Here in Uganda we have the pleasure of working with joyful and resilient patients every day.  We see Sole Hope shoes skipping down red dirt roads, we see a grandmother’s smile as we hand her a lollipop during a clinic.  We see eyes growing brighter day by day as people who were infested by jiggers regain their health and their dignity.

Sole Hope is a global community of people who take action.  They pour their time, hearts, creativity, and resources into changing the lives of people with jiggers.  One thing that is harder to see from here is how giving can impact the lives of the givers.  The story below comes from a supporter who hosted a shoe cutting party in the most difficult of times.  Love is a choice.  Hope is a choice.  This person chose well.

Drew and Deb had been married  for 37 years when he lost a sudden and short battle with cancer, just this past May.

It was an understandably difficult adjustment, learning to live on her own after a lifetime of sharing all of the joys and sorrows,  challenges and rewards of raising a family together.

The journey through the grieving process after this kind of loss takes time. With the support of people who care, and a strong relationship with God, Deb was doing well.

However, as their wedding anniversary was approaching, Deb was anticipating that it would be an unbearably sad day.

Several weeks ago she heard about Sole Hope, their mission, and the shoe cutting parties that supporters around the world were having. Rather than let herself be again engulfed by sorrow, Deb made a choice to do something that would change not only the day that she was dreading, but also change the lives of many children.

She decided plan a shoe cutting party in her home on the day of their anniversary, and use her husband’s jeans to make the shoes.

The evening that would have been Deb and Drew’s 38th anniversary, 21 close friends and family members gathered in her home. Along with the help of  other supporters who couldn’t be present, they sponsored, and cut the uppers for 38 pairs of shoes from Drew’s jeans that he had left behind.

Choosing to actively engage in giving life where it is needed, rather than being overcome by grief, this group of friends were able to be a part of bringing hope and health to 38 children in Uganda.

~Judy

So, thank you, to Deb and to each and every person who is on this journey with us.  Thank you for choosing hope when you could choose despair.  Thank you for caring about orphans, widows, and vulnerable people a world away even when you have problems of your own.  Thank you for giving, not just resources, but a part of yourself.  That’s a gift worth giving.