Overwhelmed

August 30, 2010

Guinness World Record for the Longest Chain of Shoes

By Jennifer Gribble, South Main Member & Marketing Coordinator on August 21, 2010 after the Sole Chain event.

Well, it’s 6:37 p.m. and I have been struggling for a few hours to find the words to describe my experience today at the Sole Chain – Shoes for Orphan Souls event.

For those of you who don’t know, South Main Baptist Church broke the Guinness World Record today for the Longest Chain of Shoes.  20,110 were laid out in the church parking lot in Houston.  Over 100 volunteers worked from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to lay out the shoes, tie them together, pack the shoes, and then load them up on a truck that is going to Buckner International’s warehouse in Dallas.  Buckner uses these new shoes as a part of the Shoes for Orphan Souls project.

I found myself driving home from the event this afternoon in complete silence (not the usual for me as I like to “rock out” when I drive) and the tears just started falling down my cheeks.  I didn’t know why but I was just crying.  I kept trying to figure out what was causing the tears and I realized that I am just overwhelmed.

I am overwhelmed…

by the generosity of South Main Baptist Church’s members.

by the Houston community who showed up to bring a pair of shoes and lend a hand in placing and packing the shoes.

the willingness of people to give up their Saturday to sweat in 110 degree heat index temperatures on a concrete parking lot.

that 10,055 orphans that will be blessed by these donations.

by the homeless man that came by to ask what was going on and then donated $5 to the cause.

by the commraderie shown by all the volunteers today.

by the people stay until ALL the work is done…the truck is packed, the trash is picked up, everything is loaded up.

most of all, by the emotion that changing the lives of so many orphans brings to me.

I have been a small part of the shoe drive since we joined South Main in 2001.  This year, as the Marketing Coordinator at South Main, Sole Chain has been my focus at work over the past few months.  I have spent hours and hours getting ready for the event, calling media, getting “coverage” for our event.  All important tasks, but when it comes down to it, the real work is done by our volunteers who slaved away in the hot sun today.

Sole Chain is so much more than a publicity stunt.  This is about the kids.  I had to look through my 20+ pairs of shoes this morning to decide which pair of shoes that I would wear today.  The children that receive these shoes don’t have any.  This one pair of shoes will change their lives. It is as simple as that.  Simple, but oh so deep.

My experience today has changed me.  Softened my heart, opened my eyes, touched my soul.  I just don’t know if I can find the words to describe it all.  I would love for you to share your words from the event if you were there today with us all.

It was an amazing day.

Send shoes.  See smiles.  Save souls.

www.solechain.org


Reflections on Peru

January 5, 2010

By Chelsea Wade, Buckner Ministries Coordinator at South Main Baptist Church.  Chelsea visited Peru from December 4-13, 2009.

During the first orphanage visit a fellow participant asked me who my favorite was. I said that I wanted to spend time with as many children as possible and that I didn’t have one. After listening to my response he reiterated: “You always have a favorite”. There were certainly children that took my hand for reasons that I can’t explain. At times they smiled at me with so much joy that I became overwhelmed. I have no doubt that I was placed there for divine reasons. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “You’ll always become a favorite”.

Chronicling my experiences was a bit difficult for this trip. I usually enjoy writing journal entries but this method seemed futile for this experience. I found myself summarizing the itinerary instead of taking an introspective approach. I opted to e-mail friends and family tidbits about emotions and observations. After re-reading these conversations I’ve decided that they give an accurate representation of my personal growth.

Here at South Main the concept of community is emphasized in activities. I’ve become much more aware of what we can accomplish together and learn from each other in community settings.  My awareness of community was certainly increased during this trip. I had the opportunity to function as an extension of South Main and as a Buckner employee. In addition I got to work alongside others to accomplish a common goal: showing God’s love.

When the trip was coming to a close, we discussed the challenge of describing our experience. How could we effectively communicate the happiness that the children felt? How could we explain the changes in our hearts? How could we show that we have been humbled? I suggested that those around us will learn about experience from our actions. I added that I couldn’t wait to step off the plane and be a different person that I was before leaving…thank God.


God’s Hand Revealed – By Maggie Hill

October 25, 2009

Shoe pileKatrina had just ripped through New Orleans and many survivors were camped out in Reliant Stadium. My husband Henry contacted Mike Williams of St. Lukes Hospital. He was in charge of the “goings on” at Reliant. Henry ask if they had a need for shoes for the children. Mike assured us that there was.

Henry and I rented a truck and drove to Dallas to the Buckner  Ministries shoe distribution center. The workers filled the truck with new shoes, socks and teddy bears.
The next morning when we arrived at Reliant we noticed signs on the fence stating that no more donations were needed. Henry called Mike and he said that there was still a big need for shoes and directed us through several check points to the gate that would lead to a loading dock. He met us there and invited us in to see the sorry selection of shoes available. I declined and said I would wait with the truck.
As I waited, a lady pushing a cart came up to me and ask if we might have some ladies underwear in our truck. She shared with me that she was from California and that her husband was a medical doctor. When he heard about the situation in Houston he had decided to come to Houston and see how they could help.  That morning he was working in triage and after treating a patient all bedding and clothing were discarded. She had been sent out to collect things they needed and she had been successful in her search except for the womans underwear.

As she was talking I was watching a black limo pull up to an unmaned gate. I was puzzled as the driver got out, opened the gate and drove over to the loading dock.  Two men in black suits and sunglasses with large shopping bags under their arms walked over to us and one said, “I don’t know what this is about but as I left home this morning my wife gave me these and told me to bring them to Reliant.”  We opened the bags and found they were filled with ladies underwear.

My new friend and I did not miss this GOD WINK.

Since her mission was complete she moved on her way.

The next morning on the front page on the Houston Chronicle was a picture of a little girl boarding the school bus at Reliant with a teddy bear in her arms.  I couldn’t see her feet, but I am sure she was wearing new shoes.


There are hurting children everywhere…

August 3, 2009

happyshoepicToday, there are more than 143 million orphans around the globe. Children without a voice… children who need love. There are children in crisis who need safety… who need care. Buckner provides an array of services to meet the needs of children around the world. Shoes for Orphan Souls is Buckner International’s largest humanitarian aid project, collecting and distributing more than 1.8 million pairs of new shoes since its inception in 1999. South Main Baptist Church began its participation in 2000. Through the generous support of members, South Main has contributed over 55,000 pairs of new shoes toward the project. This generosity has helped children around the world experience God’s love and hope.

Once again, you can make a difference in a child’s life.

New shoes can now be brought to the Welcome Center at South Main Baptist Church. If you prefer to make a cash donation, you may do so by writing a check to South Main and indicating that it’s for “Buckner Shoes.”

 Contact Henry Hill at 713-829-3989 for more information.

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