Local church leaders in Namibia and around the world are now using a new guide to meaningfully present the Good News of Jesus Christ to children during shoebox outreach events.You Can Pack a Shoebox
A new resource from Samaritan’s Purse is equipping local churches around the world to share the Gospel more effectively with children. Designed for Operation Christmas Child outreach events where shoebox gifts are distributed, the colorful Ministry Partner Guide illustrates the Gospel beginning with creation and going through Christ’s resurrection. As local church leaders utilize this interactive format, children are invited to receive Jesus as their Savior. It is now available in 46 languages with more in production.
In the southern Africa nation of Namibia, for example, a little more than an hour drive from the coastal tourist town of Swakopmund, the Ministry Partner Guide was used to teach 300 children who attend the boarding school in the village of Spitzkoppe. This name literally means “peak heads,” referencing the red mountains that jut out of the semi-desert landscape around them.
The older children in the school gathered in a nearby church for a lively time of singing and dancing before sitting on the floor. (The altar and lectern are the sanctuary’s only furniture.) A leader opened the Ministry Partner Guide to show the children pictures of the six days of creation while glancing at the prompts on another page for suggestions on what to say. When an invitation was given, most of the room stood to pray and invite Christ into their hearts.
“It Attracts Their Minds”
Petra Ondigo watched the event from the edge of the room. An experienced Sunday School teacher, she utilizes the Ministry Partner Guide at Operation Christmas Child outreach events in her community of Arandis, home to one of the largest uranium mines in Namibia.
“I find it quite user-friendly,” Petra said.
She used to share Bible stories with very few pictures, but they didn’t hold the children’s attention. Now with the Ministry Partner Guide she has numerous illustrations to accompany Bible stories.
“It attracts their minds,” she said.
When she doesn’t serve with Operation Christmas Child or volunteer at church, Petra works in community development among Namibia’s poor.
She became a believer at 17 and has been active in ministry ever since. Not until this year as she prepares to turn 60, however, did she start focusing on children.
“It’s like something new opened to me,” she said. “I see [that] if I love God, I must also love children.” Now she focuses on both parents and kids. She believes that if she can’t reach the parent, then perhaps she can reach the child. Then they may bring their mothers and fathers to Christ.
Not Just for Use with Shoebox Gifts
Petra finds the Ministry Partner Guide to be such a helpful resource that she uses it outside of Operation Christmas Child outreach events. She teaches from it during her Sunday School class in order to reinforce the message of the Gospel with her students. She also uses it in devotions with her extended family because the children are drawn to the pictures.
Petra believes that the lives of the poor can be changed through Operation Christmas Child. “By investing in the children, you are making better citizens who can build up their country,” she said. “Once these children know that with God all things are possible, you change the current mindset that is there.”
As children gain the mind of Christ, their potential is limitless.