“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” -1 John 3:17-18
Our opportunity to bless others is often right in front of us. Deborah Hausladen of Malvern, Pennsylvania was not looking for an opportunity to start a ministry that blessed our soldiers around the world, but when she took a phone call from her son, who was deployed with the United States Army in Afghanistan, Deborah knew that she needed to do a little work to help.
At the end of a brief phone call from her son, Deborah was asked if she could send him a new pair of tennis shoes. She was surprised at his request, but she agreed to help. Deborah then asked if any other soldiers in his unit needed new shoes. Her son said they did because they were not issued by the U.S. Army.
Deborah went to work quickly. Within one week she had started a local mission, Sneakers for Soldiers. She started by first purchasing shoes with her own money and soon she involved her church and other local businesses. She has now been sending shoes to active duty personal in Afghanistan since 2018. They have sent well over 200 pairs of shoes to soldiers in need.
The volunteers at Sneakers for Soldiers often hear back from those who have received new shoes. The soldiers express how thankful they are for the gift of new shoes. They also tell of how grateful they are that people care and have not forgotten about them.
When Deborah Hausladen answered the phone that day she knew she would be blessed by hearing her son’s voice. She did not know that an opportunity to be a blessing would be on the other side of the phone. When that opportunity presented itself, Deborah began the work of meeting a need on the other side of the world.
Each day we are faced with the needs of others. Deborah Hausladen’s generous actions remind us that we have the ability and the calling to care for our brothers and sisters in their needs. We can bless others if we only look for the opportunities to serve in our midst, and when we find the opportunity, we are called to use our gifts to share God’s love and bring hope to all.
Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship