‘The story of his feet: The little boy whose feet are pictured above have walked many miles. He heard of the white people who had come to a village near his. Today he is hoping we have brought something to pass out. Maybe clothes, food or…a pair of shoes. You see, he walked six miles each way to get to us…through trash, over rocks, through thorn bushes and crumbled cement. This child patiently stood next to me, watching intently my every move. His brow was furrowed for the first little while and his face sullen. We could not speak to one another-he did not know my language and I did not know his. I bent down to take a picture of his feet and he slowly looked away. He approached me after some time had passed and asked in very broken English with a whisper in his voice, “Madam, may I have a pair of shoes?” My heart broke. I wished he knew why I was there, because I was working on getting them ALL a pair of shoes. I tried to explain to him that when I came back I’d have a pair of shoes but for the moment I had nothing, except a hug and a smile and a song. I bent down and looked in his big brown eyes. I spoke some words in English to bring him hope. He did not understand, so I sang him a song. He slowly lifted his head and gave me a smile...and soon I'll return and give him a pair of shoes. My heart is burdened until I can bring him and the others like him shoes – Hope is coming!’
These are the words of Asher Collie, an everyday American girl doing extraordinary things for the children of Uganda and Zambia. Sole Hope was a vision God gave Asher in 2010. After watching a video detailing the plight of the orphans and widows of Africa, her heart was changed forever. She was deeply impacted by the images of unbearable suffering from a parasitic infestation on the feet of so many of Africa’s children. Her heart was stirred, she acted and the rest is history.
Sole Hope exists to provide jobs for widowed women in Africa, and puts shoes on the feet of orphans. Close-toed shoes are an essential part of keeping life threatening diseases out of children's feet. They teach women who need work how to makes shoes. They pay them an appropriate wage and give the shoes to the children of their city who have been orphaned due to various reasons.
(Check out a shoe cutting party here.)
|Parasite infested feet.|
Today she gives us a glimpse of her heart and shares the following excerpt about her recent trip to Africa.
‘If I only had one thousand words I might be able to explain to you the last two weeks of my life. The problem is, my heart has a thousand recollections that leave me speechless. It has been about two weeks; two weeks for me to gather my thoughts about the one of the deepest experiences of my life. How do I explain what it feels like to have my heart go walking outside of my body? How do I gather the words that will paint a picture of pure bliss in the midst of poverty, hurt and pain? My experience in Africa was taken in this time in a very personal way. My heart was touched deeply, dare I say, deeper than ever before. I experienced more highs and lows in the past two weeks than I have in the past eight months. Leaving my family in Asheville while I venture off into the unknown, on a trip I knew would make my heart set sail has been beyond hard. I grew closer to three of my friends from Asheville that accompanied me than I ever thought I would. I grew to love five "strangers" in Uganda that I now call, with all sincerity, my family. I watched God do miracle after miracle and prepare the way for the greatness he has in store for Sole Hope. I experienced his favor and mercy in great ways. I witnessed the hard work and resiliency of over 100 Sole Hope workers in Zambia and Uganda. I saw hearts changed and lives moved, including my own.’
Read the encouraging letter from Zambia - - March 31 2011
- Asher Collie, living destined, devoted and daring.
Visit Asher’s blog here.