By Ashtyn Ray, Student, Valdosta State University
“Choose Hope. Take Action. Change Lives.” That’s the motto the Valdosta State University Wesley Foundation recently chose to embody through its partnership with Sole Hope, an organization that works in Ugandan villages.
Students from the VSU Wesley Foundation recently worked with Sole Hope to transform one of their worship services into a night of shoe-making. Altogether, they were able to make 50 pairs of shoes for the vulnerable populations of Uganda.
“Mission is one of our five core values at Wesley,” said Rev. CJ Harp, Director of the VSU Wesley Foundation. “By mission, we mean helping students understand the story of God and their place in that story. We bear witness as the children of God by meeting the needs of others and alleviating suffering. I can preach that message countless times but allowing the students to do it during the message brings it to life like nothing else.”
VSU Wesley’s Bless the Blazers team, a group of student leaders whose goal is to bless other organizations on their college campus, worked to help plan the special night.
“Bless the Blazers is a team filled with spirit led students,” said Stephanie Lopez, student at VSU and Bless the Blazer team member. “Matthew 7:15-20 says that we should be people with a purpose who produce fruit and that people will know us by that fruit. In our case, that is by showing others the love of Christ. By helping others on our campus and even worldwide, we are living out that scripture.”
The Bless the Blazer team collected denim and prepared the templates that would be needed. After worship and some time in prayer, team members presented educational material about the needs in Uganda to attendants of Wesley. They then used the “message” portion of the service to trace and cut out the shapes that will later make each pair of shoes. This experience gave all of the students involved in Wesley the opportunity to take part in a global mission that will make a difference in countless lives.
“I thought that it was such a beautiful thing,” said Erin Griner, VSU student who participated in this special evening. “It was so much more than just cutting up jeans. It was really serving the Lord. It was fun, and knowing that it will make a big impact on other people's lives made it even better.”
Sole Hope is an organization that works to provide healthcare, education, and shoes to those in Uganda affected by a parasite called Jiggers. Jiggers infest the feet making it hard to provide for their families, go to school, and even to walk. Sole Hope sends teams into these communities, provides needed medical care, and then sets up long-term solutions. They do so by providing clean water, shoes, education, and wound care kits to the people of the villages. They give the people hope that puts families and communities back together again.
VSU Wesley was excited to have the opportunity to help aid in this life-changing work. To find out more about Sole Hope, visit https://solehope.org/. To learn more about the ministry of VSU Wesley and partner with them, visithttps://vsuwesley.com/.
Ashtyn Ray is a Junior at Valdosta State University majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is from Glennville, Ga. and is part of the VSU Wesley LEAD team.