Samaritan’s Feet Travelogue: Peru
“Why Every American Should Leave the Country”
By Tracey Stipp, Samaritan’s Feet Marketing Volunteer
I just returned from a Shoes of Hope mission trip to Peru with Samaritan’s Feet. How does a visit to a sprawling urban city surrounded by unimaginable poverty leave you with a lasting impact? Poverty, homelessness, orphans, social injustice – can we as Americans not find enough of that in our own country to work on? Yes, but not only is the scale of poverty and despair in Lima different than the U.S., but the opportunities for help and aid are much fewer and far between.
A mission trip with Samaritan’s Feet offers help and hope to some of the most overlooked people in the world. Our shoe distributions took place at an orphanage and two slums located on the far reaches of the center of Lima. A dust infested collection of shanty houses located next to a huge mound of dirt and garbage gives overwhelming perspective to the typical American neighborhood. The majority of Americans are blessed beyond belief, and they do not even know it. Washing the feet of an impoverished child, giving them not only new shoes, but the gift of a hug and a loving human touch, may change a life more than you will ever know.
When American citizens leave behind the borders of our country, all convenient props are pulled away. The food is different, the housing is different, the smells are different, the air is different. How big does your God become when all familiar things are torn down? As a wise teammate said in Peru, “If you are comfortable in your walk with God, then you need to MOVE!”
It may stretch you to wash the dirty feet of someone you do not even know. It may be inconvenient to brush your teeth with bottled water. It may not be fun to eat a diet less varied than what our broad American palates are used to eating. If that is all there is to it, then why should every American find an opportunity to leave the country? In the words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” What blessings of lasting impact does God have in store for you? If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, what does He have for you to gain that you cannot lose?
My trip to Peru with Samaritan’s Feet changed my life forever. How about giving God the chance to change yours?