I was in Bogota, Colombia, rushing around to get what I needed for a full day of wheelchair distributions. The airlines had just delivered my lost piece of luggage, and inside I found a forgotten, tied-up grocery bag. A couple pairs of children’s shoes. It had been days since we dropped off our delivery of children’s clothes at the orphanage. What to do with these? Without an answer, I stuffed the bag into my backpack.
A few hours later I met Julia. Just fourteen, she is deaf, blind, and has cerebral palsy. She has been carried all her life. Julia has experienced her entire world through what she could feel, taste and smell.
Her mother, Maritca, gave her constant communication and encouragement through hugs, kisses, strokes of her hair. We placed Julia in our wheelchair and she came alive with joy. She found the wheels all by herself, and when she pulled them toward her, she moved. She felt motion. She smiled, and I have to believe she smiled because she felt comfortable and secure. I reached out and took hold of her hand. Julia could tell that it was a new hand, a stranger’s fingers, yet she seemed to take comfort in my coarse clumsy grasp. We held hands a long time.
Her shoe fell off so I went to work to replace it, a very tight fit. I noticed a red mark on her sock. I asked her mom about it and she showed me that under the sock was an open sore. Her shoes were way too tight.
I remembered the bag of shoes stuffed into my backpack, and ran out to the car to get them. One pair of shoes and one pair of slippers, both perfect fits for Julia!
Most of the time I don’t even try to follow the complicated paths God puts before us to accomplish these important tasks. But, today even I could see God’s plan, and along the way I got to hold hands with an angel.