Thirty-nine percent of Ghana’s 25.1 million people are 14-years-old or younger. In the 2013-2014 season, 193,200 shoebox gifts from the United States will be delivered to children in Ghana, which first received the gifts in 1996. Since then, 1,415,214 children in Ghana have received a shoebox gift.
Children are freely offered Gospel storybooks along with their shoeboxes. The Greatest Gift booklet—printed in over 70 languages—contains colorful illustrations that explain the Good News of Jesus Christ in a simple, engaging style.
Operation Christmas Child offers a voluntary follow-up discipleship program to children who receive a shoebox gift. This year in Ghana, these Bible lessons will be offered to 30,000 children who receive a shoebox gift.
These 12 lessons guide children through a study of who Jesus Christ is, what it means to follow Him, and how to share this exciting message with others. Click here to learn more about the discipleship program and materials: The Greatest Journey.
To help these boys and girls continue to grow in their faith, we also want to provide them with their own copies of the New Testament. This special edition also includes select Old Testament stories, a dictionary, and a section that encourages the children to memorize Scripture.
Spiritual Impact Stories
Sharing the Greatest Gift
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17a, NIV).
While distributing Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts in a village in Ghana, a member of the National Leadership Team noticed the thickly calloused feet of a young boy. “Please, God, let this boy receive a pair of shoes in his box,” the woman prayed. The boy had never owned a pair of shoes and walked a total of six miles just to get to school every day. When the child opened his box, he found not just one pair of shoes, but two, and both pairs were just his size. The volunteer rejoiced when she saw that God had placed the perfect gift into the hands, and onto the feet, of this child.
A local volunteer reported: “A distribution to 377 children in the village was seen as a miracle for the community, because all 377 children received what they needed and their parents, who are subsistence farmers, could not provide items such as schools supplies–particularly pens, pencils, and notebooks–and personal items like shoes and clothing, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, (before this most of them used chewing sticks) and soap. Since then, everybody in the village goes to church every Sunday in a sort of revival atmosphere.”
After a shoe box distribution, a church in the western region started The Greatest Journey lessons. They completed the lessons within six weeks and now the pastors testify to changes in the lives of the children. “Those who used to steal have stopped, lying has stopped, truancy has stopped, and parents are now testifying to a change in the lives of their children.”
Beyond the Box
In addition to Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse is reaching out to the people of Ghana with a variety of medical relief programs. To learn more about our work, visit the Ghana medical page.