Operation Christmas Child - 080053 Operation Christmas Child

A shoebox gift turns sadness to joy

By Freddy Fonseca, Operation Christmas Child leadership team in Nicaragua

Earlier this year, I travelled to Ayapal, Nicaragua, where we were distributing gift-filled shoeboxes. In the church there, dozens of children were opening their boxes, but my gaze kept being drawn to a scene across the street.

There, I watched a boy who was sitting very still. His oversized shirt and stained jeans matched a pair of sad brown eyes as he sat on a shoeshine box in the dusty street.

For an hour, his gaze never wavered from the scene unfolding at the church. Looking miserable and lonely, the child watched the other children leave the church with gifts in hand.

Finally, I went over to him. “Why haven’t you been given your gift?” I asked the child.

“I can’t go into the church,” he answered. “If I go, my father would beat me. That’s why I don’t have a gift.”

I was struck by the boy’s resignation and hardship. Returning to the church, I picked out a shoebox just for him.

“Jesus sent a gift all the way to Ayapal just for you,” I told him. “God loves you so much!”

As I helped the boy open his shoebox, I watched the boy’s face change from sadness to joy. He became even more radiant when he saw the gifts inside!

Afterward, I had an opportunity to share the Gospel and helped the young boy make a decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. He was so overjoyed that he forgot about his shoeshine box and started running home.

I laughed and called loudly for him to come back. As the boy gathered his belongings and went home, happiness was written across his face. That child’s joy will never be erased from my mind.

Because of your partnership, Operation Christmas Child is bringing happiness and the hope of Jesus Christ to countless children like this one around the world. Thank you for your continued support!

Operation Christmas Child - 080053 Operation Christmas Child

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.