Revelations: Shoes, thank-yous for Barefoot Sunday

April 26, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 25, 2013 at 11:26 p.m.

It's an interesting season in my life.

My schedule is heavier than it's been in a while, and I feel like I'm getting ready for the horn to sound and my horse to dash out of the gate.

It's a great feeling to be working toward a dream, to feel busy and excited and encouraged about the future.

But it's also been humbling to feel the tired that goes along with the busyness.

One the projects that has kept me busy in recent weeks was Barefoot Sunday.

From radio promotions to billboard meetings, shoe pickups and event organization, Barefoot kept me busy this year.

What's wonderful about this year is that so many people jumped in and took over parts of it that I couldn't or didn't have time to handle.

It was hard letting some of the control go and relying on faith that God would take the project where it needed to go and serve the people it needed to serve.

Whenever I wanted to treat it like a game show with a winning prize at the end, I jumped back and forced myself to remember this isn't about me.

And this year, it really wasn't.

I was thankful to Faith Family Church's Dan Laughhunn and Mark Longoria for keeping this project going to the finish line. I was thankful to the Advocate for allowing me participate and thinking the project was worthy of coverage.

I was thankful to all the churches who opened their space to collect shoes for Barefoot.

And I was thankful to Bard Letsinger of Renegade Church, who told me not to stress when I called him worried we didn't collect any shoes.

"It will do what it's supposed to do, Jennifer," he said. "And if it's a loss this year, we'll come back stronger next year."

Bard and Renegade have hosted the event the first two years and went above and beyond with few resources to make sure those kids in Africa had shoes on their feet.

Renegade wasn't able to do it this year because they're in mid-construction, but it was nice to know Bard and Mark had a previous relationship of working together.

In a way the family wasn't changing, it was just getting bigger.

Even though my hands weren't all in the shoes this year, Barefoot was a huge success.

We collected more than 3,500 pairs of shoes, and 263 new pairs will be going to Kidz Connection. That means in three years, Victoria has collected more than 16,000 pairs of shoes for oversees.

So, thank you again for all your support and well wishes, your volunteer hours and prayer contributions. Thank you for caring and for doing something small that makes a huge impact on someone's life.

Here's to Barefoot Sunday 2014. We're one pair of shoes closer to shoeing a nation.

And as soon as I knock that dream off the list, I can move on to the next one.

Jennifer Preyss is the faith reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535, or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss.



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