LFS Introduces…the Collie Family & Samaritan’s Feet

Please introduce yourselves, and tell us about what you are doing in South Africa just now?

Hi! We’re Mark and Caroline Collie. Mark is originally from Welkom, a wee town in South Africa, and I (Caroline) am originally from Washington, North Carolina, in the States. The story of how we ended up together (including how we met in Scotland) is very lovely but also very long so perhaps I’ll save it for another post! We are currently in South Africa working for a missions organisation called Samaritan’s Feet. Their lovely story is also quite long, but you can check it out here.

We share the Gospel by giving shoes to children and adults who need them. We measure them up for the right size shoes, wash their feet, tell them about Jesus, and bless them with a new pair of socks and shoes. We get local churches and other organisations involved to help make this happen.

What inspired you to work with Samaritan’s Feet and how did you get involved with them?

For a while we’d felt like the Lord was leading us to a new country for a season, perhaps before settling down in the States. After the birth of our first child (while we were still in Scotland) we began considering moving to South Africa for a season, to be closer to Mark’s parents and to serve the Lord in poorer areas, because His Word so often encourages us towards that. We began looking for missions organisations and through another long and lovely story got connected with Samaritan’s Feet. They’ve been hoping to give away 100,000 pairs of shoes in the cities in SA where the World Cup is being hosted this year. And for people who live in impoverished areas, a pair of shoes can change a life.

A person with HIV can die simply from getting a cut on their foot while walking along the road. With poor sanitation in some areas, shoes are really a very significant thing to have. Using a pair of shoes as an instrument to bless people, and meet a very practical need while sharing with them about the Lord is exciting for us.

What is 2010 shaping up to look like for your work with Samaritan’s Feet?

We’re going to be partnering with local churches and organisations like YWAM to make distributions happen around the country this year. We are currently working on setting SF up as a trust so that we can import shoes without paying duties. (K-mart recently donated a million pairs of shoes to SF in the States, so they’re waiting for us there!)

What is your favourite thing about the work you are doing?

I (Caroline) really love being a blessing to people, especially children. It warms my heart and feels like we’re doing what the Lord told us to do. We’re only just getting started, preparing for the distributions to kick off, so we’ll probably have more to say to that question soon!

What is the most challenging thing about the work you are doing?

Right now, it is #1, being away from family (for Caroline) and #2 continually trusting the Lord for financial provision. As is the case with a lot of charitable work, money is a challenge.

Who do you have supporting you? How do they support you?

We have a team of folks back in the States, and a few folks in other parts of the world (Canada, the UK, and South Africa) who make regular contributions to support our ministry with Samaritan’s Feet. For example, they might send $100/month to SF to support our ministry here. We are incredibly blessed to have this team of folks behind us. They are such an encouragement, genuinely just great, great people, and we couldn’t be here ministering without them!

Do you partner with any other organisations?

As mentioned above, we’re looking forward to working with YWAM this summer. Other groups may send missions teams our way, and we partner with some humanitarian aid projects in the north of South Africa as well. We also look forward to connecting with lots of local churches throughout the country to make the distributions happen!

What piece of advice would you give to anyone that are thinking about doing mission/charity work overseas?

Get grounded in God. The faith you build at home will help you through the tough seasons when you’re sent out. Learn to deeply ground your trust in God. Find wise mentors to counsel you through the sending process. (We’d probably add this opinion: that you should make sure you’re well funded before you go, and take the time to raise a full support team. This is of course subject to the Lord’s leading! If He says go, then go!)

How can others engage with you and support you in the work you are doing with Samaritan’s Feet?

You can leave a comment anywhere on www.carolinecollie.com if you’re interested in getting in touch with us. You can also follow our story there, and find details about partnering with us if you click the “How you can help” tab!

We would love to share more with anyone about what we’re doing in SA and invite others to be a part of it!

If people would like to pray for you, what would you have them talk to God about on your behalf?

As you may have guessed, additional finances, and new partners joining our team is a big prayer request at the moment! However, we really desire a deeper intimacy with God…just to continue to know Him more and more, and to follow Him closely as we aim to do His will here.

Thank you so much for sharing with us! The work you are doing is really exciting and dare I say, a little bit different (I’m thinking about the feet washing thing here… 😉 ).

If you would like to find out more about Samaritan’s Feet you can go to their website here. You can also check out Caroline’s blog From Africa, With Love on www.carolinecollie.com


8 Responses to “LFS Introduces…the Collie Family & Samaritan’s Feet”

  1. 1 Laura Anne February 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I have a question…How did you guys go about raising support? What was involved in doing this?

  2. 2 David February 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    It’s always great to “meet” people who are on the ground working for all these amazing mission organisations! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  3. 3 alece February 25, 2010 at 1:27 am

    i understand about being far from loved ones and the challenges of fundraising… and even the complexities of a cross-cultural marriage. praying for you tonight.

  4. 4 Lisa February 25, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Hi Mark and Caroline! I love the sound of what you’re doing! I often feel similar “pullings” towards being on the ground helping people (for some reason, somewhere in Africa), and I think it’s awesome that you’re actually doing it, and I think a huge blessing for you too to be able to go out there and help people (as well as for those you are ministering to). You may not know where the money is coming from (I know the feeling – we’re from Scotland and my husband is doing a masters in theology in Canada, which is rather expensive…) but one thing we have learned is that God WILL provide, in wonderful and surprising ways! It’s just hard not to be in control and to be patient… 🙂 Praying for continued blessing for you guys, for God’s provision for you and that you will be used by Him to bless many, many people. Much love.

  5. 5 Caroline Collie February 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Hi guys! Thanks so much for your prayers. Seriously, we had our toughest week here this past week, so the timing could not have been better. The Lord is seeing us through!

    @Laura Anne, I’m sorry I’m just now answering your question! Blame our heckuva week! I first raised a small partnership team when I moved to Scotland as a member of a church plant team in 2005 (Incidentally, Lisa, I also got a Masters in Theology there at Edinburgh Uni!) That fundraising involved meeting with people one on one, sharing the vision of ministering in Scotland, and asking them to consider partnering with me financially to make it possible. I felt like the Lord was saying He’d rather me spend time with people one on one than pour coffee at Starbucks, and that provision enabled me to do just that. I look back and see fruit and am thankful.

    We returned to the US and met with more folks when Mark was asked to come onto the church staff team in Edinburgh, and although visa situations sent us back to the UK with only about 60% of full support, God saw us through and Mark picked up additional work to make up the difference. Most of those ministry partners have stayed on with us and we gained one or two more before our move here. They generally give on a monthly basis, and we send newsletters each month to let them know what’s happening. We are so thankful to have such an amazing group of folks behind us! (If you want to receive our email newsletters, let me know!)

    Hope that answers your question fairly well! Thank you guys so much for the prayers and encouragement!

  1. 1 How’s Ministry? with LFS Trackback on February 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm
  2. 2 What a difference a week can make… « Learning from Sophie Trackback on April 17, 2010 at 11:45 am
  3. 3 A Week of Thanksgiving: The Happy Bus (at CarolineCollie.com) « Trackback on November 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

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