Feet First

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
We'd not long been back in Johannesburg as Salvation Army leaders when the invitation came from a few young people organising a weekend together under the title: Feet First. Please would I be the principal speaker, was their request. 'What's this all about?' I asked. 
Of course I was well used to feet. I'd examined hundreds, if not thousands over the years. I'd checked the lateral popliteal and superficial peroneal nerves; I'd used the WHO scale for grading disability - 0 for sensation intact, 1 for loss of sensation with no damage or deformity, 2 for when that was reversible, and 3 for when it wasn't. We'd taught patients to soak them, cream them, to use protective footwear; we'd removed sequestra and arthrodesed joints, we'd done dozens of tendon transfers for foot drop. We'd tried to keep them beautiful, or even make them beautiful. 
'No sir,' they'd responded. 'Forget that. Sharing the good news begins with being willing to go somewhere.' 
'Okay then! I get it.' 
Their motive was evangelistic; it was about mission - being sent. 
The Leprosy Mission knows what that means. It follows in the tradition of William Carey who left Northampton for Bengal, and Wellesley Bailey who left Ireland for the Punjab. 
In 1994, after years serving in cross-cultural ministry in Zambia, England and India we were back in the country of our birth. I needed reminding that, in the words of my fellow-countryman and missiologist, David Bosch, mission is about 'frontier-crossing' in the spirit of a servant. And there are more frontiers in the world than international borders. We needed to cross the inner boundaries of South Africa. Having crossed the boundary, I would need to extend the hand of friendship. 
I left the weekend with a T-shirt. I told them I would wear it, and I did - occasionally. It was a reminder that I needed to get going!  
But I did also remind them that there are many whose impairment means that they can't walk, but know how to get out and about.
'How beautiful ....'