In many parts of Togo to be born blind is to be born cursed. Families and communities superstitiously fear the disability.
Annani, who is visually impaired rather than totally blind, was nevertheless rejected by his father and scorned by teachers and classmates. In the latter case, he was shamed because he couldn’t see the blackboard in the classroom of his village school.
“You can’t see. What can you do?” Annani recalls his teachers telling him.
The Village of Light School for the Blind took him in several years ago and, since coming there, Annani has succeeded academically and even discovered a love for geometry.
“People think that because the children are blind they don’t have the capacity to learn or be educated,” said Raoul N’souglo, the school’s principal. “They don’t understand that a blind boy is just like any other boy but with his eyes not working.”
Even more important for students than success in school, though, is knowing God loves them. We praise the Lord that blind and visually impaired students at Village of Light were recently blessed as they received Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.
Annani found a tennis ball, a mechanical pencil, and a soccer ball in his shoebox. He also got an invitation to The Greatest Journey classes, a 12-lesson discipleship course for shoebox recipients. Annani came to understand the Gospel through the Bible study
“I realized that I am a sinner and that Jesus Christ came and died for my sins. I accepted Him into my life,” Annani said.
Raoul says that Operation Christmas Child is so powerful for these students because it reminds them that people around the world care for them and that God does, too. Cynthia Hamelo, a national leader with Operation Christmas Child in Togo, said students were ecstatic to open their gift boxes.
“The children were so happy despite the fact that they couldn’t see the things,” she said. “They touched the gifts and said ‘What is this?’ and ‘What is that?’ They jumped for joy. They felt loved.”
Josephine said her favorite gifts were a doll, a cup, and a bag of plastic building toys.
“When I found the doll in the box, it gave me a lot of joy,” she said.
And as she joined The Greatest Journey classes, what she learned about God also filled her with joy—especially learning that God created her in His image.
“It means a lot to me that, though I am visually blind, I know that I am made in God’s image,” she said. “Through The Greatest Journey I learned about Jesus. That he took our sins. That he died on the Cross for our sins. When I finished the Greatest Journey classes I received Jesus. He is the one who is filling us every morning and every evening.”
For more than 25 years, Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, has partnered with local churches in more than 100 countries to distribute gifts to boys and girls in need and tell them about God’s Greatest Gift—Jesus Christ.
Be a part of blessing children around the world by prayerfully packing shoeboxes. You can build and send a shoebox online any time.
The Greatest Journey is an exciting evangelism and discipleship program designed to teach children how to become faithful followers of Christ and to share their faith with others. We offer the program to children who have received Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Boys and girls who complete The Greatest Journey course receive graduation certificates and New Testaments in their own language. We’re able to provide all the study materials, a graduation certificate and New Testament for only $6 per child.