In Korca, the Words of Life church has been transformed because of Operation Christmas Child. Attendance in Sunday school increased from 20 children to 110 children. In August, the church reinforced its work with the children through a week-long day camp. All of these things have been the result of the Operation Christmas Child program.
A 14-year-old boy shared he lives only with his mom because his dad abandoned them when he was 4. His life was very sad because of the many arguments he had with his mom. One day, a friend invited him to a children’s event where he received a shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child. That day, he learned that God is always with him. He prayed and confessed his sins, and accepted Christ as savior. The next week he started the discipleship program where he got to know Jesus and His love. His mother wasn’t a Christian. He decided to change his attitude so she would know Jesus too. When he graduated, he asked his mother for forgiveness and they cried together. The most special thing was that his mother decided to accept Jesus in her heart too! Now, they go to church together and he knows that, even though his father abandoned hem, God will never do the same.
Five years ago, Pastor Sosa organized a small distribution for some children in a remote community in the Stann Creek Valley. Most of the children were immigrants whose parents worked on the citrus plantations in grueling conditions. After the distribution, the children kept coming back to the area where the shoebox gifts were given out. Pastor Sosa began to organize Sunday schools for the children in the yard of one of the parents. A church congregation grew out of the outreach. He later moved to the area, and today the church meets under a thatch/zinc shelter in the front of his yard. The shelter was erected with the help of some of the parents. He plans to continue ministering to the community and to obtain land on which to build a permanent facility.
One of the young women who helps with the shoebox distributions in the north shared that she came to Christ through the ministry. She said a local church delivered the message of Christ along with the gifts to the homes of all of the children in the village. One of the houses that they visited was hers. The visit raised several questions in her mind, including why these people came to see them and gave gifts to her children and showed all of this love. As a result, she started to go to church and became a believer. She now serves with the children’s ministry and participates in the distribution of the shoeboxes each year.
Miroslav was abandoned by his parents from birth and was brought up in the orphanage system. He has special needs and finds a way to express himself through the arts. He draws all the time and makes cards from different natural materials. He shared that he ran out of colored pencils. In his Operation Christmas Child gift, he found a pencil box with everything he needed to draw, as well as a set of paints.
At Nakaswa True Revival Church, there were many youth from 12 to 14 years of age who could not read the Bible. When the shoebox gifts and discipleship program were introduced in the church, they became more interested and began to read and study the Bible. They have now become more rooted in God’s Word and they can now share with other children in their community.
At the Rey de Reyes church in Boyacá, a little girl was invited to the shoebox distribution. She didn’t have any underwear, and in her box she found six pairs! She went to her house to share her joy with her mom. Her mom started going to church and now all of them have God in their lives.