Fourteen percent of Ukraine’s 44.5 million people are 14-years-old or younger. In the 2013-2014 season, 432,768 shoebox gifts from the United States will be delivered to children in Ukraine, which first received the gifts in 1995. Since then, 6,642,592 children in Ukraine 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 Ukraine, these Bible lessons will be offered to 80,000 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
“My name is Anna, I am 9. In my life miracles just do not happen always. I live with my mom, and I don’t have a dad. That’s why I don’t always have what I want. My mom has to work a lot, though it’s hard to find a job in the place where we live. To sell fish in the marketplace is the only option. Very often my mom is not at home. That’s why I spend my days as I like and where I like. And once – I think it was during the school break, there were some people – men and women who came to me to bring me a gift. I was very surprised. My first thought was that it’s not for me, but they confirmed that it was mine. So, thank you everybody – I don’t know who you are and how you happen to know me that you’ve brought me a gift. I am very glad and I tell everyone – just believe – the miracles come true! I am sure about it. Then those people told me that God has concern for me and He will not leave me and my mom alone if we would come to Him in prayer.”
A local volunteer said: “Some of the gifts were given to the children of my friends who are very poor. The grandmother is bringing up these two children because their parents are alcoholics. And last year this family went through a tragedy – their other boy died. These kids are deprived of parental love and care, and they were so glad to receive the gifts. They were impressed that somewhere in the world there are people with kind and generous hearts who could make these wonderful gifts for them. The girl got some good toys, clothes and some hair accessories, while the boy got some good stationary and hygiene stuff. I want to thank from my whole heart on behalf of these children to all people with a big heart who are taking part in this ministry with Samaritan’s Purse. And I want to say – keep going, don’t give up when you do good! May God bless you!”
A Tiny Thread of Trust
A local volunteer reported: “We live in a small but beautiful place. Our house is located on a crossroads from the center of our settlement to the hospital, and from the bus station to the market place. So, wherever you go you can’t miss our house. That’s why even beggars don’t miss us. The door is always open. There are many beggars who are passing by, but I had sympathy for one girl especially. I don’t know why, but it seemed like a tiny thread of trust connected us together. When I was opening my door to her she kept saying: ‘It’s me again…’ This year we had a Samaritan’s Purse shoe box distribution. I took one of the shoe boxes with hope that during the holiday she would come to visit me. So, the little beggar girl came. I asked her to call her mom. When they came together, I offered them to sit down and told them the Good News of Jesus Christ. The girl was very attentive, and in the end she wanted to pray a repentance prayer. Her mom was following her. And then I gave her a shoe box. You should see her eyes and hear her laughing, when we have opened it together. At the top of the box a doll in bright blue dress was staring at her. I gave them an invitation to come to the church service and they left. I believe that the seed of faith which I’ve planted will produce its fruit in this small and still pure child’s heart. The girl’s name is Valya; she is 6-years-old.”