Faith from Tennessee Brings Smiles in Iraq

October 20, 2015 • United States
Bassam, a six-year-old Yazidi boy, received a shoebox last year thanks to a family in Tennessee. The Yazidis are an unreached people group who have been persecuted ruthlessly by ISIS. Most Yazidis hold to  beliefs that combine aspects of mystical Islam with Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion.
Bassam, a six-year-old Yazidi boy, received a shoebox last year thanks to a family in Tennessee. The Yazidis are an unreached people group who have been persecuted ruthlessly by ISIS. Most Yazidis hold to beliefs that combine aspects of mystical Islam with Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion.

Faith Russell's concern for suffering children spurs many to give and brings joy to young Iraqis displaced by ISIS.

Faith Russell has been overcoming challenges all her life. She was born with the worst form of spina bifida.

God has given Faith Russell a heart to bless other children around the world. She and her church have packed hundreds of boxes.

God has given Faith Russell a heart to bless other children around the world. She and her church have packed hundreds of boxes.

“When we were told that Faith would never walk and that her life would be of no quality for her, I lost hope and it was a dark time,” said her mother, Robin. “But I had hope in Jesus Christ, and that’s what pulled me through.”

Faith endured three surgeries within her first year and then shocked her doctors by learning to walk at 21 months, even though she has no feeling in her feet. As Faith has grown up, God has given her a heart for disadvantaged children and those in crisis.

Click Here to Build a Shoebox OnlineShe celebrated her eighth birthday by holding an Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing party. She set a goal of 50 and shared it with her church, Oakland Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee. The congregation of 100 packed gifts for 150 children.

Naveen, an Iraqi child displaced by ISIS, received a shoebox from Faith last year.

Naveen, an Iraqi child displaced by ISIS, received a shoebox from Faith last year.

Last year, Faith encouraged her church to double their goal, and they packed enough for 300 children. Among those were two that Samaritan’s Purse delivered to refugees in Northern Iraq—one packed by her brother Griffin that went to six-year-old Bassam, and one from Faith that went to Bassam’s five-year-old sister Naveen.

Bassam’s name means “smiling one” in Arabic. Even after all his family had been through—uprooted by ISIS terrorists, trapped on barren Mount Sinjar, and spending the winter in a condemned chicken house—his face lit up when he received a gift-filled shoebox last year from Operation Christmas Child. It was one of 60,000 shoebox gifts that Samaritan’s Purse airlifted to children in Iraq who were displaced by ISIS in 2014.

“The child who receives a shoebox [may have] a mom who might feel hopeless because she can’t feed or clothe her child. In that shoebox that mother can find that same hope that I had in Christ,” Robin said.

Faith Russell prays over gift-filled shoeboxes that will bring good news and great joy to little children across the globe.

Faith Russell prays over gift-filled shoeboxes that will bring good news and great joy to little children across the globe.


You can read and watch more of Faith’s story here.

You can read and watch more on the 2014 Operation Christmas Child shoebox airlift to Iraq here.

You can build a shoebox online right now.

More