A major part of every believer’s calling in our life with Christ is making an effort to meet the needs of our communities in real and tangible ways. I had felt for some time that this was missing in my own life and I could see nothing within reach to fill that void. Then I heard about God In Shoes. As I listened to Sue Carlson share what was happening in the Kansas-Nebraska Conference (see p. 6) it was like a zap of electricity jolted through me. This was exactly what I’d been looking for! And I quickly found that many others in my conference felt the same.
After several years of visioning and planning, the dream of God In Shoes in Minnesota was realized on a Sunday afternoon in January. A group of 14 volunteers from around Minnesota set up a spa day experience for residents of a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and staff members. We offered mini pedicures, facials, mini manicures, massages by a professional massage therapist, a spa bag, a pair of new shoes and a rose. We could not have anticipated how meaningful the services would be. Even the simple act of offering a rose brought tears to the eyes of many recipients.
For myself, the most powerful moments happened when we could reach out and touch the participants. To be allowed to offer gentle, healing, skin on skin contact with another person is a gift. It changes both the one serving and the one being served.
Communication opens up in those moments; things are shared that never would be in a less intimate setting. And then barriers are diminished and true service can happen. Prayers are offered with hands clasped together. Tears are shared. And, for at least a moment, human beings feel how much they matter, that they are loved and valued—no strings attached.
Kristin Breiner is Women’s Ministries coordinator for the Minnesota conference.