This is a fantastic story from my wife, Cathy, who was a team member with me in the Dominican Republic just a few weeks ago. Her story of this sweet child is a great reminder of who we are in Jesus.
My favorite week of the year finally came and we were off to the Dominican Republic. There was one thing I was really looking forward to on this trip and it was handing out new shoes to the village of Cotui. Employees of a major shoe store had donated shoes and I couldn’t wait to see the excitement as the people got them. It is rare for the children and adults to get new shoes. Most of their shoes are hand-me-downs and usually have holes in them with the soles coming off. I have seen lots of shoes put back together with tape hoping that they will last a few more weeks. I knew that this would be an exciting time, but I never realized how much God was going to teach me through it all.
As we were finishing up Bible School with the children, I noticed one of my little friends crying. I’m not sure why she was crying but when I went to her I noticed her shoes. They were so small on her feet that her big toes were sticking out of holes in the front. As I reached down and lifted her foot to see the bottom of her shoe I found holes all in the soles. I took off her shoes and told her to wait just a minute. I went to the boxes of shoes and found a new pair that would fit her perfectly. As I walked towards her with her new shoes a huge smile came across her face and the crying stopped. I asked her if she would like a new pair of shoes. With a huge grin she nodded “yes”. I placed the shoes on her feet. She stood up and began to twirl around looking down at her feet and smiling. She ran over to her mom to show her the new shoes on her feet. What she did next I will never forget; she walked over and picked up her old shoes and hurled them as far as she could into a field of trash. Then she turned around, put her hands on her hips and nodded at me. Even though she said nothing…I knew what she was thinking. She had no need for those old shoes anymore. Then she pranced off with her hands on her hips to show off her new shoes!
As I have thought about this over and over the past week, I have come to realize the picture God was showing me in that moment. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is here.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
My sweet little friend was so perfectly happy and satisfied with the new that she didn’t need the old anymore. She threw the old as far away as she could and completely embraced the new. That is exactly what God is calling us to do. We can embrace the new life that Christ has given us and walk in confidence because we are a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come! We don’t have to hold onto the past, such as lies we believe about ourselves, guilt from things we have done, failures that we keep playing in our minds and just the thoughts that we don’t deserve a new life. We all have those things we hold onto. Even when we have embraced Christ as our Savior, we still hold onto the old. It is hard to let go. I have come to realize through this picture that there are things I need to throw into the trash and walk away, confident in the new creation I am in Christ.
Know that your connection to VisionTrust not only changes the life of children all around the world, but also grabs the heart of team members every time we go. God’s grace and love knows no limit!