from EHC International
The Least of These Among the “Hungry, Blind, and Shoeless!”
Africa is a land riddled with needs of every kind. In addition to meeting spiritual needs, EHC teams seek to meet physical needs in strategic ways and places that often open hearts and doors to advance the Gospel. For example, in Malawi and Zambia EHC teams recently completed special projects that offered food to the most destitute of families in famine-stricken areas. This is always done in relation to sharing the Gospel, our first priority. These projects, like the recent “Feed Malawi” outreach, were highly fruitful as many thousands responded to the Gospel and joined local churches and Christ Groups as a result! Many people had given up hope until EHC workers came to their doors with a simple bag of maize (ground cornmeal) and the Good News of life in Christ.
In Mozambique, Tanzania, and Burundi, EHC workers partnered with a ministry called Soles for Jesus (a key partner ministry with EHC in Africa) to offer shoes to those who have none. “In some nations, shoes are to be worn; in others, shoes are tools for evangelism!” said EHC Burundi National Director Evariste Harerimana. EHC teams helped Soles for Jesus place shoes on the feet of the poor, and everyone received a gospel booklet along with their shoes. In almost all cases, these were the first shoes these people had ever worn. But it was also the first time many had ever heard about Jesus.
“The power of the printed page was evident as the shoes were being distributed,” Mozambique National Director Anacleto Ferrao reported. “As the people would find somewhere to sit after receiving their shoes they would begin to read the gospel message. The booklets helped them understand that knowing Jesus personally was at the center of the shoe distribution, and it was Christ’s love that caused us to give them the shoes.” All these shoes, and even the costs of shipping them from America including customs fees, was covered by the ministry called Soles for Jesus. Soles for Jesus was founded by the daughter of a long-time EHC donor from Holland. What a wonderful example of how partnering together can yield an even greater harvest while meeting a great need among “the least of these” in distant places like Africa.
This unique shoe distribution accompanied by a gospel outreach in Mozambique was so successful that local schools had to shut down for the day because parents pulled their children out of classes to receive a new pair of shoes while hearing the Good News. “When the Lion of the tribe of Judah roars,” EHC Director Anacleto declared, “even schools are forced to close!”
At the end of the day, the multitudes that came joined in a time of joyous praise and worship, singing and dancing in their new shoes before the Lord. Few in our western context understand what it means for so many in rural Africa to have his or her own pair of shoes. One young boy told EHC workers, “I had been praying to God for my very own pair of shoes because I have never had a pair of my own. But I did not know if God was real or if He would listen to my prayer. From now on I know that God is real and Jesus cares much for me. I will now pray to God for all my needs and for my brothers too!” Literally hundreds committed their lives to Christ through these “shoe-distribution” outreaches in Africa because of the simple gift of a pair of shoes given with the Gospel to “the least of these.”
The Least of These Among Orphans, Widows, and the Afflicted
Around the world, special EHC outreaches and projects like these are clearly advancing the Gospel among the “least of these,” in obedience to the words of Christ to care for these less fortunate. Additionally, EHC teams are bringing hope to prisons, healing to hospitals, and much, much more. In Moldova, for example, (a region of the former Soviet Union), an EHC summer project reached 250 orphans through specially designed summer camps.
In several nations in Africa EHC teams provide education on malaria (including the provision of protective mosquito tents) along with HIV/AIDS training in addition to providing them the Good News of Jesus. In Bangladesh, sewing training programs (accompanied by the sharing of the Gospel) are enabling impoverished women to provide for their families. It’s the holistic Gospel in action!
Praise God—EHC workers, while spreading the Gospel home to home everywhere, are taking food to the hungry, comfort to the homeless, clothing to the poor, and hope to the sick and imprisoned as they go!