Operation Christmas Child’s follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey, is helping people discover the power of the Gospel in the southern African country of Botswana.
In the desert village of Serinane, hours outside Botswana’s capital Gaborone, jobs are hard to come by. The little money that finds its way to the village is often spent on alcohol; many families are hurting as a result. Life is difficult for everyone here. Change will only come person by person, with God’s transforming power.
Agnes Khumo is one who has been changed as she’s learned to receive God’s love, to love others, and to forgive her mother. The Lord used Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey discipleship program to bring spiritual healing and wholeness in her life.
“I hated my mother, and my mother did not like me,” Agnes said. “She gave all her love to my siblings.”
Her mother, Gomotsegang Khumo, had married a man with six young children and Agnes, a teenager at the time, was left to fend for herself. She felt abandoned.
“I thought: Maybe I should just pack my clothes and go live somewhere else,” Agnes recalled.
But it was then that she received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift and God began to open Agnes’s heart to the Greatest Gift—Jesus Christ. In her box she received dolls, a Bible, and playing cards with Bible verses on them. She also signed up to attend The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program for shoebox gift recipients. It was during these classes that she really started to comprehend God’s love for her.
“That’s when I began to understand, and I received Jesus,” she said.
Journey to Forgiveness
As Agnes continued to faithfully attend The Greatest Journey classes, God began to work on her heart about the unforgiveness she had toward her mother.
“In the classes they talked about honoring your father and mother,” Agnes said. “And in church our pastor talked about forgiveness. I didn’t want to honor my mom but my pastor told me to pray and pray and pray. And that’s the only reason I wanted to have a relationship with my mother. I started to help her and to obey her even though I didn’t want to.”
She also learned about forgiveness—God’s forgiveness toward her and the forgiveness she should have toward her mother.
“Little step after little step I learned to forgive my mom,” Agnes said. As Agnes’s relationship with her mother grew stronger and as her mother noticed changes in her, Agnes was able to tell her about her new relationship with God.
“I began talking to my mom about Jesus,” Agnes said.
God began to work in her mother’s heart.
A Mom and Family Transformed
Gomotsegang, Agnes’s mother, said that as she continued to see the difference in her daughter, she knew she also wanted to change.
“I was in a religion that worshipped a bishop, and we also were practicing witchcraft,” said Gomotsegang. “But I didn’t want to be involved in that anymore. After seeing the change in Agnes, I wanted to be saved and follow Jesus Christ too.”
Gomotsegang did receive Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, and her life has not been the same since.
“[Now] there is peace and joy in our family. We pray together and even share the Word of God together,” she said.
And in a village where jobs are so hard to find, Gomotsegang was blessed recently with work at a nearby military base—a gift she credits to God and not the superstitious rituals that she used to trust.
Both Gomotsegang and Agnes have also become leaders at a local church that was recently started in part as an outgrowth of The Greatest Journey classes held in the village.
“My pastor told me just to pray and pray and pray and not to give up,” Agnes said. “Now I am close to my mom, I want to honor her, because I want to honor Jesus.”