there’s haiti mud on my shoes

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

February 27, 2012


[serialposts]Is it bad that I don’t want to wash the Haiti mud off of my shoes?

Most of it is already gone anyway, but the thought of washing the rest of it off just breaks my heart. I should probably be a little embarrassed walking around in public with dirty  shoes. It’s just that it’s not any kind of dirt.

They didn’t get these marks from mowing the lawn or playing around down at the park. Most of this mud came from the construction site of a house for a family in Haiti who’ll finally be moving out of the tent they’ve lived in for so long. And some of it came from the three-quarters of a mile walk (each way) up and down the rocky mountainside made by people every day to get a few gallons of clean water. There may even be a smudge or two from walking through the Petionville Tent City, which is still home to some 30,000 people two years after the earthquake.

These are the marks of walking with some dear Haitian brothers and sisters in the places they walk every day.

Am I embarrassed by this bit of dirt on my shoes? No way. It helps me remember a time and place that has special meaning to me.

One friend calls them “soul smudges”. I like that. I like it a lot.

I’m sure that as time goes on, the simple act of walking through life will cause these smudges to slowly disappear. A couple walks in the rain, a few steps in some puddles, and some incidental rubbing on the hem of my jeans will each take a little bit of the mud away. Eventually it will all be gone.

That’s how it works, doesn’t it?

Life just happens, and causes the smudges to slowly fade.

It’s just that these smudges, these soul smudges, are significant. Lord, even when the marks are no longer visible on the outside, may my heart never forget where these feet have walked.


  1. PammMuz

    You expressed so beautifully what so many of us feel after the kind of experience you’ve had . . . may those moments tattoo our souls.

    • @bibledude

      i hate that i look at the fading mud on my shoes and nearly break out in tears… then i just realize that my aching is more than just about the mud. it’s one of the few things that i have the connects me in some way to those who i’ve walked with…

      and it’s a walk that i will always cherish!

  2. Cris Ferreira

    Beautiful, Dan! I had tears on my eyes. I thank God for your testimony and I pray that you will touch many more lives with it. God bless you!

    • @bibledude

      there are so many great stories to tell about the people and places i’ve visited in #haiti, and i don’t want the connections and memories to fade… it’s kind of funny, but one thing that i thought about is that by doing this blog post i will have captured the ‘mud’ in a state that i’ll be able to go back to and remember… even when the mud is no longer on the shoes.

  3. Cris Ferreira

    Beautiful, Dan! I had tears on my eyes. I thank God for your testimony and I pray that you will touch many more lives with it. God bless you!

  4. pastordt

    LOVE this post, Dan. I’m getting caught up on about 400 inbox messages and am so glad to find this one. Welcome back – and my the smudges remain forever.

  5. Heather Windeler

    Loved this post!!! I have a pair of shoes with mud on them from Africa. I have been asked a few times why I don’t clean them up, but its the most beautiful mud I have ever seen, so to speak. 😉 I will be sad when the final bits wear off. God’s impressions from the trip and the amazing people we worked with are forever locked in my heart though. Thank you for posting this.

    • @bibledude

      Thank you Heather! The good news for me is that I’m heading back in less than two months now… I can’t wait to get me some more mud! But I’m with you… let’s keep the mud!



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there’s haiti mud on my shoes

by Dan King time to read: 2 min