There was a war in the Republic of Congo where I was living, so my brothers, my Grandma, myself, and a few others moved to Burundi. My Grandma was not able to take care of us financially and I didn’t know where my mom was at that time. But there was a man who started an orphanage for other kids, orphans, and refugees. I became part of their orphanage and was lucky and blessed to be a part it.

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One day we heard that there was a special group from America coming that would be distributing shoes. I didn’t know who they were and had never heard about them before. I think it was a Sunday when they brought a bunch of shoes, like bags full of them. It was exciting and I thought “who are these people?”

I was standing beside Manny translating what he was saying to the group and I remember he told us his story about when he got his first pair of shoes and his mom said “look above the trees, look above the birds, and above the skies, your dreams are up there.”

I watched the Samaritan’s Feet team get back on their bus, and I was like, this is the last time I’m going to see these people. It’s strange, but I eventually cried. Even after they left, they stuck with me, so I prayed for them. I had a picture with one team member, and I would look at the picture and feel the presence of the group. They were like family to me.

It’s been over five years since that experience, but it’s still in me like it was yesterday. I want to see what’s “above the trees” just like Manny’s mom told him. So I try to look beyond the shoes and see what’s driving them. What are people dreaming of? What are people working towards?

If I’m making the right decisions and taking the right path to my future and in my life in general, it’s because of Samaritan’s Feet. Samaritan’s Feet played a big role in where my life is today. I was blessed to move to the United States in hopes of getting an education in international relations. Samaritan’s Feet really made me the person I am today. So thank you Samaritan’s Feet for giving me hope.

Watch a Video

Check out this video where we interview John about his story at our Barefoot Gala.