Operation Christmas Child shoebox packed in Canada brings hope to struggling El Salvador family

December 13, 2018 • El Salvador

Rural parents can’t afford Christmas or birthday gifts for their children.

Life is very difficult for Douglas and Maria Sandoval and their two children. But Canadians like you have given them a sense of hope through a gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

The Sandovals live in a tiny rural house in El Salvador. The roof is rusting corrugated steel, the walls are made of bamboo and hard mud, and the floor is simply dirt. Everyone sleeps in one room under mosquito netting.

The family depends on Douglas’ work as a farmer. He grows corn on rented land four kilometers away. Normally, the family eats part of the harvest and Douglas sells the rest to pay the rent and buy fertilizer and seeds. However, a drought in the middle of El Salvador’s vital rainy season severely reduced the most recent crop, worsening the family’s already precarious economic situation.

Operation Christmas Child

Given all this, it’s no surprise that when asked what presents they give their children for Christmas and birthdays, Maria says: “We give them a hug.”

In April, the Sandoval’s church hosted an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution event. Eleven-year-old Douglas Jr. was invited, and brought home a box filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies from a Canadian family.

“I’m honored at receiving the gifts and I’m thankful to the pastor and your organization,” Douglas Jr. shyly says before leaving to play with friends.

“Douglas tells his dad he’s lucky to receive the box,” Maria notes. “I tell him he has to take extra care of his box because it’s more than we can give him.”

Douglas Sr. is quick to express appreciation to Canadians for providing hope to struggling families through Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and through the Gospel, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, ESV).

“I give thanks to God for the Canadians,” he says. “They have big hearts and I hope the Lord blesses them for what they do.”

Adds Maria: “Please tell the donors this is very worthwhile and please continue to do it. We are very thankful.”

Soon, their local church will be inviting Douglas Jr. and the other children who received shoeboxes to enroll in The Greatest Journey, Samaritan’s Purse’s 12-lesson evangelism and discipleship program that is often a follow-up to shoebox distributions.

We are thankful to God that 1.9 million children dedicated their lives Jesus Christ through The Greatest Journey in last year alone. Now, they know that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV).

Learn how to pack shoeboxes – click here for complete instructions for packing shoeboxes. If possible, please include $10 for each gift box to cover international shipping and other costs. You can also bless children in need by packing shoeboxes online at PackaBox.ca.

Learn more about The Greatest Journey – this 12-lesson course teaches children to become faithful followers of Christ, and to share their faith with others. We offer the course to children after they’ve received Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Each $30 donation can equip five children with study materials, graduation certificates, and New Testaments.