This is the time of year that we thank God for sending his Son by giving to send missionaries to spread His Gospel around the world. This "too good to be true" message can change the lives of millions as God blesses and multiplies our gifts, just as the same Gospel has changed our own lives.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Mathew 22:36-39
"The concept of Operation Christmas Child began on October 10, 1990, when Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales were watching a broadcast on Romanian orphanages. They asked the question: How can we help the real victims, the children, who live in these situations day after day? They knew they could not stop the wars, but they could offer something - the give of love. Together, they filled a convoy of nine trucks with medical supplies, food, clothing and Christmas gifts for children, and headed into Romania, which had recently been devasted by war. This was the beginning of the world's largest children's Christmas program."
In 1993, Franklin Graham, the International President of Samaritan's Purse, adopted Operation Christmas Child. Since then, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been delivered to hurting children in more than 135 countries.
Adrian was just a small child when he was abandoned by his parents. He grew up in Ecuador thinking nobody loved him, and he encountered problems in school. His life was changed forever at age 12 when his aunt and uncle invited him to an Operation Christmas Child gift distribution at a local church. "There, I met Christ," Adrian said. "Now I know I'm not alone. God loves me and he loves me a lot. Thank you for the shoebox and the biggest gift of all, Jesus."
Elena's Russion home was dirty and cold. Her mother and father drank all the time and left Elena and her sister without food, sleeping on beds with no linens. They did not attend school until Elena was 8 years old and she and her sister were placed in an orphanage. Elena and the other children were brought together for a special shoebox gift distribution. It was Elena's first time receiving a gift that was wrapped, which made her feel loved, hopeful, and worthy. Because she always had to focus on caring for her younger sister, receiving a gift from someone packed just for her made a huge impact on her life. However, the biggest impact that day was receiving her "The Greatest Gift of All" booklet that told the story of Jesus' love for her. It was the first time in Elena's life she had ever heard about that kind of love before, much less been embraced by it.
Please watch the following two videos to see what is happening with the children around the world when they receive a gift as small as a shoebox.... eternal life.
As we celebrate this Christmas season with our family and friends, remember that just a pocket of change can help to bring children to Jesus. Thank you to everyone who contributed this year. We were able to send 100 shoeboxes, with a message inside about Jesus' love, around the world.