Dear Canadian Church Partner,
On behalf of Samaritan’s Purse Canada I would like to thank you for your church’s participation in Operation Christmas Child. Your support has made a wonderful difference for children, families and communities in the developing world by sharing God’s love through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and letting them know they are not forgotten.
Overseas, we work in and with churches who are our ministry partners in each country; they know the culture, language, and needs of their communities. Simple gifts—packed with love in Jesus’ Name—deliver hope and joy to children all around the world. The shoebox gifts, including those your church packed, and with the guidance of local church partners, are given to children with the greatest needs regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or faith. Children do not have to do or say anything to receive the gifts as we seek to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way through each shoebox gift.
For many children, this is the first gift they will ever receive. The shoebox contents, such as clothing, hygiene items, or school supplies, may be the only such new items these children ever receive. To us in Canada it seems inconceivable that not having pencils and notebooks is the difference between being able to attend school or not, but for countless children and their families this is the reality. Still, even more important than the items inside the shoeboxes is the opportunity to share God’s love—and the Good News of Jesus Christ—with children in need.
Typically, a child receives only one shoebox gift in their lifetime as we work with churches distributing shoebox gifts to children in different communities each year. The 11 million shoebox gifts we ship globally this year will represent a very small portion of the 1.9 billion children in our world younger than 15. All of the items we suggest people put in their shoeboxes have been determined by hundreds of thousands of in-country national leadership teams and partners we train and work with every year. Shoebox contents are not intended to be for relief or development, but are intended to be a gift from you to a child in less fortunate surroundings, a simple a gift of love.
Following the shoebox distributions, with the permission of their families, the local leaders invite children to participate in a 12-lesson The Greatest Journey discipleship and evangelism program. We provide The Greatest Journey materials in the local language for children and training for the teachers. Upon completion of the program, a graduation ceremony is held and graduates are presented a New Testament in their language. We praise the Lord that millions are now praying for and sharing their faith in Jesus with friends, family, and beyond. As a result, hundreds of churches have been planted. For example, in Uruguay alone more than 800 churches have been planted through Operation Christmas Child’s partnership with local congregations.
As described above, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are distributed to children around the world in support of the ministry work of local churches to meet spiritual needs of children in their communities. While shoebox gifts do help children and their families in tangible ways, Operation Christmas Child’s focus is not on meeting physical needs. However, through its work in many of these same communities, Samaritan’s Purse does offer vital assistance with projects that can include providing safe water, food and livelihoods, and medical aid.
It is with gladness that we sincerely want to thank you for your partnership with us in reaching millions of children and their families for Christ.
Director of Operation Christmas Child Canada