Casey Shoults thought she had it all together. Then her parents announced they would be moving, and Casey would have to go to a new middle school.
While at a Salvation Army Bible camp last summer, Casey shared her fears about the change with four friends. They agreed to hold one another accountable and pray for one another throughout the year.
The girls were fans of the book and movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, in which friends share a pair of jeans. So they created their own "Sisterhood of the Traveling Converse." They bought a pair of white Converse tennis shoes, which they would pass to one another to wear at important moments in their lives. Each girl has a specific color of permanent marker to write a short remembrance of the moment on the shoes. A notebook with longer descriptions of events, prayer requests, and spiritual triumphs would accompany the shoes on their journey.
Brought up in a Christian home and attending a Salvation Army church her whole life, Casey had been taught to be a light for Jesus in our dark world. And she had already been putting those lessons into practice.
Last school year, Casey's science teacher began some lessons on evolution. When he opened a time of discussion, Casey spoke up about her belief in creationism. After class, the teacher asked if she'd like to give a presentation on her beliefs.
"I was a little nervous at first, but once I started talking, I got really excited about sharing my faith," says Casey.
Her commitment to evangelism didn't stop there. She invited three friends to her church, bought them Bibles for Christmas, and together, they read through the book of John. One of the girls, who had been an atheist, is now attending a youth group at a local church in her neighborhood, and Casey continues to encourage her in her faith.
"By sharing my faith with my friends, I better understand who I am and why I do what I do. It has really brought us closer together," says Casey.
This school year, on her first day, Casey laced up the white Converses; she was the first in the "sisterhood" to wear the traveling shoes. Before she got out of the car, her mom gave her a ring that said, "Fear Not," and the two prayed together for strength.
"Every time I looked at the ring and the shoes, they reminded me that God was with me and that He was going to protect me, no matter what," says Casey.
After school that day, Casey got out her marker and wrote the first words on the shoes: "Fear Not!"
"I am so happy to be in The Salvation Army and have these wonderful friends," Casey says. "It helps me to know they're praying for me and that I can tell them all that's happening," said Casey.
Casey says God has blessed her faithfulness by providing her with more Christian friends at her new school, but her heart for those around her who are lost beats on.
Every morning she and her mom do devotions together and pray for kids who don't know the Lord.
"I want to be an example of Christ with my attitude and in all I do," says Casey. "You have to take a risk and put yourself out there. You need to be confident and not worry about what others think." Borrowing the ad slogan for another brand of shoes, Nike, Casey advises, " 'Just do it' for God!"