Elementary-age students take lesson to help others to heart

Davis Street Baptist group collecting shoes for orphans

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept 25, 2007 - The elementary-age children in Kris Millsap’s Wednesday night study group at Davis Street Baptist Church took to heart her term theme of “Making A Difference.”

Calling themselves "MAD for Jesus," the first through fifth grade students each month designate a project to help other children. Keeping in mind the lesson in which Millsap noted three ways to make a difference, they not only pray about their projects, but also are determined to live it and service others.

They’ve learned, both from their teacher and firsthand, how to make a difference for other less fortunate children, both first hand and from information their Bible study teacher has gleaned on line, in the community and from other sources.

Topics they’ve learned about and fed off of include a book drive for orphanages, and a girl’s drive to collect suitcases and duffles so that foster children like her friend won’t have to transport their belongings in trash bags. Using that information, they’ve come up with ideas of their own for other community outreach programs to be performed over the course of the next few months.

�They�re so excited. I�m so proud of them. We�re a small church so we�re enlisting the community�s help on this month�s project,� Millsap said.

She explained that her students are collecting new shoes, as well as $5 donations per pair of shoes to help cover distribution costs for missionaries to get the shoes to help children in orphanages served by Buckner International. The students are collecting the items for Shoes for Orphan Souls, started in 1995 as Shoes for Russian Souls, and changed to a worldwide outreach program in 1999.

Davis Street Baptist’s children have been collecting shoes during the month of September, and will wrap up their drive on Friday evening. The shoes will be taken to the “Soul-d Out!” a shoe drive hosted by 91.7 The Truth radio from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Shoes for Orphan Souls Distribution Center, located at 5405 Shoe Drive in Mesquite.

As of Sunday, the MAD for Jesus crew had collected more than 30 pairs of shoes in an effort to help a few of the 143 million orphans in the world. The students will be working Friday also to write personal “notes of love to the child or teenager that expresses their love for God and the reason they gave,” as requested by Shoes for Orphan Souls “Soul-d Out!” organizers.

�They have to be new shoes,�� Millsap explained. "I think it�s because the health department won�t let them take used shoes."

Some of the children are also hoping to be able to go to the Saturday event to drop off the shoes and see how their contributions, when added to  others, can make a big difference for a child who may not have decent footwear — if any at all.

New shoes and money may be donated to the children’s shoe drive during the day through Friday at the church, located at 427 Gilmer St. next to Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home. For more information call the church 903-885-5991.

After learning of the shoe drive and it’s purpose recently, a local couple not affiliated with Davis Street Baptist Church has also taken up the cause and are stockpiling shoes to drop off at Shoes for Orphaned Souls. Rick and Marshelle Avent will continue to take any shoe donations and will even pick up shoes through 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

�They can call any time and we�ll come get them up until about 9 Saturday morning,� Rick Avent said. �That should give us time to pick them up if it's here in town or nearby and still get them loaded up and out on time.�

To donate shoes to the Avents, call 903-348-9523 or 903-383-5010.

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