Clean Feet, New Shoes, Jesus!
“Why do you want to wash my feet,” asked an eight-year-old boy who had come to get a pair of new shoes.
The young adult volunteer looked directly into his eyes and asked, “Have you heard of Jesus?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Did you know Jesus washed people’s feet to show His unconditional love? That’s why we want to wash your feet – to remind you of Jesus.”
He beamed, “If Jesus washed feet, you can wash mine!”
December 7, 2013 more than 1,000 children, parents and grand parents packed the St. Vincent de Paul main dining room for a Christmas meal and an opportunity for 500 children to receive a new pair of shoes. The Scottsdale-Thunderbird Seventh-day Adventist Church under the direction of Arizona Young Adult Ministries Director Benjamin Lundquist hosted the event.
“Our goal was threefold,” explained Lundquist. “Young adult projects must meet a real need in the community, provide quality interchange between volunteers and guests, and give our young adult volunteers a specific opportunity to present the Gospel of Jesus and invite guests to respond. In summary — real needs, quality time, and a Gospel presentation.”
The 500 pairs of shoes were given to the children individually. During the foot washing time the volunteer would ask the child his/her name, what dreams that child had for his/her life, and would open up a conversation about Jesus. All volunteers had the chance to share the life-changing gospel of Jesus in a kid-packaged conversation inviting recipients to invite Jesus into their life.
Lundquist said, “Jesus was loving, compassionate, and personal. Washing the feet of children, giving them your undivided attention for 15 minutes, says to that child, ‘you are valued, you’re important to me, and God has a plan for your life.’”
Each child received a brand new pair of shoes which was extremely important in conveying to each child they are worthy of a brand new life in Jesus.
This was a “first” for many of the young adult volunteers who had never experienced such intimate contact with the community.
“It’s one thing to wash the feet of a fellow church member at a communion service,” said Lundquist, “but washing the feet of total strangers is a totally different experience! The foot washing gave moments of humble service where volunteers were literally kneeling before kids, getting down to their level, creating Jesus connections.”
During the project, which lasted approximately five hours, more than 100 young adults served an evening meal to more than 1,000 guests, shared live music through vocal and instrumental pieces, and interacted with guests table-by-table learning the names of the guests before the foot washing and shoe exchange began.
The Arizona young adults shared the project with the St. Vincent de Paul Community Center , the largest homeless shelter in Phoenix, Ariz. and Samaritan’s Feet , a non-profit organization that seeks to share the gospel of Jesus with people around the world through the ministry of foot washing and providing new shoes for those in need.
Cynthia Bach, supervisor for the St. Vincent De Paul Children’s Dream Center, told Lundquist, “I have been involved in community outreach for over 30 years and have never seen a project like this happen at any of our community shelters. What you guys have done is give the Gospel arms and legs to come to life for hundreds of children before their very eyes. I just love what your young adults have done. They serve like they are getting paid a million dollars each to be here, yet they are doing it absolutely for free!”
Arizona Conference President Tony Anobile attended and helped at the event. He said, “When I came down to St. Vincent’s to experience this project, I was completely blown away at the leadership and organizational skills demonstrated by our team of young adults. They were doing everything from serving the food to washing feet. After seeing this project, I’m convinced there is nothing our young adults are not capable of doing for Jesus!”
Camelback member Mason Aitken said, “This is one of the most impacting projects I have ever been a part of. I would not have missed this for anything in the world!”
One mother told Lundquist, “I have never seen volunteers share the love of Jesus in the way you guys have. I want to be part of a church like this!”
Lundquist believes at least 20 – 30 families will be visiting local churches based upon the conversations shared between guests and young adult volunteers.
On December 6th, Ariznona Young Adults will be sharing the gifts of clean feet, new shoes, and Jesus with another 500 kids from the Phoenix community.
Your financial partnership in helping us raise $7500, will share hope with a beautiful group of kids who just might grow up to change their world!