Home | BGAV Blog | Janet Hilliard: Back2School Ministry Reaches More Than 2,500 Students in Southside Virginia

Janet Hilliard: Back2School Ministry Reaches More Than 2,500 Students in Southside Virginia

Posted: 9/7/17 at 1:20pm. Post by Janet Hilliard.

Saturday, August 5, was a beautiful, sky-blue day with a wonderful breeze—a perfect day for ministry. After a time of prayer and thanksgiving for the stacks of backpacks, shoes, and socks, our volunteers were ready to be a blessing to children who were returning to school. Soon, the hallways and classrooms of Moffett Memorial Baptist Church, Danville, were filled with the laughter of excited school children, thankful parents/guardians, and the prayerful voices of the many volunteers who took part in our first Back2School backpack and shoe giveaway event. We have given away backpacks and school supplies in the past, and we have an active clothes closet ministry, but August 5 was amazing! For the first time in anyone’s memory, feet got washed in our Baptist church—almost 300 pairs of feet—lovingly washed and tenderly dried by church people serving as the hands and feet of Christ. We also discovered the miraculous power of $20.

Back2School is a ministry that began 12 years ago at Community Fellowship Church in Martinsville, Virginia, under the direction of Pastor Michael Harrison. During these years, in partnership with Samaritan’s Feet, the Back2School ministry has served about 10,000 children and their families in the Martinsville, Henry County, Danville area. Each pre-registered child hears “Manny’s Story” and receives a backpack with grade-appropriate school supplies, a new pair of shoes and socks, and a Bible. Volunteers wash each child’s feet and help him or her put on their new shoes and socks and then has prayer with each individual based on their expressed concerns. We do all of this for $20 per child, given by donors—a modern-day miracle!

Samaritan’s Feet was founded by Emmanuel Ohonme who was born in Nigeria over 30 years ago and who never had a pair of shoes until he was nine years old. Manny’s story inspires listeners as they learn about his mother, who was the only Christian in their village, and her struggle to raise her family of five girls and three boys. Missionary Dave came from America and changed Manny’s life by giving him a pair of basketball shoes and helping him to rededicate his life to follow God’s leadership.

Manny grew to be six foot five and was a gifted basketball player. A coach helped him to get a scholarship to play basketball in the U.S. and get a college education. After earning a master’s degree in marketing, Manny was able to become a successful businessman who was able to afford a beautiful home, nice cars, and lots of shoes. He and his wife, Tracie, were blessed with four children and were living the American dream, but they felt that God wanted more from them.

Upon returning home to Nigeria in 1997 to attend his father’s funeral, Manny saw that the living conditions in his village had not changed much since he was a boy. He felt God calling him to help the many hopeless, shoeless children in his country and around the world. In 2003, Samaritan’s Feet began giving away shoes, and since that time, 65 million pairs of shoes have been given to people in 88 countries and 325 U.S. cities.

And even though all our shoes and backpacks have been distributed, our $20 is still working to meet the needs of people in third world countries where contaminated soil is the cause of many parasitic diseases for people without shoes. World Shoes is another ministry of Samaritan’s Feet, and $3 of each $20 gift goes to this cause. These shoes are designed to protect against these diseases and to help infected feet to heal—the miraculous power of $20!

Our church and the many other volunteers that helped us are grateful to Russell Scruggs and the members of our missions team and to our pastors, Jonathan Hilliard and Hannah Taylor, for leading us to take part in this amazing ministry. Moffett was one of nine locations in the Martinsville, Henry County, Danville area involved in the Back2School ministry that served more than 2,500 students and their families on August 5.

Saturday, August 5, was a beautiful sky-blue day with a wonderful breeze, a perfect day for ministry. We were prepared to be a blessing, but we were overwhelmed at how much we were blessed. It was such an amazing day that we are already planning for next year. The Holy Spirit breezed into Moffett Memorial Baptist Church and used soap and water and little children in need of school supplies, backpacks, shoes, and socks to challenge and change us, and with God’s help, we will never be the same!

Janet Hilliard serves on the BGAV Mission Council and is a member of Moffett Memorial Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia.