Posted on : Monday March 21, 2011

By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent

WELCOME, Md.–Leah Dobry heard about the earthquake in Haiti and wanted to help. She asked a missionary friend, Wayne Matthews, a member of Marbury Church and a family friend who was preparing to go to Haiti, how she could help. Matthews thought for a moment and told Leah he could use hair barrettes. So Leah went to her church family at First Church, Welcome, and asked for hair barrettes for Haiti. She got bags full. Matthews took the barrettes and sent Leah a video showing her the girls using the barrettes and how happy they were. When Matthews went to Africa, Leah once again asked how she could help. Matthews thought once more and responded, foot wear. So Leah went back to the church and asked for flip flops. The church responded with 676 pairs. Those successes are spurring Leah on to do more.

Leah is eight-years-old.

Eight-year-old Leah Dobry collected over 600 pairs of flip flops for missionary, Wayne Matthews.

“She calls him ‘Mr. Wayne,’” Chris Dobry, Leah’s father said, referring to Wayne Matthews.  “She threw him off guard,” Dobry said. Matthews just didn’t expect an eight year old to ask to help and to follow through.

After a big flip-flop packing party, Matthews headed for the airport with three additional duffle bags stuffed with flip-flops in addition to his other luggage. Friends expressed their concern about security and the extra cost of the bags but Matthews was sure God had worked it out. When he reached the airport, the airline representatives read the little tags on the outside of the bags explaining the circumstances and what the bags held. They waived the charge of the flip-flop bags and his personal luggage. God had opened the door. He had plans for that foot wear.

In fact, Matthews called a week after arriving in Africa to let the Dobry family know that he had arrived at a village where there was an especially big need for foot wear.

Leah plans to keep working for missions.

“There’s nothing I can see stopping her,” Dobry said. He said it’s important also for her to see the outcomes of her ministry. “We want to show her what the other end of the journey looks like for her mission ideas. We want the fire to continue to burn inside her even as she grows older and the corruption from life comes.”

The Dobry family is active at FBC Welcome. Chris is passionate about Upward Soccer and directs the church program. Ellen, Leah’s mom, is the VBS director. Leah has four siblings, Jacob, Faith, Summer and Sarah, all of whom enjoyed helping with the flip-flop collection.

“It was really exciting,” Leah said.  Her next project she thinks may be collecting pencils and paper for Africa.

Leah wants to be a teacher when she grows up, but she also wants to continue her missions work.

“God touches me and says ‘keep going on and going on,’” Leah said.