We called it a foot care clinic. For months the idea of caring for their little feet swirled in my brian. My sister so wanted to make it a medical teaching moment and while that sounded good, we were unclear how the whole thing would go. We both liked the idea of teaching them the value of caring for their feet and giving each child a footcare kit to take home. As the trip drew nearer we began to price the nail clippers, files, etc that it would take to run the clinic and also create the kits. The costs were very prohibitive. We began to think we would wash the children’s feet but anything more would have to wait. Within two weeks of that conversation my sister called to announce that someone would be donating all the nail clippers we needed to make individual kits for the Chapa children. My sister created the kits and when they cleared customs we knew it was meant to be. Our team would create a simple footcare clinic and my amazing sister, Haven, would carefully and lovingly check each child’s feet for ulcers, chiggers or anything that might require medical attention.
It was a highlight for all who participated and I am not just speaking of the kids. Without a care in the world, the children were able to sit for a few minutes as we washed their little toes and ankles. We trimmed their nails and inspected every angle of their feet. Soon after we began washing, Tadesse had the bright idea to clean each of the children’s shoes. Watching him serve the children in such a way is still difficult for me to describe. His caring and his interest in their comfort was so beautiful. Many on our team were not so sure about washing feet but after watching Cheri and Haven, most took turns jumping right in. We even had the Ethiopian leaders and translators acting as faithful and loving servants of the children. It was a beautiful act of love, trust and faith. Most of the children would slump down in totally relaxation and giggle in delight. It seems that feet are ticklish no matter the country of origin.
As we celebrate this holy week I am reminded of Jesus and the washing of his disciples feet. Can you imagine the Messiah humbling himself to cleanse your feet? They must have watched with wonder as Jesus circled the room, kneeling down to perform that which was intended for the slave of the house. It is easy to assume that the idea of footcare for the children of Chapa surfaced as we asked what we would do as a team to love the children during our visit, but instead I believe God gave us the idea so that we might all experience the power of humbling ourselves as willing servants. It is human tendency to search for ways for others and sometimes even God to serve us. This is often the way of the world, yet Jesus gave us the perfect example of humility and generosity on the eve of his death and then the very next day would give us his life, carrying the cross and the sins of the world to his death. Jesus provided an example of long term benefit. Service to others lives on and on and can be given away over and over again whereas living to our own benefit in our own way only brings temporary contentment and joy.
As you view the images of washing the feet of the children of Chapa I hope you will consider the attitude of humility that Jesus had as he washed the filthy feet of his friends. Jesus did not impose his own conditions, instead he acted with teaching and love in mind. He acted as an example of pure love so that he might show how God the father loved him and tells us to love one another at all times. I’m grateful for the spiritual awareness mission trips often bring but ask yourself where you can wash the feet of another right here right now today. Where can we be the listening ear, perform a selfless act or give away something we might truly treasure during this week of miracles?Jesus died so that we might have life and every day that I seek him in all my actions it becomes abundantly clear that we must be willing to lose our life so that we can find it.
For I have shown you an example, that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:17
Happy Easter. He is Risen Indeed.