Children at a rural church in Cambodia received shoebox gifts from Samaritan’s Purse to give them joy and the hope of Jesus Christ.
Andrew Conard works with Samaritan’s Purse in Cambodia as a water, sanitation, and hygiene program manager. Recently, he helped with a shoebox distribution in rural Banteay Meanchey province, Cambodia. This blog was originally posted on his wife’s blog.
Recently, I had the privilege of distributing shoeboxes to children in a rural village church. Although I have been in Cambodia working with Samaritan’s Purse for nearly three years now, this is the first time I’ve been able to participate in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution. I love how Samaritan’s Purse makes every effort to look for ways to integrate and work with local, nationally led churches—even the least of them.
The church building we were in was small, and it’s the only one for miles. This meant there was only standing room at the distribution. Before the distribution, the speakers gave a short presentation to the villagers about the meaning of Christmas.
The children were told to wait until the count of three before opening their boxes. They gave a nervous laugh when 2 and 1/2 was slowly said.
Then, finally, they opened their shoeboxes and tried to figure out what to do with everything they got—from slinkies to teddy bears, jump ropes to schools supplies.
The show was over quickly, and the kids were ready to take their new toys home and share them with their families and friends.
Operation Christmas Child’s goal is to give only one box to each child so that we can eventually reach every child in the world. A small box filled with small toys given to small children in a small church in a small village in a small country brings big smiles to kids and adults.
While it looks like its all fun and games, most of the work we do here in Cambodia is not quite as quick and easy. From building new schools to constructing BioSand Filters for families, from drilling wells to planting mushrooms, several years of hard work have gone into these communities as we work to help Cambodians facing huge challenges, especially in giving their children a healthy future. Please pray with us and consider supporting projects in Cambodia as we try to reach more people.