A simple gift brings joy and the Good News to a family in Nepal
The love of God reaches to the farthest corners of the world and can sometimes be demonstrated in surprising ways.
In Nepal, a nation nestled deep in the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains, His love is being shown through gifts that are lovingly packed into simple shoeboxes and delivered by local Operation Christmas Child partners. Though the gifts are small, God can use them to change the hearts of the children and families who receive them.
“My son’s name is Prakash,” said Laxmi Nepali. “The day he got his shoebox gift, he was so happy.”
Her son carried his shoebox with him everywhere. He even kept it by his side during meals. But, Laxmi did not feel the same joy as her son.
“I used to beat and scold my son,” she said. I used to get so mad.”
The family struggled with poverty, and Laxmi’s husband worked far away and was often away from home.
“We had nothing,” Laxmi said. “I had no support. But Prakash was so happy. He said, ‘Look Ma, I have a lot of gifts! The doll is mine. The pencils and paper are all for me!’”
After Prakash received his shoebox, Laxmi started attending the church that had delivered the gifts. When she started to go to church, she learned about the love of God and began to feel that He would take care of her family.
“God started to lead me in His way,” she said. “I went to church and I confessed my sin and gave my life to God. And then I escaped from all the anger and started to love.”
In a nation where 80 percent of the people profess to be Hindus, Christianity is only a fraction of the less than one percent of people who claim a different religion.
“To be a Christian in Nepal means that you’re different than a lot of the other people,” said Matt Foster, a regional director for Operation Christmas Child.
But, the great desire of local volunteers who work to deliver Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts in the country far outweighs the fact that they are in the vast minority.
“They’re so fervent to share the Good News,” Foster said. “They sacrifice so much, and that’s part of why there’s been such a tremendous growth of the church [in Nepal].”
Nepalese churches have been able to deliver shoebox gifts in some of their country’s most remote locations, from the tallest peaks to the lowest valleys. Before they started delivering shoebox gifts, sharing the Gospel was a difficult task. Many people did not want to listen to the Christians speak about the love of God.
“We have been struggling to reach out in the community because we are the Christians and we are the minority group here,” said Dhan Raj Ghimire, the national coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Nepal. “Now when we go with Operation Christmas Child, they like the gifts very much. It has been a wonderful tool to introduce us in the community.”
Through the dolls, stuffed animals, yo-yos, sunglasses, T-shirts, pencils, and even the toothbrushes that are packed in the shoeboxes, people in Nepal have seen that someone cares about their children. They find tangible love at the churches that deliver the gifts and begin to establish relationships with Christians who continue to demonstrate the love of Christ.
“The church can use this to open the door up so that ultimately they can enter into relationship, people can come to Christ, and churches can be planted,” Foster said. “It can transform a whole generation, transform an entire community.”
The change in each community begins with just one child, and one family, like Laxmi’s.
“Through that box, not only did I come to know God, I came to love Him, too,” she said.