An Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift draws a Muslim family to Christ
Shukuran was drifting toward violence, but the Lord used an Operation Christmas Child shoebox to change this 12-year-old boy’s heart.
“When he received the gift we were very happy. That was the beginning of knowing God,” his mother Agnes Banda said. The toy cars, airplane, books, pens, and soap inside delighted both mom and son. Shukuran’s favorite part was “The Greatest Gift” Gospel booklet he received along with his shoebox.
Interested in what he read about Jesus, Shukuran accepted the invitation to come to The Greatest Journey classes offered by the local church in his Malawi village. [After receiving a shoebox gift, children have the opportunity to enroll in The Greatest Journey, the dynamic, 12-lesson Bible study course from Samaritan’s Purse that guides youngsters through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.]
That’s where he gave his heart to Christ. After the second week of the course, he asked his mother and siblings to attend church with him, where they also became Christians.
Sadly, Shukuran’s father immediately left his family because of their new faith. Now Agnes washes clothes and bakes to try and earn enough money to feed her children and pay their school fees. She often comes up short.
Despite these struggles, Shukuran is becoming a spiritual leader. Now with a changed heart, he is no longer obsessed with violence and is passionate about sharing God’s love. People affectionately call him “pastor” because he is always organizing events at church—including evangelistic campaigns for their community. His peers follow his example in outreach.
Pastor Henry Mankanamba, the actual pastor of the church, said of his protégé, “The same child who was rude became humble.” Shukuran forgave his father for abandoning the family and not providing for their financial needs.
Remembering Shukuran’s shoebox gift, Pastor Mankanamba said, “It was a drop of love. To them, it became an ocean.” Now with hope, his mother said, “I know when I go to God I will find help.”
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. For more information on how to pack a shoebox and how to volunteer, go here.