Start with "Yes!"
The problems in the West African nation of Benin seem basic, obvious. People in rural communities are difficult to reach, not just with the gospel but with most kinds of help. Children walk long distances barefoot to school over rough paths that cut their feet, leading to infection. Few people, even teams of believers, visit rural areas. How would you, logistically, reach every person in rural Benin? And, once you get there, how do you demonstrate the love of Jesus in a way that rings true? The world is full of overwhelming situations and problems that become more complex the longer you look at them. What can one person do?
When Diane Studer, who now serves on Every Home for Christ’s board, left for a mission trip to Ethiopia fifteen years ago, she felt that God was preparing her heart for something.
“We were ministering in a rural village,” Diane recalls. “A local pastor invited us into his home for a time of prayer. During this time the Lord gave me a vision and a calling unlike anything I’d experienced before.”
Diane describes a profound experience where God “downloaded” the mission of Soles For Jesus, a Christian nonprofit working primarily with Every Home to share the gospel along with new and gently used shoes to communities in need.
“I could see the map of Africa with a fire that started in Ethiopia and spread through the continent of Africa,” Diane says. “I could see myself and some friends washing feet and sharing shoes as a tool for sharing the gospel.”
For Diane, the gospel is the critical piece. “I never would have given my life to this just from seeing the need for shoes,” she says. “I saw the need. But this really was a response of obedience. I felt the Lord asking me to do this.”
The launch of Soles For Jesus, however, was not without obstacles.
Diane had a job in finance and was raising small children. She and her family made great sacrifices to be obedient to God’s call. And God had not simply assigned Diane the task of distributing shoes; he had called Diane to share the gospel through shoes. Diane needed a partner who shared her non-negotiable commitment to the gospel and had a local network in Africa. That’s where Every Home comes in.
When Diane was a little girl, her parents supported the work of Every Home. Diane remembers leafing through newsletters on their coffee table. Knowing Every Home’s passion for reaching every person with the love of Jesus, Diane emailed the African continental director. It was a bold decision, and the beginning of a long partnership.
In addition to working with Every Home to share the gospel and approximately 96,000 pairs of shoes per year with people in need, Diane serves on Every Home’s board.
In Benin alone, Soles For Jesus and Every Home have shared the love of Jesus through the gift of over 170,000 pairs of shoes since 2018, opening a unique door for people to encounter Christ.
Diane’s story is like many happening all over the world. For 77 years, Every Home has been finding, equipping, and supporting believers as they say “yes” to God’s gospel call on their lives. Every Home, at its core, is hundreds of thousands of believers like Diane and like you saying “yes.”
Diane’s journey of “yes” started small. “I got so sick of myself making excuses,” she says. “I was driving home from Bible study one night and said, ‘As long as I know that it’s you, God, I’m going to start saying yes.’ And he’s so gentle… If you truly love Jesus and get to know his heart, you can trust him and what he’s asking you to do. If your Christian walk is boring, just start saying “yes” to the crazy little and big things he asks you to do.”
When you give, you participate in the life-transforming, world-changing work of the gospel and equip other believers to say “yes” too!
Will you say “yes” today to carrying Christ to everyone, everywhere?