rebelling against low expectations

Jaime Colman: Shoes for Karogoto


In December, Brett and I were invited to attend a White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives round table discussion of young social entrepreneurs. The Rebelution was well-represented. Zach Hunter (our host), Conner Cress, and Jack and Leeland Mooring were all panelists. But what was even more exciting was to hear the stories of other teens, like them, who God is using to bring hope to a hurting world.

“Walk Humbly with Your God”


One of the young people we met was 17-year-old Jaime Colman from Pennsylvania. In 2007 her church partnered with 410 Bridge, a missions organization that uses humanitarian projects to share the gospel and meet the needs of rural Kenyan communities. After the church decided to adopt the town of Karogoto, Jaime found about a pressing need for something that most of us take for granted: shoes.

Jaime figured that her family wasn’t the only one with shoes in the closet that they didn’t need or never wore. She called her project Walk Humbly, based off Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

“God Could Make it Happen”

She set a goal to collect 150 pairs of shoes. Her plan was to kick off the drive with a “Barefoot Mile” at her high school’s track. People would come, donate shoes, and walk four laps around the track barefoot. Some adults were skeptical, questioning whether people would show up and doubting that Jaime could even get the shoes to Africa if they did — but it didn’t take God long to prove them wrong.

“There were definitely low expectations,” Jaime told us. “It was discouraging, but I knew God could make it happen. On a rainy Saturday, 50 people showed up at the track — with 1,164 pairs of shoes! By the time the drive was over, God had brought in over 4,200 pairs of shoes for the people of Karogoto.”

Now that she had the shoes, Jaime had to get them to Kenya. It wasn’t easy. “We had a really hard time figuring out how to transport the shoes,” she said. “We had a lot of companies say no before we finally found one who would help us.”

“A Great Miracle from God”

In June of last year, Jaime and 14 other members of her church traveled to Kenya to help distribute the shoes. At one of the locations, they ran out of women’s shoes. An 11-year-old on the team immediately took off her own shoes and gave them away. The whole team followed suit. They weren’t prepared for what happened next.

“When one of the Kenyan ladies noticed my bare feet, she offered me the shoes she had just received,” Jaime shared, tears in her eyes. “I was so humbled. I was giving out of sheer abundance but she was giving out of pure genuine sacrifice.”

Jaime shared another story — that of 90-year-old woman named Gladys, who stood in line with thousands of people to get a pair of shoes. “I had given up on putting on another shoe until I die,” she had told one of the 410 Bridge team members. “The last time I wore shoes was 5 years ago and my feet can attest to that. For someone to think of something like this for us is a great miracle from God.”

That’s the story of Jaime. Her simple idea was a great miracle from God. Ultimately, it’s His story — a God who still uses teens to “do hard things” for Him.

Pictures after the jump:

Jaime and her church team distribute 200 of the 4,200 pairs of shoes.

Something we take for granted — a treasure for this young man.

Thousands of people line up to get a pair of shoes

Two elderly ladies. Gladys on the left.

Gladys’ feet. Without shoes for over five years.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • This story encouraged me because it reminded me how much teenagers are truly capable of!! I attend a small private college, and although it is a “Christian college,” often times the people here look the same and act the same as everyone else. One of the most discouraging things for me here is that many of the faculty/professors seem to be content with having a low standard for students. We are encouraged to do the bare minimum and no more. In some classes, the professors have to beg students just to turn in their papers! It’s sad to me that the standard for excellence is so low that in many cases the professors just want a paper, regardless of how good or bad it is.
    My roommate and I were talking yesterday about how frustrating the low expectations on campus can be because we (and our fellow students) are capable of more. I constantly have to remind myself to do my best because it is easy to be satisfied with status quo because no one is expecting more out of you. It is easy to be so used to the environment that you are in that you forget how much teens can really do. This story really encouraged me because it reminded me how many people are doing hard things, and it encouraged me to continually be a person who does hard things, regardless of what other people think or do.

  • Wow! Way to step up to the plate! Thanks for pushing through with that, even when it looked impossible. Our God is a great God!

  • Wow, this makes us more thankful for what we have, is more proof that you can do hard things, and at the same time inspires us!

  • That is so encouraging that God enabled you to complete this. Also, above and beyond what you first set out to do! My grandparents are missionaries in Kenya, and can testify to the need for things like shoes, and other items we take for granted. Keep it up!

  • What an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, guys.

