By JILL SCHRAMM
Boxes of shoes are stacked in the Orphan Grain Train kitchen trailer, which will be transported to Texas this week. The shoes will be distributed in Mexico by an Our Savior Lutheran mission team in Feburary.
Poverty is common in residential neighborhoods like this one, shown in the Juarez, Mexico, area, in 2011.
Members of the March 2011 mission team from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot stand with local children outside a completed house built for a resident of the Juarez, Mexico, area. Submitted
A kitchen trailer carrying 1,300 pairs of shoes and several crib mattresses leaves Hope Village for Texas this week, preceding a local mission team that will distribute the items to an impoverished Mexican community in February.
This is the third time that Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot has sent a team to Juarez, Mexico. During their upcoming mission trip from Feb. 23 to March 2, they will be conducting a clinic to provide free shoes to as many as 700 to 900 people, mostly children.
The church has been collecting donations of new and slightly used shoes for some time. Little Hands, Loving Hearts Child Development Center, located at Our Savior, donated the crib mattresses that also will be given away.
"It's part of the DNA of the members of Our Savior Lutheran Church to reach out beyond our own four walls. This is just another way, in addition to Hope Village, to meet the needs of people," said the Rev. Paul Krueger with Our Savior.
The kitchen trailer, belonging to Orphan Grain Train, will be refurbished for use in future disasters once it reaches its Texas destination.
Hope Village won't be without a kitchen when it re-opens its village in the spring, though. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod International Office of Missions provided a $48,500 grant to buy a new kitchen trailer. Another foundation grant that is expected to cover the supplies and a new refrigeration unit is pending.
When Hope Village's role in Minot's flood recovery eventually is achieved, the kitchen trailer will be available to respond to other disasters in the region, Krueger said. The bunk trailers, shower and bathroom facilities also will be used in future disaster response in the region.
Wayne Johnson, a leader for the mission team headed to Mexico, said eight to 10 people are expected to make the trip. They will travel to the border town of El Paso, Texas, to partner with Ysleta Lutheran Mission for gospel outreach and service to the impoverished people of the greater Juarez, Mexico, area.
Working in cooperation with a Lutheran church in Mexico, they will be building a 12-feet by 24-feet structure to serve as a home for a local family as well as conducting the shoe clinic.
Families often cannot afford shoes, and the children typically go without. The shoes being provided through the clinic will likely be the only pair the new wearers will have for the year.
A previous Our Savior team had put on a shoe clinic that drew hundreds of people, Johnson said. About 200 people were in the line when the clinic opened the first day, he said. Only a few people had to be turned away due to lack of the right size shoe, but they were pleased to receive the dental supplies that team members also were giving out.
Johnson said it's not just the shoes but the chance to socialize that brings the people to the clinic. Team members enjoy visiting with the people and playing games with the children, but they also feel good about their role in a mission to make life a little better for someone else.
"It's pretty gratifying," Johnson said. "I sure enjoy it. It's quite an experience."