Sent from Canada with God’s love, shoebox gifts and discipleship opportunities are changing children’s lives in the Philippines.
“God Became Real to These Children This Week”
Little Jacob’s* face is glowing. He just received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox filled with fun and useful gifts. But his “precious find,” as our partner calls it—his favorite item—is a toque. He puts it on his head with delight. It’s his first time wearing one!
Above his eyebrows, bold red letters spell out C-A-N-A-D-A, and a bright white maple leaf covers his forehead.
Across the room, a young girl is emotional after opening her shoebox to find a new friend smiling back at her. “I didn’t expect that God would grant me my request for a doll!” Angela* says through happy tears.
Each gift in the room, including Jacob’s toque and Angela’s doll, was thoughtfully chosen and packed by a Canadian like you.
Carmelita,* a leader at our partner church, says she loves to be a fly on the wall at outreach events where children open their special gifts from overseas. But she adds that the reward is even greater when you get down to their level and start asking questions.
“When you ask children what they have received, and if it has been an answer to their prayers, you will be amazed,” she exclaims. “Miracles happen right in front of you!”
Elsewhere in the Philippines, white bandages encircle Luis’* head while he opens his shoebox. The 4-year-old is recovering from a recent operation. As much as his mother wants to bless him with a toy car, which he dearly desires, she can’t spare any money. The extra cost of his medication is just too much. That’s why the sight of a blue car, packed carefully in the contents of his box, brings joy to them both!
Every one of these meaningful moments points children to God, who loves them deeply. “God became real to these children this week,” Carmelita commented after watching hundreds of kids find blessings in their boxes.
Making Disciples Through The Greatest Journey
Some shoebox recipients have never heard the Name of Jesus before. Others don’t understand what it means to have a relationship with Him. Many are curious to learn more, which is why local churches that partner with Operation Christmas Child invite them to participate in The Greatest Journey.
Through this 12-lesson follow-up discipleship program, children like Thea* learn about God’s love for them, what it looks like to follow Christ, and how to share Him with others.
“Life is hard,” Thea admitted. The 10-year-old knows what it feels like to be abandoned. One day, her mother went to a different city looking for work but never returned to care for her five daughters. “We found out later that she already had another family,” Thea shared.
That’s when Thea was invited by her godmother to attend church. There, Thea received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and was offered an opportunity to join The Greatest Journey. She’s so glad she did!
“I learned that though my mother is not with us, God still loves me and gave His Son Jesus Christ to save me,” she said. “I’m happy being with other kids doing different kinds of activities like singing, dancing, coloring, playing games, and listening to stories about God’s creation and love.”
Since 2011, more than 2.4 million boys and girls have enrolled in The Greatest Journey, and over 1.6 million have reported a decision to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
“I’m happy to know God loves me for me,” added Thea. “Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with us.”
Ways You Can Pray for the Philippines
Thank you for giving girls and boys tangible gifts of God’s love! Here are ways you can keep the Philippines in your prayers:
- Pray for Operation Christmas Child’s partner churches as they are trained to host children at outreach events and distribute shoebox gifts.
- Pray for The Greatest Journey teachers—that God would use them to reach children’s hearts.
- Pray that more boys and girls would find eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
If you’d like to receive regular updates and praise reports to help you pray for Operation Christmas Child around the world, we invite you to become a Prayer Network Partner.
*Name changed to protect privacy.