Posted tagged ‘needy’

Norma’s Shoes

December 7, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                   December 7, 2015

                                                     

   

Norma Koch was a person of faith…perhaps courageous faith might be the better description. She believed in a Jesus that was not weak and, therefore, she was not to approach her walk with him in a weak way!

A couple of years ago the social worker at Audubon School, down the street from our church, called to say that there was a boy at the school who needed a new pair of shoes. The young lad had a pair of shoes that were literally held together with duct tape. The tape was wrapped around and around each of the shoes to keep them from falling apart. Our church bought him a new pair. A young kid’s feet were singing hallelujah!

That child’s need struck deep within Norma’s heart. The senior living complex she resided in would play Bingo once or twice a week and there were actually “cash winnings!” A quarter here, fifty cents there! Norma began collecting her winnings in a jar with a mission. The mission was to collect the change until there was enough to buy a new pair of shoes for the next child in need.

This past July she turned the money in, and it was deposited into out church’s benevolence fund until the need arose to use it.

And then Norma passed away! Ninety years old…ready to meet the Jesus she followed face-to-face, ready to be done with the aches and pains that had accompanied her for so long. She passed…and entered!

About six weeks after her passing Audubon School called again. A first grade girl was in dire need of a new pair of shoes. Norma’s shoes got bought. A little girl is now wearing “Dora the Explorer” shoes…all sparkly and new on her feet.

Though she is dancing in glory Norma Koch continues to have an impact in this life.

The Five Wise Boys

December 20, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                               December 20, 2013

 

 

The five young boys started their stroll down the center aisle of the church’s sanctuary. They carried gifts made out of plastic and cardboard, but painted to look like expensive presents from Dilliard’s. Boys have a tendency to drop things. Better to have a plastic container painted gold than a gold container containing something fragile.

There were five of them, each wearing a decorative hat or head wrap to convey their roles as the three wise men…plus two!

It wasn’t necessarily the plan! The program called for three boys dressed up to be like the “We Three Kings!”

“We Five Kings” or “Us Bunch of Kings” just didn’t quite have the same ring to it. Nevertheless, there were five of them marching down the aisle in all their glory.

Magi #4 and Magi #5 had shown up for the first time that morning…and been invited to carry some fragile-looking cardboard containers to the manger scene. They were a little apprehensive.

“We haven’t practiced.”

One of the other wise boys asked the question: “Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?” He got two cautious nods. “Then you qualify! Just follow us and we’ll lead you to the right spot.”

“After all,” added Wise Boy #2, “the Magi followed a star! They didn’t really practice either, and they made it okay!”

The first wise boy took Magi #4’s hand and said “It will be fun!” He tugged a little bit to get him to follow.

The two additional characters had come to church that morning with their mom and dad who had just become homeless. A world of confusion and closed doors had greeted their parents as they tried to keep the family together, safe, and fed. The journey to the sanctuary manger scene that morning has been preceded by visits to filled homless shelters, tapped-out agencies, and declined appeals.

Christmas looked dark.

Mom and Dad and their two boys carried all their possessions in two suitcases and four backpacks, and they walked from one place to the next. Desperation was starting to seep in to their minds. Fears about survival were becoming constant.

And then the parents met someone who said, “Let me see if I can help you!” A roof over their heads, food in their hands, and an invitation to come to church. The genuineness of the helper convinced them that this was not a superficial offer, but was undergirded with concern for their well-being.

And so they had come. Someone had picked them up and brought them…and soon after the wise boys had multiplied by sixty-seven percent.

After the program as the five boys stood around munching cookies and not worrying about crumbs on the carpet, Wise Boy #1 said, “Hey! I wonder if this is how it happened in the original Christmas story? Do you think the wise men picked up people on the way and invited them to join them?”

Wise Boy #2 responded, “It doesn’t seem right that they wouldn’t have. Why keep good news a secret?”

Shoes for Joey

December 10, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         December 10, 2013

                                          

(The following story is based on something that actually happened to me today. The names suggested, however, are fictitious.)

Mrs. Brown, the school social worker, had a problem. Actually, it seemed like every new day brought a compounding of problems, but today she knew that her problem had two feet and one and a half shoes.

Joey, a fourth grader, had been a little suspect with his school attendance recently. His mom would call in the morning about every other day to say that Joey was ill and wouldn’t be at school that day. The afflictions ranged from a cold to a headache to him running a fever. Over the past month Joey had been to school ten days out of a possible twenty-two.

But today he was there, and Mrs. Brown was starting to piece together some things. Joey had been absent on days when it was cold and snowing, and recently there had been a number of those kind of days. Today the sun had come out to raise the temperature to the upper thirties…a heat wave compared to what they ahd been experiencing.

Joey was at school today, and today Joey’s challenge became clear. Joey needed shoes!

Mrs. Brown got on the phone and called Pastor Mike at the community church down the street, and she told him of her problem.

“I know this is a lot to ask, Pastor, but do you think your church could help? Believe me! Joey’s toes are sticking out of the front of his shoe.”

“I’ll be there in an hour. What size does he wear?”

“Six.”

“Consider it done!”

“Thank you! You don’t know how much this means.”

“Mrs. Brown, whenever there is a need that we can help with put us on speed dial. We consider ourselves to be partners with you in the raising up, caring, and safety of the children of our community.”

“And we need all the help we can get.”

She hung up the phone and breathed a sigh of relief. Joey came from a broken home. He split his time between his mom and his dad. Mrs. Brown was more than a little concerned about him. Sometimes kids come to school wondering if life is going to get any better. It broke her heart especially at this time of the year. So many of the students she dealt with saw Christmas as a depressing time, not a time of joy.

An hour later Pastor Mike got buzzed in through the front door and entered the office with a shoe box in hand.

“I hope these fit.”

“We will soon find out. I’ll have Joey come down to the office to try them on.”

A few minutes later a skinny young boy with a nervous look on his face came into the office. Pastor Mike stood to the side, but noticed that the front of one of Joey’s shoes was held together with duct tape that had been wrapped around and around the shoe like first aid tape trying to bring healing that was beyond it. The tape was fraying and splintering on the sides, and the other shoe looked like it was about to lose the tip. Both shoes were rubbed raw of any tread on the soles.

“Joey, I want you to try these shoes on,” said Mrs. Brown.

Joey had a confused look on his face.

“Go ahead! Just try this one on.”

“But Mrs. Brown, I don’t know if my mom would say I could.”

“I’ll talk to your mom. You let me worry about that part.”

“He slipped his old shoe off and worked his foot slowly into the new shoe with bright shoelaces. A smile rose to the surface.

“Now, I want you to give me your old pair and I’ll take care of them.”

“You don’t think my mom will be mad?”

“Joey, I’ll talk to your mom.”

The young boy thanked the lady and left the office beaming.

“A new pair of shoes,” he thought. “I don’t remember the last time I had a new pair of shoes.”

Mrs. Brown watched him stroll out of the office with a little skip in his step. She looked at Pastor Mike, and with tears streaming down her face she asked, “Did you see the look on his face? I haven’t seen him smile a single time this whole year until today.”

“Think about it, Mrs. Brown. Up until just now every time he looked down at his shoes he was reminded of his poverty. Now he can look at his shoes and be reminded that there’s hope.”