Shanda Dodd, one of our racers, shares the following blog
of her experience in Swaziland. Shanda is built for speed. She takes on what the race dishes out with equanimity. But God has a way of getting past our defenses…
We were expecting around 250 children to show up. The plan was to
divide them into twelve groups, line them up, and then one by one begin
the process of distributing new shoes. Each of the stations had
swashing bins filled with water, a couple bars of soap, wash rags, and
willing hands. Our goal for the day was to wash the feet of, pray for,
and give new shoes to all the children. Our supply of shoes, which
looked large at first, consisted of donated Nikes, sandles, and Croc
And so our day began, with crowded lines backed up everywhere and our
clean water quickly becoming brown. I was partnered with Dre at one of
the washing stations. As she washed and prayed over a child, I tried to
find a pair of shoes that would fit, and then we would switch roles.
The washing and praying was extremely moving, however, finding shoes
that fit each child proved to be challenging, especially when we began
to run low on the middle sizes. Despite the difficulties, we prevailed
saying it’s just one size to big, he’s a growing boy, if they’re a
little big they’ll last longer.
As the hours went by, the act of washing the hundreds of dust covered
feet was tugging at my heart more than I thought it would and our
middle size shoes went from scarce to non-existent, the other sizes
dwindling as well. With emotions running high I sat down at the washing
basin and asked Dre to find someone with little feet that would fit
into the remaining shoes. She brought back a barefoot, little girl with
precious eyes and feet just the right size, or so I thought.
I began washing her feet, scrubbing the mud of the bottoms, and even
getting the dirt from in between her little toes. She smiled at me as I
silently prayed that she would know God’s love and grow up to be a
beacon of light in her community. When I finished drying off her feet,
Dre handed me a pair of shoes. I tried to put them on, but they were a
size to small. I tried again, praying that God would make the shoes
grow just the little bit needed. They still didn’t fit. As the tears
began to slide down my cheeks, I tried again. I prayed harder than I’ve
prayed in a long time, God please just make these shoes fit, please
God. It’s not out of your abilities, please just make them fit. But,
the shoes remained too small.
I completely broke. We were out of anything remotely close to her size
and this adorable little girl sitting so patiently in front of me
waiting for something I couldn’t give. She had walked I don’t know how
far barefoot on the hot ground with the promise of shoes and I couldn’t
do anything for her. I just held her feet crying. I must have looked
crazy to her… this strange white woman sitting on the floor, bursting
into tears, still holding her feet. Yet, I couldn’t let her go empty
handed. I asked Dre to get whatever the next size shoe was. It was at
least 3 sizes to big, but I didn’t care. I put them on her feet and
buckled them as tight as I could.
Dre took over communication with the translator and the little girl as
I continued crying. She explained that these were the only shoes we
had, but at least her feet would be covered. As she prayed a final pray
over the girl I sat there asking God why? Why didn’t you make the shoes
fit? Why didn’t you make them just a little bit bigger? Why God? She
had no shoes, it wouldn’t be that hard for you? You fed the five
thousand, I only asked for one pair of shoes? Why didn’t you provide
for the little girl? But I didn’t hear an answer.
We finished distributing what shoes we could and took down the names
and sizes of those that still needed a pair. We had given away over 500
pairs of shoes that day. With our supplies cleaned up and our energy
levels low, the majority of our group piled back into the van and
headed home. I waited at the site until the last of us were finished
and the van return to pick up the remaining few. I needed the time to
think without the being crowded in a 22 passenger van with 35 people.
When it arrive I hopped in the front, looking out the window, enjoying
the wind and the silence of the van, but not the silence of God. And
then I heard it clearly…
God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.
I was still teary as we pulled into our campsite, but I had a sense of
peace that was lacking before. Even though I couldn’t see the purpose,
even though I didn’t understand why, God was still in control. He was
still good and He will always be good, no matter what my perception of
a situation is… God is good.