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I Like Shoes to Africa.
Submitted by A Friend of SFJ (Milwaukee, WI)
One woman's trip to Africa & her commitment to protect the feet of the under-served
When Diane Studer went on her first trip to Africa in October 2009, she had no idea how quickly her life would change upon her return. She took off of work and kissed her family good-bye, like the others on her mission team did, and hopped on a plane to Ethiopia. As her team worked in the capital city and nearby villages, she noticed the children walking around city streets and garbage dumps without shoes. Each day they lived without shoes, these children risked injury and infection, and they were not allowed to attend school. They often asked team members for their shoes, aware of their own need for this expensive item.
One day during the trip, Diane was standing in the hut of a village pastor who was praying over her, when she had a vision to provide shoes for the children of Ethiopia, and then expand to other countries. These shoes would come from people in the U.S. who have more than enough and be sent to rural, shoe-less villages. This organization would be called Soles For Jesus.
As soon as Diane returned home, she began sharing the vision of Soles For Jesus with others and received donated warehouse and office space. This allowed SFJ to be up and running just weeks after the return of her trip! Diane resigned from her full time job, a board of directors was formed, and volunteers began sorting and packing shoes for Africa. The website went live in December of 2009 (2 month after her trip!), and immediately emails, shoes and donations arrived from across the country. SFJ became an official 501c3 in January, 2010.
Every day Soles For Jesus receives stories of lives that are affected, here in the U.S. and across the world, in Africa. Photos and reports from Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Burundi, and many more countries, are continual reminders of the impact of this mission. Since Diane started Soles For Jesus, strong partnerships in Africa have been formed, over 90,000 shoes have been sent to Africa, and thousands of lives have been changed.
I like sending shoes to Africa through Soles For Jesus.