Musical Toy Lamb Played "Jesus Loves Me" and Boy Couldn't Forget It

February 19, 2018 • Georgia
Temo Galustian, 30, of Tbilisi, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, was recently reunited with the toy lamb he received in his shoebox gift at age 14.
Temo Galustian, 30, of Tbilisi, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, was recently reunited with the toy lamb he received in his shoebox gift at age 14.

Temo, now the discipleship coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in the Republic of Georgia, vividly remembers his first contact with the project.

Temo Galustian was 14 years old when his grandmother, Galina, invited him and his sister to her church for an Operation Christmas Child outreach event.

“It was a beautiful place, not because of the outstanding architecture or decorations, but because of the gift boxes,” Temo said. “We heard about the loving God and received our shoeboxes with wonderful things and toys. We were filled with joy and happiness. In my box, there was a musical lamb with a sticker on the bottom with Operation Christmas Child logo and the lyrics: ‘Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.’”

But soon Temo forgot about his lamb and the words of love he heard at his grandmother’s church. He began to hang around with the wrong crowd, but he remembered the tune and words of “Jesus Loves Me.”

“The song was following me all the time.”

“I was an unbeliever,” Temo explained, “but from time to time I would catch myself singing or whistling it. The song was following me all the time.”

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Surrendering to the Lamb of God

Temo grew up and got married. His wife Nina became a Christian believer and began praying for her husband to come to know Jesus as well. She kept asking him to come hear a message about the Lamb of God who went to the Cross to die for his sins. On a Sunday during Advent 2010 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Temo finally agreed.

“I had no hope in life. I tried everything,” Temo said. “I had nothing to do, so I said I’ll go.”

Temo shows where he first saw the Operation Christmas Child logo and the lyrics of “Jesus Loves Me.”

Temo holds up the toy lamb where he first saw the Operation Christmas Child logo and the lyrics of “Jesus Loves Me.”

That particular Sunday, Nina prayed that her husband would come to know the hope that only the Lamb of God can give. The pastor preached on this hope and Temo gave his life to Jesus.

Since 2012, both Nina and Temo have distributed shoeboxes to needy children in their city through The Salvation Army where Temo currently serves as a lieutenant.

“When I saw the Operation Christmas Child logo when we distributed shoeboxes to poor children, it seemed to me that it was very, very much familiar,” Temo said, “but I could not remember where I saw it before.”

“It Was Like Electric Shock”

In 2017, Temo went into the bedroom of his young children Alexander and Anastasia to pray with them and tell them a bedtime story.

“Come on, kids, let’s pick up these toys and put them into their box. Then I will tell you an interesting story,” Temo said.

Temo teaches from the Samaritan’s Purse Ministry Partner Guide in his current role as discipleship coordinator on Georgia’s Operation Christmas Child National Leadership Team.

Temo teaches from the Samaritan’s Purse Ministry Partner Guide in his current role as discipleship coordinator for Operation Christmas Child’s National Leadership Team in the Republic of Georgia, part of the former Soviet Union.

He kissed Alexander and Anastasia and the three of them began working to pick up the toys.

Stumbling upon the white lamb from his shoebox gift, Temo said, “Wait a minute! Where did you get this lamb?”

“Grandma Galina brought it the other day, Daddy,” Alexander said.

Temo said, “It was like electric shock, and I suddenly remembered where I saw the Operation Christmas Child logo for the first time!”

That night in his children’s bedroom, he wound up the lamb and the toy played “Jesus loves me, this I know…”

“Unbelievable,” Temo said, “it still works!”

With tears running down his bearded cheeks, he sang along with the song for Alexander and Anastasia. The tune had reached another generation.

Editor’s notes: Temo now serves as discipleship coordinator on Georgia’s Operation Christmas Child National Leadership Team.

The idea for these toy lambs that play “Jesus Love Me” came to the late Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Dr. Billy Graham, after hearing about an orphaned Rwandan girl who sang the comforting tune. For more than two decades, thousands of these toy lambs have been distributed in Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.

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 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 $9 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.

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Adopt A Shoebox: $9 | Adopt A Carton of 15 Boxes: $135
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