Shoeboxes Open Doors and Hearts for the Gospel in Liberia

June 24, 2019 • Liberia
Children and villages across Liberia are experiencing the life-changing power of the Gospel.
Children and villages across Liberia are experiencing the life-changing power of the Gospel.

Through Operation Christmas Child outreach events and The Greatest Journey, communities are uniting, families are hearing the Gospel, and once-closed villages are inviting Christians to talk about God’s love.

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For nearly 25 years a road divided the two sides of Nyiela, a community in western Liberia that had separated itself into Muslim and Christian parts of town. The sides didn’t talk much and they didn’t cross over, not even for clean water or medical care—not even during the Ebola crisis. Tribal conflicts added to the divide.

Children in Liberia are hearing the Gospel through Operation Christmas Child outreach events.

Children in Liberia are hearing the Gospel through Operation Christmas Child outreach events.

Two years ago, though, things began to change when the local church decided to host an Operation Christmas Child outreach event. And instead of holding the event at the church or in a location on either side of town, they decided to shut down the road between them for several hours and use that thoroughfare as neutral ground.

Leaders and parents anxiously lined either side of the road as more than a dozen children gathered, laughing and playing and not realizing what a historic moment they were living.

“We told them we just want to share the love of Jesus,” said Pastor Alphonso Dean, National Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Liberia. “We gave these gifts to their children with no strings attached, we shared the Gospel, and children from both sides of Nyiela raised their hands to receive Jesus.”

And afterward the imam was amazed.

The Operation Christmas Child outreach in Nyiela united the village and also drew many children to Christ.

The Operation Christmas Child outreach in Nyiela united the village and also drew many children to Christ.

“He told us ‘These gifts are exactly what our children needed,’” Pastor Dean recounts. “This convinced them to let us come back and do another outreach event.”

That second event occurred in May of this year. Our ministry partners distributed more than 150 shoebox gifts to children from both sides of town. We praise God that many of these young ones received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and a number have enrolled in The Greatest Journey 12-lesson discipleship program.

Additionally, leaders on the Muslim side of Nyiela have generously donated two acres of their land to build a Christian church.

“The unity of the town has brought the children together, and now Muslims and Christians together are receiving The Greatest Journey training,” Pastor Dean said. “The region around Nyiela has become a major place for us to work.”

Showing God’s Love: No Strings Attached

The outreach has opened up opportunities to work in other places as well that were initially reluctant to allow Christians in. Some of these closed-off villages are now inviting Christians in to do outreach events and to teach The Greatest Journey lessons.

A road once divided Nyiela into two parts. Through the power of the Gospel, the town, its children, and its families are coming together.

A road once divided Nyiela into two parts. Through the power of the Gospel, the town, its children, and its families are coming together.

“This has served as a channel through which we can reach other Muslim communities,” Pastor Dean said, recounting a recent outreach in a neighboring village—this time inside the village mosque where the imam even allowed leaders to share the Gospel. “There are many things that the gift boxes are allowing us to do that would never have happened otherwise.”

Pastor Dean and other national leaders pray that these connections will allow for opportunities to meet other needs such as providing schools, medical care, and WASH programs to impoverished areas.

“We have been closed out for almost 100 years from some of these communities, and now we are receiving invitations,” he said. “They have gone from ‘No we don’t need anything from you’ to ‘Can you come? Can you come now?’ Because they are realizing that there are no strings attached and that our God is a God of love.”

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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