Roberto, 12 years old, Guatemala:“I live in a very poor neighborhood and many times I don’t have the school items that I require at school. I always wanted to have a special pencil with removable leads. I prayed to God for one and some friends at my school laughed at me because I said I prayed for one. However, when I was invited to participate in a special celebration in a Christian church at my village, they gave me a gift where I got school supplies. Among them were two of the special pencils I always wanted to have. Now I’m happy that I have the opportunity to study the Bible lessons and I’m learning a lot from what our teacher explains. I have learned that God cares for me. These lessons came to our village because God is good. Thank you for sending to us these lessons.”
Haiti: In Cite-Soleil, the poorest neighborhood in the Western hemisphere, a Haitian church is growing as a result of Operation Christmas Child. Children who experienced God’s love through gift-filled shoeboxes have returned to attend the voluntary, follow up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey—so many that the church had to move to a nearby school. Today, local Christians are ministering to more than 260 children. Praise God, who is growing churches through simple gift-filled shoeboxes and a tangible representation of Christ’s love!
Samaritan’s Purse began collecting shoeboxes filled with gifts for hurting children 21 years ago. That first year, they prayed that God would provide a thousand gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia, but 28,000 gifts came in. In 2012, Operation Christmas Child reached a milestone—over 100 million shoe box gifts collected since 1993 and handed out to children in more than 150 countries and territories. Each gift brings joy, hope, and smiles to a child whose life has been haunted by poverty, disaster, disease, or war. More than that, each box brings the true meaning of Christmas—God’s gift to mankind, the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The shoebox is just the beginning.
At the processing center, Christian literature is placed in each box to introduce Jesus Christ. In addition, children are given the opportunity to take part in The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program developed by Samaritan’s Purse and taught by the churches that hand out the shoe box gifts. The lessons and Scriptures have been translated into 68 languages, enabling Operation Christmas Child and their church partners to effectively share the Gospel in some of the most remote corners of the world. Children are invited to respond to the Gospel and learn how to share their faith with friends and family. Graduates receive their very own New Testament.
Be a part of changing children’s lives all over the world in Jesus’ Name through the power of a simple gift. What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal .
Learn More about Operation Christmas Child by visiting our Operation Christmas Child page.
Submitted by Charleen Bridgman