• Remove Your Shoes, Please!

Posted by: kidhelper on Thursday, October 4th, 2007


Our team (of three) was getting ready to embark on our Kid Mission to Pakistan. Our missions pastor arranged for us to be indoctrinated into some aspects of the Eastern culture to prepare us for our trip. So the day came, for the meeting and we showed up at the lady’s home. The other ladies had already arrived before me and were seated at the dining room table as I was greeted at the door and invited in. At the table she explained that we were going to talk awhile about Pakistani culture, then she arranged a tour of a Muslim Mosque. Afterwards, then we would visit a Middle-Eastern Market to gather some insights into the foods we might be eating in Pakistan.

“The first lesson,” she began, “is one that Barney failed upon entering my house.”

“Oh, what did I do?” I embarrassingly asked. “You failed to take off your shoes and leave them by the door with the others.” I looked at the door and there were numerous pairs of shoes in a pile by the front door. She continued. “When you go to Middle Eastern countries it is their custom to remove their shoes when entering their home. So you, Barney, will need to learn that.”

I was bothered that I hadn’t noticed the shoes by the door before then. Further, I was really bothered about failing a custom that I had not been instructed in. I was eager to learn, but somehow being the object of the lesson “up front” was awkward for me. However, I quickly apologized, we all laughed about it, and she continued the meeting. But I stayed at the table, and I did not take my shoes off.

A couple of days later, I was reflecting on this experience with my barber/hair dresser. I was pondering just why taking off my shoes seemed such a big deal to me. A moment of insight came when I blurted out, “it’s probably because my feet have never had a pedicure.” Ivette responded by telling me about her Christian friend Maria, who does pedicures. Ivette continued, “She is here today, I am sure she would be happy to make an appointment for you.” So when she was done with my hair, she took me into the backroom and introduced me to her friend Maria. I told her I was going on a mission trip to Pakistan in a week or so and could use my first pedicure. So she made an appointment for me to come in.

I arrived on following Saturday morning ready for a full treatment on my feet. She was very thorough and spent a good while working on my calloused-dry feet. She commented, “these feet needed some attention.” I thought, maybe this is why I am reluctant to take off my shoes.

Maria finally finished. I was admiring the good job she had done. I appreciated her thorough effort. After having put my socks and shoes back on, standing tall, I reached for my wallet, and said, “How much do I owe you?”

She quickly said, “There will be no charge.”

I was totally caught off guard by this unexpected response and said, “No, I am prepared to pay you. I made an appointment, you came in special just for me, you worked a good while, I want to pay you, how much?”

“No,” She repeated, “There will no charge!”

“But why,” I protested, “You don’t even know me. Why would you do this?”

“Well, my husband and I discussed this and we decided to make this our contribution for your mission trip to Pakistan.”

Still not accepting this generous gift, I protested again, “But why are your doing this?”

“Because the Bible says, ‘Beautiful are the feet of those that preach the gospel.’”

I had nothing to say to that, but “Thank you.”

I went to Pakistan with “beautiful feet!”

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