By Rick Lamothe, Operation Christmas Child International Regional Director for Africa
I have been working with Operation Christmas Child for a year now. In little more than 12 months, I have flown to over six different countries, ranging from West to Central Africa. What a ride it has been (literally)!
Here are just a few of the words that came to my mind to describe my experiences:
Chaos. Poverty. Dangerous. Perseverance. Determination. Faith. Incredible.
Many stories stand out from the past year, but one trip to Guinea-Bissau this past December particularly impacted me.
Before I arrived, I knew that Guinea-Bissau, Africa, is among the poorest countries in the world, and is plagued by political instability. (I had trouble getting into the country in 2012 because of it).
Yet in the midst of the crisis, Josefa-the National Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Guinea-Bissau-and her team are doing an incredible job.
While I was there, I met Anna-Maria. Three years ago, this amazing woman gave away Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoe boxes in her home. Today, her ministry has grown and is having an eternal impact in her country!
In December, I stood in a church in Guinea Bissau, Africa that was filled with 120 children because of Anna-Maria’s heart for serving others and the impact of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. The children that received shoe box gifts three years ago are now teaching younger children using The Greatest Journey discipleship curriculum.
“A church of kids!” I thought to myself. I was blown away. What an incredible sight: a beautiful little church with children worshipping and learning about the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus.
Christ can make such a difference, not only in the lives of these children in Guinea-Bissau, but in their families, their country, and the world! And it all started with a shoe box!
Please continue to give and pray for the Operation Christmas Child ministry. I’ve seen how a woman of faith, a shoe box, and most importantly, God’s power can bring a church to life.
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.