when one girl asked me how she could get involved in helping others like we were doing. The only thing I could do was to point her to the local Seventh-day Adventist churches and pray that she contacts one of them and they help her get involved. ~Traci Ball
We had a wonderful group that included some of our Hispanic sisters who were a little concerned that there would not be any Hispanic women to minister to at our site. I assured them that we would love to have them join us. They did and ended up being able to minister to a number of Spanish speakers. Two in particular mentioned that while they did enjoy the spa day, their favorite part was the prayer room. Mrs. Jackson ran the prayer room, which turned out to really be just a corner of the large room with a partition put up for privacy. However, Mrs. Jackson set the atmosphere with flowers and a candle that she found around the church. The ladies had such a special time of prayer with Mrs. Jackson, that they talked to some of the young people of the church about coming back the next day for Sabbath services. The young ladies were so excited; they ran off to work with the pastor to find a translator for Sabbath so that these ladies would feel completely at home in their church. ~LeShel Taylor
Women’s voices rose together in praise as we rode the bus to the downtown Orlando location of the Women's Coalition for the Homeless. Two of the many songs we sang were Make Me a Blessing and Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. Ladies were placed in teams to accomplish the cleaning and organizing of four closets. Just as is the case when there is not enough time, donated items had been pushed inside with no order. The ladies worked hard together to empty, sort, and replace the donated items in an order that will hopefully make it easy for distribution to the residents. We truly believe that God heard our desire to serve and be His hands and feet that Friday and that He blessed us with both energy and perseverance to do exactly what needed to be accomplished for the homeless center. ~Jeannie Haldeman
Orlando Union Rescue Mission
Two buses, carrying 100 women, made the way to Orlando Union Rescue Mission for a day of volunteering. We arrived at the newest facility and were greeted warmly by director Elizabeth Lynn. She was pleasantly surprised by the significant donation of sheets, blankets, underwear, socks, and personal care gift bags. Elizabeth thanked God In Shoes and those who donated the items as they were greatly needed.
Everyone received a welcome and a brief history of the 66 year old mission that helps single men, women, and homeless families by providing shelter and support to get back on their feet through education, job placement, and health improvement.
The mission is faith based and does not receive government funding, so volunteers take care of many tasks. Our 100 women gave the mission a boost that day! This included hand writing thank you notes to donors, follow up phone calls, window washing, food servers in cafeteria, assisting with the child care givers, and pricing and sorting items at The Bargain Store ( thrift shop ).
Because this mission is faith based, we were welcomed to have prayer circles. Prayer warrior groups went through out the facility praying for each resident and each activity that occurred in a room. For example, in the IT / computer room, they prayed for those who were learning and those instructing. They prayed that those looking for work would find it. They even prayed in the laundry room for not only the blessing of having donors that provided such nice equipment but that all might be washed with God's Spirit.
The other prayer group was bused to the single men's facility, where they prayed for the residents and volunteered for tasks as needed. They concluded in one of the common areas by singing hymns and praises, providing a beautiful impromptu concert to those who were there.
Most of the residents were either at work, looking for work, or at school, including the 72 children who were currently housed. Our group had very little contact with the residents, but everyone that we did see seemed very delighted that we were there.
The God In Shoes Connection
It is more blessed to give than to receive. We were blessed by serving.
Ray is a truck driver by trade and had been driving for the mission. He said that sometimes even though we love the Lord and serve Him, we get selfish and let things into our lives that keep us from staying in a closer relationship with Him. That was happening in his life. A few months prior to the God In Shoes volunteering at the mission, Ray told us that God did something that got his attention back.
He was working to get his truck driver’s license again and as a part of this process a background check revealed that Ray had an outstanding arrest warrant for a non-violent offence that happened 17 years ago. Ray didn't even know about it. He went to the sheriff to sort it out. Ray had to serve 29 days in jail!
He initially was upset and was asking God why did this happen now, just as he was about to launch into the work place and why now after 17 years was this just coming to light? Wasn't he a different person from 17 years ago? Why didn't God just answer his prayer to let him off and not have to go to jail?
But Ray says he submitted to God's timing and as a result he was able to bring several people to Christ in jail. One man was released before Ray got out and was able to come to the mission and is doing well.
Ray knew that God used something that happened 17 years ago that seemed very bad and uncomfortable for him, for the Lord's greater purpose. So Ray vowed to God that he would share his experience and the life lessons he learned in whatever way God presented to him.
ONE WEEK after he was released from jail, this Spirit filled, yet humble man was able to share his story & testimony to women from all over North America! And they in turn learned a valuable life lesson to share where ever they call home. ~Karen Tillotsen
Clean the World
I was the leader of 65 women for God in Shoes on Sept. 26 at Clean the World in Orlando. It was a wonderful day. God was definitely in charge. Clean the World is a non-profit organization that reuses the personal items found in the bathrooms of hotels/motels. They take these items and recycle them, through sterilization. The soap is ground into particles and reshaped into a large (hand-size) block. When that is completed, it is set aside until the 'love' is ready. There were 10 women that counted out stacks of 100 index cards with the logo-- 35,000 cards were counted. These cards hold hand-written messages and are placed with the products along with a wash cloth.
On the recycle line the ladies chose the items that could be recycled. They were very efficient. So efficient, that they kept the male employees very busy reloading their tables. I was told later that most of the volunteers never were able to accomplish what these ladies did. They were able to check 50,000 bottles and 20,000 soaps.They were there to do God's bidding.
Since 2009 Clean the World has distributed more than 20 million bars of soap in 96 countries. They provide hygiene kits to the homeless and families in transition through North America. There are nearly 2000 hospitality partners that supply the recycled products to children and families in countries suffering from high death rates due to the top two killers of children--acute respiratory infection (pneumonia) and diarrheal diseases (cholera). ~Frances McCarter
I was privileged to participate in God in Shoes at Covenant House in Orlando, FL, a place for runaway teens. As a team, we worked so well together that you would never know that we did not even know each other. Some ladies immediately began unpacking the shoes and putting them in an orderly display. Others helped organize the hand soak and manicure area. Still others prepared to offer facials and shoulder massage to our ‘guests’. A couple of older ladies gathered the gift bags and arranged them on a large table.
One woman sat down dejectedly and said, ‘I just don’t know what I can do. I can’t stand or walk well. What can I do?” I answered, “You look like a Prayer Warrior to me. Can you pray for everyone here?” Her face began to glow as she began her ‘task’.
When the first young ‘guest’ entered, her head was bowed, her arms crossed in front of her, and she didn’t speak with anyone. She stood on the edges of the ‘action’, just watching, refusing any of the services we offered. Finally she drifted over to the gift bag table and was greeted by the ‘prayer warrior’ who immediately engaged her in conversation. For over an hour this young woman poured out her heart, telling her story in broken pieces.
Our team ‘prayer warrior’ prayed with many of these young people, reminding them that God has not and never will leave them. She listened to them as a loving grandmother would, not offering advice, just giving them unconditional acceptance. What a blessing she is!
One incident that happened to me personally involved one of our male ‘guests’. He was the first man to come see what was going on, and obviously a leader in the facility. A tall, slender, attractive black man with ‘attitude’. It wasn’t long before our team had him engaged in teasing and laughing. He even got the full treatment – manicure, facial, and massage. Before long he had several other men joining in, and the laughter flowed.
Watching the faces of these young men and women relax, laugh, and enjoy a few hours away from the stress and strain of everyday life lifted our whole team. Many, guests as well as team members, commented that this was the best day ever. Each of us felt His presence, El Roi – the God Who Sees Me. ~Lylan Shepherd