God Opens Hearts Through Shoeboxes in Boise and Beyond

November 20, 2019 • United States

Manny and Wen now serve as year-round volunteers with Operation Christmas Child after Manny was saved through an experience at a collection center.

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God has used gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to bring millions of children and adults to faith in Jesus Christ overseas. He also uses shoeboxes to draw people to Himself here in the U.S., as Manny Ma and his wife Wen Li of Boise, Idaho, can well attest.

Wen Li and other Operation Christmas Child volunteers help prepare shoeboxes for shipment at Boise Chinese Christian Church in Boise, Idaho.

Wen Li and other Operation Christmas Child volunteers help prepare shoeboxes for shipment at Boise Chinese Christian Church in Boise, Idaho.

Wen accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior in 2007 after a co-worker shared the Gospel with her. Wen told Manny about her newfound faith, but he didn’t want anything to do with Christianity. “I gave Manny a Bible and for 10 years he never opened it,” Wen said. “He wouldn’t go to church either. His heart wasn’t open yet.”

In 2016, the Boise Chinese Christian Church, where Wen attended, opened its doors to become an Operation Christmas Child collection center, and Wen volunteered to help. Manny volunteered, too, although he had little interest in shoeboxes and less interest in Jesus. He only came to support his wife. But as Manny worked alongside other volunteers they shared Bible verses with him and explained the Gospel. They also prayed for him. “So many people were praying for Manny,” Wen said.

The Lord saved Manny Ma at age 57, and he now serves year-round with Operation Christmas Child.

The Lord saved Manny Ma at age 57, and he now serves year-round with Operation Christmas Child.

One day, an 87-year-old woman brought two gift-filled shoeboxes to the church, and an older gentleman walked in and handed Manny $20. The man said he didn’t know how to pack a shoebox but wanted to financially contribute toward them. On the surface, these were two average moments. Nothing special about them. But God used them to transform Manny’s life.

“When I touched the two shoeboxes and the $20 bill, I could feel they were a tangible love that God brought,” Manny said. “I felt that was the time when God did something (in my heart).”

Later, children from a daycare center delivered more shoeboxes and stacked them on tables. They then placed their tiny hands on the boxes and prayed over them. “And I realized then that God’s work has no age limit,” Manny, who was 57 at the time, said. “There is no nationality…It’s all God’s work. At that moment, I decided I wanted to become part of God’s mission.”

Manny Ma and his wife Wen Li place Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes into a carton for shipment to children in need overseas.

Manny Ma and his wife Wen Li place Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes into a carton for shipment to children in need overseas.

Manny returned home and started reading the Bible Wen gave him a decade earlier. He also started attending a Bible study and worship services.

“My wife always prayed that I would be saved by Jesus. But it didn’t go to my heart until three years ago,” Manny, now 60, said about his conversion. “It’s by God’s grace that I am a part of His family.”

Manny and Wen now volunteer year round with Operation Christmas Child and oversee the Boise area central drop-off location where over 17,000 shoeboxes were collected last year. They know firsthand the impact shoeboxes can make.

“This small box of gifts is life,” Wen said. “Every single box not only has tangible gifts inside, they each also contain lots of love and prayers. I love to tell people that they aren’t just packing a small box because it has a huge impact to share the Gospel.”

Manny Ma speaks with Operation Christmas Child volunteer Kim Vance who received a shoebox gift as a child in Southeast Asia and shared her story with members of the Boise Chinese Christian Church.

Manny Ma speaks with Operation Christmas Child volunteer Kim Vance who received a shoebox gift as a child in Southeast Asia and shared her story with members of the Boise Chinese Christian Church.

Manny agrees. “Operation Christmas Child spreads God’s work, God’s love, and God’s actions all over the world and brings people to Christ.”

Even in Boise.

This article and video are part of our 2019 Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Roadshow. For more on this online cross-country journey, including additional short videos, please go to the Roadshow landing page.

Update: National Collection Week ended Nov. 25. You can still help bring Good News and great joy to a child in need by building a shoebox online.

SUPPORT
Through our Operation Christmas Child project, God has given us unparalleled opportunities to touch the lives of millions of boys and girls in over 150 countries. Many of these children have never received a gift and never heard the true meaning of Christmas—until they open shoeboxes filled with gifts from people like you. Some of these gifts are packed by young children or people on fixed incomes who simply cannot afford to include the $7 we request for international shipping and related costs. When you adopt a shoebox, you are partnering with them to deliver their gifts and show God’s love to a precious child.
Operation Christmas Child Through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse is sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with millions of boys and girls in more than 100 countries each year. Many of these children have never before received a present or heard the true meaning of Christmas—until they open a gift-filled shoebox from a person like you. A requested donation of $9 per shoebox provides for collection, processing, and shipping, as well as Gospel materials for the child. If you or your church/group are packing multiple shoebox gifts, please consider making your combined donation here. Or, give to cover the cost for those unable to include $9 with their packed shoebox.

Note: If you would like to discover the destination of your shoebox(es), please give instead through our Follow Your Box page.


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Send a Shoebox: $9 | Send a Carton of 15 Boxes: $135
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