Livia received her shoebox in a Romanian orphanage when she was 12.
All my life I really wanted hairclips but growing up in an orphanage where we had very little I could never get them. But I really, really wanted hairclips.
Then Operation Christmas Child came and there it was—a big packet of hairclips sitting at the very top of my shoebox! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought, How can someone give me something that I’ve wanted for so many years? Someone far away decided to pack it up, never knowing that it would be somebody’s dream come true.
I took the packet out. I tore it open and tried to put every single one of them in my hair. And I did!
There was a woman named Connie who was with me, an American missionary who was helping pass out the shoeboxes. She was trying to tell me to slow down. I said, “No, no. I want all my hairclips in.”
“Just put one to the right and one to the left, and you’ll look much better,” she said.
“No, I want all the hairclips in,” I insisted. So I put them all in and had them on the whole day.
I really wanted something to keep my hair off my face. I wanted to feel the wind touch my neck. When I got those hairclips I was so excited to finally be free of all the stuff that covers your face or neck or ears. Receiving those hairclips meant a lot.
“Someone far away decided to pack it up, never knowing that it would be somebody’s dream come true.”
Before we even got the shoebox gifts they shared the Gospel with us. That was something brand new to me. When I got the hairclips I just couldn’t believe how God could make something like that possible. It made me realize that there is a God who loves me. He loves me because he wanted me to have the hairclips.
As they went on about the Gospel, I was mesmerized by the words of love. How could anyone possibly love me? After 10 years of living in the orphanage, all of a sudden people were telling me that I’m loved.
I thought, There’s no way. How am I supposed to take this? I was really shocked to hear the news of not only God loving us but also people from all over the world. Love was a brand new word in my vocabulary.
The same year I received the shoebox I accepted Christ into my heart. The shoebox is almost nothing compared to knowing Jesus. There was so much joy. I wished I could tell everybody in the world that I accepted Christ.
It’s a different feeling because the things in the shoebox gift get lost or broken or used up, but our Savior never does. He’s always there for us. That’s what I love about it.
To have a God who loves us unconditionally every day to make up for the years of my life living in an orphanage, that’s the greatest gift of all right there.
Please donate $10 for every shoebox you prepare. Your donations will help cover project costs, including shipping (make one combined donation for multiple shoeboxes). Consider making an additional donation to help Samaritan's Purse go beyond the shoebox and expand assistance to children, their families, and their communities. Samaritan's Purse does not provide receipts for the value of gift items included in a shoebox.