    Jaime, thanks for taking the leap of faith and touching more lives than just the people you gave the shoes to. I’ll be praying for your ministry.


  • That is so awesome and encouraging! Keep up the great work, Jamie! I’ll be praying for you and your ministry.


  • Wow! What an incredible story! As I read, I got goose bumps! That is so cool; it reminds me of the verse in Romans that says, “What that shall we say to these things, if God is for us than who can be against us?” The people were skeptical, but God was with Jamie! wow

  • How we take things that seem so simple like this for granted… it reminds us again of how blessed we are. Again, it’s small acts of love like this that can spread God’s love to others! Praise God!

  • That is really touching,the one thing I like about this site,is that everyone does something to improve this generation,and I will be praying for an opportunity to do something also. Keep up the good work!!!

  • God bless Jaime and others like her!
    It’s so refreshing to see and hear this story!
    We serve an Awesome God!

    Rejoicing in Jesus,


  • That’s awesome! Now I feel guilty for wanting new shoes because mine have a couple of holes in the bottom.

  • That is truely an amazing story!!! Thankyou so much. I was very inspired by that, a reminder that even we can stand up and make a difference!
    God bless you Jamie!
    Are you planning to continue gathering shoes? I know I can find more if you do. I am living proof:)

  • “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ ” (Romans 10:14-15)

  • Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing this and inspiring others to stand up and make a difference while giving God glory. I hope college is going well for you two! Praying for you both!

  • What a great testimony!! It’s amazing the things that we take for granted as Americans. I am so glad that these young men and women were able to trust in God and complete such a wonderful mission!
    Thanks, guys, for sharing this!

  • Way to go Jaime! Even though I have heard your story several times before from Alex, it still touches my heart. Keep it up!

    God bless!

    Sarah 🙂

  • Wow, that’s really awesome. Think of all the unused things we might have stored in our closets that to others is a priceless treasure. Praise the Lord.

  • What an amazing story. It’s good to have the bar set high, because then we’ll constantly be striving to grow as we “do hard things.” Keep up the good work Alex and Brett!

  • That seems like a moving experince… too bad im not one for traveling long periods of time… especially to a foreign country in Africa!!! Oh well maybe i will do somthing like that in the near future.

  • I’ve always been very compassionate when it comes to those in poverty. Just one question, let’s say I set my mind on being a missionary, I think it will please God because i’m helping others in need like the Bible says. but, if you want to take action and do ‘hard things,’ how are you to be sure you don’t jump into somthing right away if that’s not what God has instore for your life. Many teens start thinking around ages 16 or 17, what do I want to do with my life. Is that a sin? Would that be considerd wrong in God’s eyes? How are we to be sure we’re listening to his voice when others exspect us to get involed in what we enjoy and what we think will suit us best?

    Since I don’t have an e-mail I don’t know how you are supposed to answer these questions, but otherwise thank and praise God and praise him for you I’m in the process of reading your book, it’s so inspiring i just can’t put it down. Wow, even though your no more than a year older than me I will sure to make you guys one of my primary roll-models, amd soon i hope I can be one for others- by God’s grace that is.

    God be with you-


  • Please DO NOT post this reply on your website… I just wanted to say i DON”T have a e-mail adress and i just put that e-mail address there so it would acept my reply. i do not think it is safe to list your e-mail address.

    God be with you-


  • This Is AMAZING. Praise the Lord. I hope you will continue to do this for many more years. If you need any help let me know. I shall look forward to serving the Lord in any way.

    In Christ

    Jordan Whitmire

  • Wow! Never knew there where so many people without shoes! I will look at all the little thing YHWH gives me with new light, knowing some people are without them.

  • Amazing, this story brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for those people! For me I can’t wait to take off my shoes and run around barefoot, but for them it isn’t an option. Stories like these really make me think beyond myself. Thanks, Ann

  • Its unbelievable what God can do. This story brought tears to my eyes. I always have loved running around barefooted but not even having the option of shoes? I cannot begin to know how bad it must be to some people. What we consider a neccesity they consider a great priveledge.

  • Good Work!

    It’s good that you have taken time out it help other, and to see how God has blessed it.

  • The part where the kenyan lady offered shoes to Jaime really stuck out for me. The fact that she was inspired to give on her own just shows how impressionable giving can be.

  • Wow!! This is a wonderful story of the providence of God. I hope other young people take a stand for those in need.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →