Thank you to all who were part of our Relay Center team. We collected 1,514 shoe boxes, each one of which is a gospel opportunity! Pray for the recipients of these boxes that the Lord would use these gifts to change lives, families and communities all over the world.
Here is one story that shows the importance of prayer, God’s amazing personal care, and the power of a simple gift.
From Ted: I was an orphan in the former Soviet Union when I received my shoebox. We had to share everything at the orphanage, including towels. When I got a washcloth in my box I actually thought it was my own personal towel!… God used the shoebox to plant a seed at a time when I was looking for hope and something to believe in. It opened my heart to understanding that there must be a loving God….As time went on, I hungered more and more to know that Truth.
My sister Tanya had heard about a God who loved her when she received her shoebox gift. So she was praying, “God, if you’re real, give me and my siblings a family.” One day I received a letter from her that said, “We might be getting adopted into an American family.” I again thought, There really has to be someone who cares for me. It could only be someone like a God. All these little things were pointing to this amazing, loving God and yet at this point I had little comprehension of who He was. I hadn’t heard about Jesus, but my heart was softening. When I was 13, we were adopted.
… in Russia I had been taught a works-based religion with a God that would punish me for everything. I was a little confused trying to sort all this out, so I asked my dad, “Is there something more?” He told me that God created everything for His glory and that He gave us this earth and this life to enjoy but there’s this sin problem that condemns us to hell. I remember thinking, Same old story. But he went on that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins and that it was a free gift.
I immediately remembered my Operation Christmas Child gift and thought, Wow, that makes sense. Someone who didn’t know me gave me a gift, and in the same way before we ever knew God, He loved us enough to give us this gift. At that moment I realized that the hope I was feeling had been given from God and it was a hope I could have the rest of my life in Jesus.
It was incredible how God used something as simple as a shoebox. It was such perfect timing. God ordained that shoebox and orchestrated it in my life. It opened my heart to something that changed my life forever. He uses these simple tools in a mighty way.
What goes into the box is fun; What comes out is eternal. Thank you for your part in this ministry.