Providential Meeting Changes Lives in Central Asia
God uses a shoebox gift to draw a boy to Christ just days before his death.
As Pastor Gadi returned from distributing shoebox gifts to children in a village several miles from the capital city, he saw two boys standing on the side of the road selling nuts. He suddenly felt compelled to stop and share the Gospel with these two boys.
Pastor Gadi pulled his car up next to their little table and bought a bag of walnuts. He asked the boys if they had ever heard Jesus Christ, and both said they hadn’t. Pastor Gadi joyfully told them about God’s Greatest Gift, his Son Jesus Christ, and gave them the two shoeboxes in his car that were left over from the earlier outreach event.
Both boys were excited about their gifts, but one of them, named Amir, seemed especially touched by the act of generosity.
“I believe you, mister,” he said. “I believe that Jesus came to save me from sin.”
“I believe you, mister, I believe that Jesus came to save me from sin.”
Amir gave Pastor Gadi his phone number and asked him to call if he ever visited that part of their country again.
“That day when he brought that box, he was shining, I thought the Most High God touched him with His love. He was different.”
A few weeks later, Pastor Gadi planned to travel back to Amir’s area, so he called his new young friend’s number to check in on him. An adult male voice answered. Pastor Gadi explained that he’d bought a bag of nuts from Amir and given him a shoebox gift. He added that he was just calling to see how he was doing.
After a long pause, the man said that he was Amir’s father and began to cry.
“What happened, sir?” asked Pastor Gadi.
“Amir was knocked down by a car when he was selling the nuts. We buried him a while ago.”
“I am sorry to hear that, sir. Please accept my condolences,” said Pastor Gadi. “I have no doubt he is in heaven with the Lord God.”
The pastor was about to say goodbye when the father began to beg, “Please, do not hang up the phone! Can I invite you to come and visit my home and meet with the family?”
Pastor Gadi was happy to oblige and visited Amir’s family the very next day, which was just three days after the boy’s death.
As they served him tea and food, 10 to 15 family members told Pastor Gadi about how honored they felt that he’d bought nuts from Amir. They explained that he was an excellent student at school, and that he sold nuts by the side of the road because he loved his family very much and wanted to help them. They remembered that Amir came home from his work very excited the day he met Pastor Gadi.
“That day when he brought that box, he was shining,” said his grandfather. “I thought the Most High God touched him with His love. He was different.”
What’s So Special About a Shoebox Gift?
“Amir died, but because of his death, so many people were saved!”
The family asked Pastor Gadi to explain what was special about the shoebox gift.
This gave Pastor Gadi the opportunity to explain that they would see Amir again if they believed in the Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ, who came from heaven to die for their sin and rose again. He invited each of them to pray and ask God to forgive their sins and become their Lord.
Amir’s mother and grandfather accepted Jesus into their hearts. Pastor Gadi gave them a Bible and the grandfather immediately began poring over the Scriptures. A few weeks later, they were baptized and joined the local church.
Amir’s mother later said, “Jesus is my life! I can’t live without Him.”
The family keeps the shoebox gift Amir received from Pastor Gadi as a special remembrance. Pastor Gadi’s nephew said, “A ‘normal’ family would treat this gift as a bad omen and get rid of it as soon as possible. But the Lord used this box as the seed for a new life for the whole family.”
Pastor Gadi said, “They all said they were very much comforted after I shared the Word of God with them. All that I told Amir that day when I gave him the box, he shared with his family two days before he was killed.”
But God had mercy on this family and brought them new life in a variety of ways. There were three boys in Amir’s family, but his family always wanted a girl as well. Shortly after Amir’s death, God gave them a girl and they named her Miriam after the Biblical woman.
Looking back on the whole experience, Pastor Gadi reflected, “Amir died, but because of his death, so many people were saved!”