See how God is using shoebox gifts to transform lives around the world.
“The gifts have created a unique opportunity for us to reach out to many, many children with the Gospel. He makes a way where there seems to be no way.”
– Local pastor in Zimbabwe
God is Faithful
Tatenda’s father died when he was 4-years-old, and his mother had struggled for years to make ends meet to pay for his school fees, clothing, and food. But his mother had taught him to trust God for all his needs and to continue to pray.
Two weeks before exam time, the now 11-year-old boy told his mother once again the school supplies he needed for the tests—two pencils, an eraser, a ruler, and two pens. His mother nodded her head. “God is faithful,” she replied.
The following Sunday at church, the pastor announced that visitors from Operation Christmas Child had come with special gifts for the boys and girls. Tatenda had never heard of the program, so he was surprised to receive a shoebox and a Gospel booklet. He opened it and shouted with joy at the sight of a 12-pack of pencils, a 10-pack of pens, a calculator, and socks. He and his mother carefully looked at the rest of the contents of the shoebox. There were two T-shirts, a watch, two toothbrushes, soaps, and towels.
Jubilant, his mother sang “God is faithful” all the way home. Everything Tatenda needed for the exams had been provided, plus a lot more. The next morning Tatenda’s mother went to see their pastor and shared with him how God had touched their lives and met their needs. Just at the right time, God had answered their prayers.
Mercy was excited when she received a shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child. She wanted to tell her friend Ruvimbo about the many gifts in her box, but she was afraid. Even though they were neighbors, their families didn’t talk to each other because of a quarrel that had erupted years ago. A wall divided their houses.
Mercy’s love for her friend and the great excitement overcame her fear, and she met Ruvimbo at a gap in the wall. Mercy showed her friend the gift box, and also gave her a big teddy bear, a pair of socks, and some hair ties.
Ruvimbo’s sister rushed off to tell her parents, and they went to Mercy’s house. Mercy was bold enough to tell them of the love she had been taught about at the distribution. She explained how God loved us and gave us Jesus, and told the adults to love each other no matter what. The parents said that they would try.
When she was packing a lunch for school the next morning, Mercy’s mother prepared an extra snack for Ruvimbo. Ruvimbo told her parents, who agreed to allow her to attend Mercy’s church the following Sunday. The Operation Christmas Child discipleship program was introduced in Sunday school, and Ruvimbo promised she would continue to come to church
Mercy’s love and the gift box she received reconciled the two families. Praise be to God who works in wonderful and unique ways.
Prayer requests from ministry partners in Zimbabwe
- Praise God for the improved customs clearance process for the gift boxes.
- Praise God for the successful The Greatest Journey graduation ceremonies where more than 1,000 children received their certificates and Bibles.
The Greatest Journey
Your shoebox is just the first step to transforming a young life for eternity. Every shoebox gift delivered by Operation Christmas Child is a tangible expression of God’s love. It also presents an opportunity in more than 100 countries for our church partners to invite children into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through our follow-up discipleship program. The Greatest Journey is a dynamic approach to discipleship—including 12 engaging Bible lessons—that local trained teachers are using to instruct the next generation of believers on how to become devoted followers of Christ and boldly share their faith with others. Worldwide, 11 million children have enrolled in the program since 2009.
These 12 lessons guide children through a study of who Jesus Christ is, what it means to follow Him, and how to share this exciting message with others. Over 170,000 children in Zimbabwe have enrolled in this program since it started, and nearly 129,000 have graduated.
Will you help us “go and make disciples of all nations” as Christ commanded? Sign up for a monthly gift of $6, and each year you will give 12 children study materials, a New Testament, and the opportunity to learn what it means to devote their lives to sharing the Good News of eternal grace through Jesus Christ.