Canadian family helps distribute shoeboxes to children and uses their personal experience to encourage a family coping with supporting a disabled child
What a privilege and a blessing it was to be a part of a 22-member team delivering Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children in Costa Rica.
My husband and I and our 14-year-old daughter went for a week, traveling around San Jose and distributing a total of 504 shoeboxes.
The Costa Ricans who organized this trip truly believe in Operation Christmas Child. We experienced story after story of how God has been opening doors in schools and communities in the area, enabling Samaritan’s Purse to share His love with children through shoeboxes.
Because of these boxes, many more children are hearing about the love of God for the first time.
We would hand out the shoeboxes to the children after they heard the story of Jesus’ gift to all of them. They would have to wait with the box on their laps, then they would be instructed to raise the box over their head, then put it down and raise up their hands. Finally, they would use the box to give a drum roll and then they could finally see what was inside.
Oh the joy and the laughter and the love as they looked in their boxes and saw all the treasures packed just for them! No child was missed and all were treated as the special children God created them to be.
A revelation of purpose
In the end, this trip was about being open to what God had in store for us, and stepping out in faith to see how we could be the essence of Jesus to the people we met.
We were always told that God chose each of us to be on this trip and that there was a purpose. I saw this in my daughter as she listened to the voice of God and shared her box with a specific young girl.
They opened the box together and shared the gift that seemed was packed especially for her. My daughter had the opportunity to trust God and act on His leading.
My husband and I also had a remarkable experience. Our oldest son, who had many disabilities, died a year ago. One day during a distribution, there was a young mom whose little girl had severe disabilities. We were able to share our box with this girl and share our love and encouragement with her mother.
I believe our purpose in going on this trip was to meet this young family and allow God to use our experience with our son to help someone else going through a similar experience.
If we say “yes” to opportunities, then we can step back and watch God work. Delivering Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes was one of these “yes” moments for our family, and it has been a blessed decision.
I will never look at or pack shoeboxes the same way again. I will pack many more because I experienced, first-hand, the impact these gifts have on children and their families in developing countries.