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62 Pairs of Shoes

in Blog, Canada, Immigrant and Refugee Ministry
Thoughts from a mission worker in Canada.

With wintery cold outside, the oven had warmed our house constantly for two days as we baked enough gingerbread pieces to build 50 houses. We had invited many friends and neighbors over, and we prayed for those who would enter our home.

At 2 p.m. on the dot, our doorbell rang. A constant stream of people flooded through our front door for about six hours. Shoes filled our entryway and little hands covered our table, donning their creativity with a beloved medium … sugar!

Their parents cheered them on, and in some cases, made houses themselves. “I never did anything like this as a kid in India,” one of our friends said. “It’s great to be a kid again.”
After each house was complete, I took a photo of the decorators in front of our Christmas tree. We’ve found that this tradition is a great way for our family to connect and love people. One prominent religious leader finally opened up to our family. A mother shared about her marriage on the rocks. A friend talked about his struggling business. I’ve found myself flipping back through my phone, praying over each person in the pictures.

That day, 62 pairs of shoes found a place at our front door. Sixty-two people found a place to feel welcomed, loved, and valued in our home. Muslim people. Hindu people. Jain people. Sikh people. Followers of Jesus were in the minority — and that energizes us. 

The sight of shoes at the door has come to symbolize much for us. Trust. Time invested. Friendship. God’s grace and blessing. Faithfulness to the long, slow process of investing in others.

Let’s see what God does through these relationships.

What traditions does your family have that you could invite a neighbor, coworker, or new friend to participate in?

Vanessa and her family make disciples in Canada. Let Vanessa know you prayed.

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