It was the beginning of me reopening my heart … and entrusting it to Christ.
#shoeboxgiftstories is an ongoing series in which shoebox recipients share about the eternal impact of a simple gift.
I still carry a brown comb in my pocket that I received in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift when I was 11. It’s more than just a practical help, it reassures me of God’s faithfulness every time I look at it.
It is a reminder that God knows my needs, even the little things—and that brings me joy.
“It is a reminder that God knows my needs—and that brings me joy.”
THE LONELINESS OF LOSS
I experienced heartbreaking loss early in life. My father died when I was 5. Not long afterward, my mother left me with my grandma, and I didn’t see my mother again for years.
Growing up in my grandma’s village in Lesotho, a country encircled by South Africa, I helped take care of the family by hunting for food and tending to our garden and chickens. I walked four miles each way to fetch and carry well water.
My favorite part of the day was after supper when my grandma used to tell stories that often had a good life lesson to them. Then, before we slept, we used to get on our knees and pray. My grandma became a mother to me. She taught me a lot, including how to read and write. But most importantly, she taught me about God.
When my grandma died, I felt that my heart had shattered with despair. I went to live with my uncle in the city, but I missed being around nature in the countryside and hearing the homespun life lessons my grandma used to tell me each night. The following year, my mother died. Though I hadn’t seen her often, I grieved the loss of the possibility that she would return to me.
EXPERIENCING GOD’S LOVE
When I was 11, I saw a flyer about an Operation Christmas Child event at a local church in Lesotho. My cousin and I attended the event, where we heard the Gospel and each received a shoebox gift.
I didn’t have many things of my own. I was used to having to borrow something and then needing to give it back. When I received my shoebox gift, I couldn’t believe that the things in it were all mine for me to keep.
“The shoebox filled one of the holes in my heart. God used it to give me hope.”
That gesture was a gift in itself. It was the beginning of me reopening my heart that I had protected so long from loss and heartache and entrusting it to Christ.
I remember the shoebox filled one of the holes in my heart. God used it to give me hope and fill what I was in need of—to fill my brokenness. I made the choice to seek Him, but He sought me, the God who sees and knows the deepest needs of my heart.
I had a desire to know Him more and started to learn more about Him. Then, I surrendered my life to Him and experienced His presence in my life. Today, I have eternal life in Jesus Christ—because of His love for me.
“People tell me I am lucky—but I say I am chosen.”
After all the things that God has seen me through, I’ve had a lot of people tell me I am lucky—but I say I am chosen. They say it’s a coincidence, and I say it’s a blessing. That’s the difference between the one who has seen the light of God and one who has not.