Friday, September 23, 2016

Sam's Project: Rubber Boots for Barefoot Rwandan Children

Thousands of Rwandan children are walking barefoot through the mud and rain to go to school. Sam Wiley wants to help, and he hopes you will, too.

Here's the story: 

Monique Ladosz was a 61-year old widow when she decided to do something bold and daring. She moved to Rwanda to spend the rest of her life as a missionary.  She's been there, serving God and the precious children of that country, and Uganda, ever since. 

When those children went to school during the rainy season, they went barefoot and without protection from the downpour. They literally trudged through the mud and rain to go to school.

For years, Monique enlisted donors to help provide school uniforms, rain ponchos, and rubber boots for the children. We're not talking about a few children. 
Monique provided for more than 4,000 children, but she didn't just "give" the uniforms and rain gear. She allowed the children to "earn" them by doing chores. Instead of feeling "entitled", these children felt pride in being responsible and earning their way.

On Tuesday, I emailed Monique and told her how much I loved her boot and poncho project. It's a tangible evidence of God's love, and gives her an opportunity to share Christ to thousands of people every year.

She replied back a few hours later.

This year, Monique, now 85 yeas old, has had a shortfall of funds. She had enough donations to provide ponchos and uniforms, but not enough to buy boots. She can't give boots to just a few. If she's giving boots, she has to buy for all the children. 

This year, none of the children will get rain boots. Instead, they'll walk barefoot through the mud.

That news broke my heart. 

Sam Wiley arrived for dinner about that time. If you don't know Sam Wiley yet, he's my 86-year-old neighbor who never finished third grade, but is wise beyond compare. He spent his life as a cowboy and farm hand. Other  than personal and household items, he's never owned anything more expensive than a second-hand car. 

His wife died a year ago. They lost one child to miscarriage and another one to a heart defect. She only lived three months. 

Sam's 6'4" tall and weighs 120 pounds on a good day. His health isn't good and his heart beat is all out of kilter (he has atrial fibrillation) but that old heart is full of love and compassion.

When I told Sam about Monique's children and the lacking boots, it broke his heart, too.

"I ain't never had nothing, but I always had shoes. Except for one time when I squandered my money on foolishness when I was a teenager. I went barefoot for a little while then, but Daddy finally bought me some shoes. I don't like them little African children not having those boots."

"I don't like it either."

Sam took a bite of potatoes and pointed his spoon at me. "How much do them boots cost?"

"Monique said she can get good boots for $12 apiece."

"Lord, have mercy. There ain't no reason those little ones have to be barefoot. We could all get together and get them some shoes. I'll buy two pair."

"I'll buy two pair, too."

"You reckon you could get on that machine of yours and get some people to help us?" Sam doesn't quite understand my computer, but he has an amazing faith in the power of a story and the willingness of people to get involved.

"I can try." 

He chewed a bite of peas and pondered the situation a few minutes. When he looked up, there was an expression on his face I'd never seen before. Grim determination. "Let's do it."

"Let's do what?"

"Let's get all them children some boots."

"Sam, she needs thousands of dollars to buy boots for all those Rwandan children."

"If everyone bought one pair, or maybe two, we could get it done. It don't hurt none to ask. I believe they'll do it." There was hope in his faded blue eyes.

"It's a God-sized task, Sam." 

"Yep. But I believe He's up to it."

"I believe He is, too, Sam."

Our conversation moved on to other topics as we finished our meal. Before he left last night, Sam stopped in the doorway and looked back at me. "I'll give $100 for them babies some boots. I know I've got that much, and I shore ain't gonna take it with me when I die."

He took a step out the door then turned back. "Don't tell people they have to buy $100 worth of boots. They might not be able to do that much and think a little help won't matter. It will. Ask them to buy one pair of boots."

I promised I would. And here I am, asking you to help Sam and Monique buy rubber boots for barefoot Rwandan children. They're $12 a pair. 

It will take thousands of people joining together, because this will cost thousands of dollars, but if everyone gives a little, we can do it. Sam's counting on us to help, and I can't bear to let him, Monique, and the children down. 

Actually, Monique knows we have an idea. She doesn't know we're doing this. It's a surprise!

We've set up a project page so that you can see pictures of Monique and her children, the little barefoot Rwandan feet, and the children getting their boots and ponchos. Have your handkerchief ready! They will touch your heart. You can also donate there.

There's a 100% pass-through on donations, so everything you give will be used to buy boots for children in Rwanda and Uganda. Any extra will go toward next year's boots. None of the money comes to me or to Sam. The account for funds goes straight to Monique Ladosz' boot fund. 

All your donations are tax-deductible.

Here's the link: Help Sam's Kids

You can donate to help Sam's kids (and Monique's) online via bank draft, or credit or debit card. You can also mail a check. Instructions are below.

You can mail a check to: (Be sure to put Acct # 4852 in the subject line)

Sam's Kids
c/o Global Outreach
P.O. Box 1
Tupelo, MS. 38802

Two octogenarians have a God-sized vision and they're not afraid to pray big. We have an opportunity to make their dreams, and prayers, come true. Thank you for helping Sam, Monique, and 4200 children of Rwanda. 

May you be overtaken by blessings for your generosity. 

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' Matthew 25:40 NLT
In case you missed it, here's the link to this morning's blog post: Three Years and 1550 blog posts later...

#makeadifference #samskids #bootsforRwanda #Uganda