Evangelism. Discipleship. Multiplication.
Evangelism. Discipleship. Multiplication.
Sending Good News and Great Joy
Discover how Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts lead to evangelism, discipleship, and the multiplication of believers and churches even to the ends of the earth.
“Go therefore and make disciples.”
“I want every child to know there is a God who loves them.”
Franklin Graham, President, Samaritan’s Purse
Shoebox gifts show children a tangible expression of God’s love.
The Gospel is shared with children in multiple ways as they open their shoebox gifts.
Every shoebox gift is an excellent resource for evangelism and discipleship, which leads to the multiplication of new believers and churches around the world. Local Christians share the Gospel, inviting children to trust in Jesus. Then, boys and girls receive a surprise that may be their first gift ever. They hold in their hands a tangible expression of God’s love.
After children receive shoebox gifts, many also participate in our 12-lesson discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. Through this course, which includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization, they learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives as they tell their family and friends about Him.
The Greatest Gift Storybook
In addition to hearing the Gospel before they receive their shoebox gift, children also receive The Greatest Gift, a storybook that shares the message of salvation. With the Apostle John as narrator, the booklet shares 11 Scripture stories and invites children to follow Christ. Children take this home to share with family and friends. It is used in more than 80 languages.
The Greatest Gift Booklet
Shoebox Outreach Events
Local Christians are taught to host a successful shoebox outreach event through the Ministry Partner Guide, a 36-page resource that outlines how to organize a distribution, share the Gospel, and invite children to participate in follow-up discipleship. It is full of colorful pictures and a suggested Scripture to use as they present the Gospel message in a child-friendly way. After boys and girls hear the Good News, they receive a surprise that may be their first gift ever. They hold in their hands a tangible expression of God’s love. More than 75,000 of these shoebox outreach events take place every year.
Every shoebox gift is designed to be unique, representing how special each child is to God. Individuals, families, churches, and groups fill each shoebox with quality gifts—including school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and other fun items—for a girl or boy, ages 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Adding a personal note and photo often mean the most to a child. God can use the gift of a shoebox to open hearts to receive His love. Local Christians distribute the gifts during outreach events, telling the children about God’s Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ.
Ministry Partner Guide
See what an outreach event looks like:
“Let the little children come to me… for of such is the kingdom of God”
Answered Prayers in the Shoebox
“When we have money.” That’s what Kwale’s parents reminded him whenever the barefoot 13-year-old asked for a pair of shoes.
Stepping on a thorn wasn’t as painful to the Tanzanian boy as being looked down upon by his classmates and teachers for being poor. The teen considered begging or stealing to get a pair of shoes. But one Sunday when he went to church with his mother, there was an Operation Christmas Child event where children received a gift-filled shoebox. What was inside Kwale’s shoebox? A variety of gifts including a pair of shoes that were exactly his size.
Sending the Gospel to the Ends of the Earth
From jungles to deserts, megacities to remote villages, millions of people around the world have yet to hear the life-saving Good News of Jesus Christ. Samaritan’s Purse is delivering Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children in some of these communities to share God’s love even to the ends of the earth.
From Island to Island
We are taking the Gospel to half a million children in the Pacific Islands over the next few years as part of our commitment to “proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15, ESV).
In some parts of the world access to the Gospel is restricted, so we distribute specially packed shoebox gifts—many of them through Build a Shoebox Online. This provides a way for believers in these places to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in a culturally sensitive way.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
-John 1:5, ESV
Shoebox Gifts Reach a Family for Christ
In one hard-to-reach nation, two brothers, ages 10 and 12, each received their first gift ever in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. Being from a non-Christian background, they were surprised that their first visit to a church would result in such a wonderful gift.
One day, the church member who distributed the shoebox gifts visited the boys’ home. The family was eager to thank this man for the treasures in the shoeboxes. “I love Christians and want to know more about Jesus Christ,” the mother said. She began attending church and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She, in turn, shared the Gospel with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, resulting in eight adults and two children in the family actively attending church.
Unreached People Groups
People groups are considered to be unreached with the Gospel if less than 2 percent of their overall population professes a belief in Jesus Christ. To reach these groups, Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators, to translate Bible stories and our discipleship materials into dozens of languages where God’s Word isn’t known. Many of these are in oral-based cultures, where we are sharing the Gospel through solar-powered MP3 players.
In the mountains of Mexico, an area pastor named José Benítez started a church among the Nahuatl people after dozens of children and parents in the village of La Laguna came to faith in Jesus through Operation Christmas Child.
“I see a place where we’re going to be able to train young boys and girls to grow in the Lord and to go to other communities to share the Gospel” -Pastor José Benítez
Many boys and girls are invited to participate in The Greatest Journey discipleship course.
The Greatest Journey
After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited back to participate in our discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. Through this 12-lesson course, which includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization, they learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives as they share Him with friends and family. More than 23.3 million children have enrolled in this program since 2009.
