The majority of children we rescue and especially those at risk – have no shoes. I began to notice this as I was about to enter a garbage dump where many children live, children who are at high risk to be forced into the sex trade. I then noticed that some of the children (if they had any shoes) simply wore an old, worn out pair of sandals. As I laid in a nice comfortable bed one night in mid-July in Cambodia, I wondered what it would be like to go for 30 days in just sandals. I just bought a pair on one of my trips to SE Asia, because I constantly had to take my shoes on and off each time I entered a building. It was very difficult getting used to the sandals. I’m just not a sandals kind of guy.
The more I reflected on it, the more I thought it would give me an opportunity to join in solidarity with the children we rescue and in some small way identify with them. On July 20th (101 days ago) it was my first full day of wearing sandals. When I first started, I did not tell anyone what I was doing. When I got home, I shared it with Gail (my wonderful wife). The 30 days shouldn’t be too difficult and it passed with just a little discomfort, especially when going out.
FROM 30 DAYS to ONE YEAR
As the 30th day approached I thought that would be it, but again, one night I felt God speaking to me and saying; “Don’t stop.” I then made a huge decision. I decided I would go for one full year without shoes. I would wear only sandals for 365 days. In business meetings, when I speak to groups, churches, even on Sunday mornings. When I told Gail what I decided she said; “Uh, Jeff, do you remember that you live in Colorado? What about the winters?”
I actually thought quite a bit about that before I made a final decision. I knew it would be hard (and sometimes a little painful), but I decided I would not compromise. No shoes. Just sandals. 365 days. Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall. I thought about why I was doing this and remembered, the children I was doing this for had no choices. I had the luxury of one choice. Just sandals for one full year.
I WON’T GET COLD FEET – BUT MY FEET WILL GET COLD!
A few days ago, I went outside and it was about 23°. My feet were freezing. I thought; “Omigosh! It’s not even winter! I hope I didn’t bite off more than I could chew!” My grandson Izac asked me; “Papa, why don’t you wear socks when it’s cold?” I said; “Izac, the children I’m trying to rescue cannot change their situation, so neither will I. This is a way for me to identify with them.”
Those who know me, know that when I make a decision to be all in – there’s no compromise. No shoes. No socks. Just sandals. They’re my Sandals For JOY. They have become a daily reminder to me of what I live for. To follow the call God has placed on my life to rescue children who are forced into the child sex trade. And most of those children have no shoes or just a worn out pair of sandals. Like I said above, it’s my way of joining in solidarity with these children and in a small way, identifying with them and reminding me daily, that there are many child sex slaves – who still need to be set free. So, I will continue wearing my Sandals for JOY until July 21, 2011.
Each one of us needs to be reminded daily that as we live and breathe, there are children being held as slaves and forced into the sex trade. It is without question THE worst atrocity being perpetrated against children on earth today and we must be willing to do whatever it takes to set them free. If my wearing sandals for one year motivates just one more person to action and causes another one to get involved in this fight, then any pain or suffering I might experience (especially during the winters in Colorado) will be turned to JOY.
It takes less than a minute to put your shoes on each morning. When you do, if you’re reminded of what Dr. Jeff Brodsky has chosen to do in wearing my Sandals for JOY – I ask you to use that minute to pray for me and especially the work we do at JOY International to set children free.
“No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” ~ Albert Einstein (1879-1955)