Making Happy Feet in Guatemala!

I know this beautiful girl who has a big heart.    At 5 years old, this little girl traveled to Indonesia and visited her sponsored child.  At that time, her father and I wondered if she would be too little to understand, but we watched this 5-year-old  reach out and profoundly minister to her sponsored child, Kristy. Kristy was frightened of “the white people” and cried when we came to her home.  Isabel instinctively walked up to her, put her hand on Kristy and sang, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  Kristy settled, and Isabel and Kristy shared a moment that would carry on into a global friendship.  Now both girls are 11 years old and they call each other “cousin”.

Last year we had the chance to take Isabel and our other two daughters to Kenya, and after that trip, Isabel started a ministry.

Realizing she made more in her allowance than some Kenyans make in a month made her decide to do something.  She started Shoes for Kids.

A year after that trip she saved $30 and bought three pairs of kid shoes for me to take on a Compassion blog trip.  That was in March.  Others pitched in and Isabel ended up collecting 30 pairs of shoes. Now, six months later, Isabel has collected shoes that have traveled to a half a dozen countries.

Back in July, Isabel put out this urgent plea on my blog.  She found out her dad was coming to Guatemala.  Sure enough, generous friends and strangers donated new shoes for kids, and we sent a pile for my husband to deliver.  He took those shoes to the very project we visited today.

After that trip, my husband insisted we come back to this project that is situated next to the city dump. 20,000 families reside in the most horrendous conditions.

When I showed up today, I told the project director who I was and she lit up.  She had delivered all the shoes and told me about it.

Later she gave me pictures to show me who those shoes went to.  As all the bloggers stood around and listened, I barely held it together. She gave me a beautiful letter for Isabel.

So then I brought out the new bags of shoes. We piled them up and pulled these out.

Amanda had brought some shoes that her daughter had grown out of too. Quickly we found a recipient.

After seeing such difficult things this week, I must admit it felt good to give something tangible.  Poverty is overwhelming, and somehow, being able to give a bag of shoes tends to ease the pain.

For Isabel and me, seeing  shoes with holes, and bare feet makes poverty real.

It becomes my breaking point.  I have so many shoes in my closet and when I see something like this, I can’t take it.

After we handed out the shoes, I studied the picture that the project director had given me from the last shoe drop.  In the picture was a little boy that I recognized, because he was right in front of me with a beautiful pair of shoes on his feet.  I wished my little Isabel could have been there at my side.

My daughter has a heart of gold.  Her little ministry is special.  No, we have not collected thousands of shoes, and she has no idea what a 5013C is for non-profit status.  None of that stuff matters to her. She just wants to know that some child somewhere has a pair of shoes on their feet.  So she built her own website, opened a twitter account @shoesforkids22, and continues her little ministry.

Before I left for this trip, I was tucking Isabel into bed and I said, “Isabel, do you ever imagine the child who will step in those shoes and what their life is like?”

She responded, “Mom, of course I do, that is all I think about.”

Dear Isabel,

Your ministry made some happy feet today.  I am proud of you.  Keep up the good work! Love Mom

If you want to help Isabel and her ministry, you can email us at and we will let you know how to donate gently used or new shoes.  I have a trip to Ecuador next month with Compassion, and Ethiopia after that and my husband has a Brazil trip.  You can even designate what country you want the shoes to go to.

If you don’t sponsor a child yet, I would highly recommend you do this for you and your kids.  It is such a blessing!

15 Comments on “Making Happy Feet in Guatemala!

  1. That moment when you were given the photograph?
    Priceless! All your mama heart bursting and spilling with love for a little girl — and all the children of the world.

    That moment changed me…

    Your Isabel has her Mama’s heart, her dad’s — you all just radiate Jesus and it’s a pretty incredible thing… I will never forget. I can’t stop smiling! This is what is to be bread for the world, that Christ might be recognized! Is there a greater thing?

    You Joneses — I’d like to keep up with you ~smile, wink~

    Deeply moved, profoundly grateful,

  2. I am so very proud to call you My Friends and thrilled to have watched the girls in Kenya. You are an amazing family and this next generation will carry the torch. I LOVE this post and I love Isabel.

  3. WOW!! What a heart of a servant! Isabel, you are helping God make the world a better place for children in need… foot STEP at a time! So proud of you and so glad I met your Mom in Peru!!!! Keep up the fabulous work for Christ! Many prayers and blessings from the Pegues family : )

  4. I was just scrubbing an outgrown pair of crocs today to donate locally. However, as I was, I was thinking about how crosolite (croc shoe material) doesn’t wear out and how in some place like africa where my two compassion girls are, the shoes would be reused again and again.. I believe I have now found a way to get them there. (I’ll be emailing you to ship the shoes and arrange for shipping fees…you can pick the best location). God Bless.

  5. Wow. As a Mom seeking to raise her (now) 4 kids to have the heart of Jesus, this is inspiring! I know you can’t take sole credit for what Isabel is doing — she obviously has her own relationship with God, and He’s the one instigating this act of mercy. But still. I want to parent like you, Patricia.

    (E-mailing you now.)

  6. Heather, I am so glad you shared this with you son. We should never underestimate what God can do through our kids. Thanks for following along.

  7. Kristen,
    Thank you but I know you have amazing kids too. BTW – if you look close at the shoe pictures you might recognize a few. I really missed you on this trip and thought of you a lot. Thanks for all your encouragement. I really would love to talk to you soon and talk about the stuff you are doing too.
    Much love,

  8. absolutely amazing! sitting on the plane back from FL and have tears in my eyes reading this blog. your girls are amazing and i love them dearly. they each have gifts that God is using for his glory. and, this is just one example of that. how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things. your little isabel is the embodiment of this verse for me today. love it. love it. love it. 🙂

  9. Wow what an amazing testimony. I shared this story with my five year old son Tyler. This is one of the most uplifting stories I have heard in a long time. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  10. I am so impressed with and proud of the ladies in my life. This is GREAT!

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