Every aspect of this program, from teacher training to student materials, is implemented for just $6 a child.
Trained local church volunteers use The Greatest Journey Teaching Guide. This in-depth manual helps teachers tell the Bible stories in an engaging way and apply them to their students’ lives.
In The Greatest Journey workbook, the students are encouraged to follow along with each Bible story—asking questions, memorizing Scripture, and completing life application activities in class and at home.
The Greatest Journey Teacher Guide
The Greatest Journey Student Workbook
A local church volunteer leads children in a lesson of The Greatest Journey.
Greatest Journey Bible Game App for Kids
This game, based on our international discipleship program for shoebox recipients, encourages children ages 5-9 to learn about God’s Word and grow in their faith as they travel in time to witness Biblical events. It’s free to download on Google Play and the Apple App Store with no in-app purchases or advertisements.
A Graduation Celebration
After completing The Greatest Journey, children attend a graduation celebration and receive a certificate.
Most importantly, they are given a Bible that includes the New Testament and selected Old Testament stories along with a dictionary of Biblical terms and a map of Bible lands. Complete with illustrations, it is often the first copy of God’s Word the child, or their family, will own.
Family and friends who attend the ceremony hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hearing the Good News and testimonies during their loved one’s graduation reinforces the changes they have seen in the students’ lives, and their families often come to faith in Christ.
A New Testament in the student’s language
Learning to Pray in Jesus’ Name
It wasn’t until Daphne began learning about Jesus at age 10 through The Greatest Journey, our follow-up discipleship program for shoebox recipients, that she really started to understand who Jesus is and His power to transform lives. After completing the discipleship class, Daphne rereads lessons from The Greatest Journey with her grandmother and prays for family members to follow Jesus Christ.
“The Lord’s presence is the most beautiful thing… it’s more precious than a flower” -Daphne
As shoebox recipients and The Greatest Journey students share their faith with others, these friends trust in Christ and witness to even more people.
Since 2009, more than 11.2 million children have reported decisions for Christ while taking The Greatest Journey. These children as well as those who hear the Gospel at shoebox outreach events share their faith with friends and family—who in turn disciple others.
Pastor Waisea Liwaiono hosted an Operation Christmas Child outreach in Vunika, a rural community in Fiji that had no church. He then invited the children to attend The Greatest Journey discipleship program. As the students gathered for Bible lessons, their parents grew curious and began attending too. The local witchdoctor became a believer and offered his property as a place for the new church to meet. Today 80 people attend regularly, and five additional churches have been started in surrounding villages!
Shoebox Gifts Open Doors to Communities Without a Church
Tuya Tserendash left her lucrative business in Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar to go to Bible school at age 52. After graduation, she returned to the rural province where she’d grown up and became a church planter. Tuya holds Operation Christmas Child outreach events and The Greatest Journey discipleship classes in areas where there are no evangelical churches. As a result of the Gospel spreading through the communities, six churches have formed where none had been before.
National Leadership Teams consist of year-round volunteers from various evangelical denominations. Together they strategize how to reach all the children in their country with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With this approach, local Christians who know the culture and language best are given effective resources and a solid Biblical foundation so that they can communicate the Gospel within their own communities.
To ensure quality in our outreach events and The Greatest Journey courses, our National Leadership teams train Master Trainers who then train Trainers, who in turn, train local teachers.
From the shoebox packers who pray for the boys and girls who will receive their gifts to the local teachers who pray for the children who attend The Greatest Journey discipleship classes, prayer is key to the work of Operation Christmas Child.
Join Our Prayer Network
Pray year-round with Operation Christmas Child, aided by monthly prayer requests. Sign up to be a prayer network partner.
It Begins With You!
- Pack a shoebox! National Collection Week is the third week in November. Find gift ideas here.
- A $10 gift per shoebox helps with project costs such as collecting, processing, shipping, training local churches, and producing The Greatest Gift Gospel booklets.
- Pray: Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift. Including a personal note and photo makes a big impact.
- Support The Greatest Journey discipleship program: It takes $6 to provide a child with a discipleship workbook, a trained teacher, a graduation certificate, and a New Testament in their language. Give here.
Whether you volunteer with Operation Christmas Child short-term, as a local project leader, or year-round, you are helping to bring the Good News of the Gospel to boys and girls around the world. Learn about these volunteer opportunities, training, and resources.
- Short-term volunteers: Serve at a shoebox drop-off location or processing center
- Project Leaders: Lead your local church or group to become more involved in Operation Christmas Child through promoting shoebox packing.
- Year-round Volunteers: Mobilize Operation Christmas Child involvement in your community by joining a team of local volunteers serving in areas including team leadership, church mobilization, prayer, logistics, and others.
You are visiting the Samaritan’s Purse website for Operation Christmas Child Canada.
Click below if you would rather visit the site of one of our Samaritan’s Purse affiliate offices:
Samaritan's Purse Canada
20 Hopewell Way NE
Calgary, Alberta, T3J 5H5
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