Message from my Heart
I know it’s been a while since my last newsletter, but I hope that you have had a great summer. I’ve had some very unique opportunities to experience giving and quality family time with my immediate and extended family this summer.Starting with a service trip to Peru in South America with a family group of 46 people, and ending with a family wedding in Toronto, Canada with the opportunity for a reunion and a visit with my 91 year old grandmother.
With so much to share, I’ll dedicate this issue to the shoe distribution that we experienced in the outskirts of Lima, Peru with Samaritan’sFeet, an organization that I’ve really enjoyed working with and supporting.
Today’s Inspiring Story
You may remember one of my previous newsletters which featured Emmanuel (Manny) Ohonme, founder of Samaritan’s Feet. I was truly honored to be working with his team on his incredible mission to put 10 million pairs of shoes on the feet of 10 million orphans and impoverished children around the world. Manny wishes to make a difference in the lives of millions by continuing the legacy of love and hope which he received with his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Vacations That Matter had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with Samaritan’s Feet to include a shoe distribution service project for the extended family with a mission to serve in Peru. And the privilege was all mine to join them with my 11 year old daughter to experience giving in such a unique way.
On the afternoon of June 20, 2011, 48 of us boarded a bus to one of the poorest areas of Lima to distribute 300 pairs of shoes with our local representative for Samaritan’s Feet, Pastor Samuel Santa Maria, and his dedicated friendly translator. What a humbling experience it was to wash the feet of children, women and men, and to provide them with a new pair of shoes while giving them a message of hope. Seeing the smiles and excitement in their faces was well worth the long bus ride to get to the distribution site. Even with our limited Spanish language skills, we managed to get our message of love and hope across to them.
We could have stayed many more hours and distributed many more shoes because the need so outweighs the supply we had. It just gives us a reason to want to go again and serve those who we sadly missed.
As one of the teenagers in our group said, “Everyone is the same, no matter how different our lives are. Each person has value and deserves to be treated with no less respect than anyone else. I really picked this up when washing people’s feet. It really was a humbling experience”.
This experience was not exclusive to a few, but was felt by the entire family group. What could be more gratifying than sharing these moments with your loved ones while enjoying the sights, culture and people of Lima and Cusco.
As you may have guessed, a trip to Peru would not have been complete without a visit to the awe-inspiring kingdom of the Inca’s, Machu Picchu. The scenery was breathtaking and definitely worth the hike.
Stay tuned for the next couple of newsletters where I will share the other unique service projects that we participated in during the same trip to Peru.