Celebrating God's blessings across borders and languages.
By Eleanor McKenzie, Member of an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Distribution Team
I recently travelled to Costa Rica with an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution team, and our trip was like a pilgrimage.
We travelled together, shared together, ate together, prayed and worshipped together, and served together.
One day, we travelled to an impoverished neighborhood, where children and teenagers who had received gift-filled shoeboxes were graduating from Operation Christmas Child’s voluntary follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. After months of being introduced to Jesus, discipled, and equipped to share the Good News, they were graduating from the 12-lesson program and being honored by their church and families.
Our team was able to celebrate with them!
We arrived during a rainstorm. The pastor of the small church body who taught The Greatest Journey was lying on the roof of a borrowed one-room home that could not accommodate the congregation. He was trying to divert rainwater with a plastic bag, so that the people wouldn’t be drenched by the pouring rain.
This pastor had quit his paying job to bring the Gospel to this community in need. Without an actual church building, or even chairs for worshipers to sit on, he was-and is-faithfully discipling young people to follow Christ.
The small community was so welcoming to our group. We presented certificates, along with candy, hugs and Canada pins, to the graduates. One lady hugged me and started praising the Lord. We all stood together in the dark, worshipping God for His goodness in bringing these young graduates into a relationship with Him.
Another lady, a Costa Rican translator travelling with us, shared her gratitude for people involved in Operation Christmas Child:
“Thank you so much for blessing our lives,” she said. “You are a living example of sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. You truly blessed our lives.”
One day, I hope that you too can experience a trip like this, as well as the unity and lifelong friendships that developed during our travels. God bless.