Step Into My Shoes
What does it mean to ‘step into someone else’s shoes’? We’ll be asking this very question at Kids Church during Term 3. We’ll be watching video clips of a family living in Uganda to see what life is like for them. And as Pastor Tom and his wife and 12 children show us where they live, how they collect and prepare their food and water, what their church is like, what they like to do for fun, our children in Australia will ‘step into their shoes’ just for a moment.
Our kids will see many differences between life in Uganda and life in Australia. The children in Pastor Tom’s family walk to a well to collect water for the family. The water needs to be boiled before drinking so that they don’t get sick. They have no electricity so everything they eat is cooked over a fire. Meals take a long time to prepare. Their homes are made up of a group of small huts, mostly with dirt floors, mud walls and thatched roofs. They sleep under malaria nets so that they don’t get bitten and infected.
It’s our hope that the videos will spark lots of thoughtful conversations between our children and leaders, around questions such as ‘Do you ever worry that your water will make you sick?’ ‘If you had to spend time every day collecting water, what might you have to give up doing during that time?’ ‘Can you imagine being scared of something as small as a mosquito?’
Our kids will also see a lot of similarities between the children in Uganda and themselves. The kids in Uganda like to play soccer and netball. They sing and dance and play with their brothers and sisters. They go to church with their family and friends.
We will discover that just as we are all different, we are also all the same. And although we are a long, long way from Uganda or Cambodia or Vietnam or Papua New Guinea, we are all called to love each other.
A key Scripture for this series is Matthew 22:37-39 “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus tells us to love and care for others, just as we love and care for ourselves.
Pastor Tom and his family speak of having ‘enough’. They have enough food, water and safety, and from what they have, they give to those around them who do not have enough. As part of this discussion, we will spend time unpacking big concepts of poverty, injustice and what God wants us to do about these issues. Rather than leaving our kids feeling disheartened or helpless we want to empower them by giving them ways to respond to injustices in the world.
That is why throughout Term 3 our children will also be involved in practically loving others by preparing and packing gift filled shoeboxes for children living in poverty through the Operation Christmas Child appeal. Donations of clothing, toys, school supplies, toiletries and cuddly toys will be accepted during July and August and our children will pack the shoeboxes on Sunday 10th of September. More details to come in The Quarterly.
It’s our prayer that through the ‘Step Into My Shoes’ series and their involvement in Operation Christmas Child, our children’s hearts will be stirred and filled with great compassion and love for others. And their desire to share the good news of God’s love with others would grow, along with a sense of God’s great love for them.