Every year, through the Operation Christmas Child project of Samaritan’s Purse, churches and individuals pack millions of shoebox gifts—praying over each of these special boxes as they’re prepared for a boy or girl somewhere in the world. In 2019, nearly 70,000 of those boxes arrived in Botswana, a country in the southern part of Africa where hard-to-reach villages stretch out along the Kalahari desert.
Since our ministry started in Botswana 18 years ago, more than 1 million children have received shoebox gifts. Many of these children had never received a present before they opened their gift-filled shoebox provided through Operation Christmas Child.
This means that at least 1 million children, and often the parents and families of those children, have heard the Gospel through Operation Christmas Child outreach events.
The children who receive a shoebox gift almost always have a favorite item they point to, and many remember it even years later. And the items they receive in their shoebox often will be a blessing to others as school supplies, hygiene items, and toys are shared with siblings.
What they also share with their family and friends is the joy and love they experience as they realize that someone on the other side of the world—a total stranger to them—has blessed them and is praying for them. Could it be that there is a God who loves them too?
Through shoebox gift distributions, churches have the opportunity to invite children in Botswana to a 12-lesson discipleship program called The Greatest Journey where leaders teach children from God’s Word.
They learn that God created them, loves them, and sent Jesus Christ to die for their sins.
More than 48,000 children in Botswana have enrolled in The Greatest Journey 12-lesson discipleship program, with 13,000 enrolling in the past year. We praise God that more than 15,000 children in Botswana have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior after hearing the Gospel through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child.
Botswana is just one of well more than 100 countries that Operation Christmas Child works in each year. Please pray for the millions of boys and girls who will receive gift-filled shoeboxes over the next 12 months. We thank God for how He’s at work around the world.