The Unexpected Gift

April 15, 2016 • Haiti

A shoebox recipient receives Christ and shares the Gospel with her family

Pierre Julien is a pastor and the ministry program manager for Samaritan’s Purse in Haiti. He returned to Haiti, his home country, after the earthquake in 2010.

During 2015, Samaritan’s Purse Haiti focused its projects in Trouin, Leogane, a small town of 10,000 people. The ministry program team incorporated discipleship activities in this area by distributing 2,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children. More than 1,800 children started The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program started after receiving a shoebox gift; 796 children graduated from the program; and 201 received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.


Rosemène’s parents on their wedding day

Each shoebox is an opportunity and a bridge to connect a child’s heart with Jesus Christ. Sometimes, a shoebox connects not just a child but an entire family to Christ. The gift is filled with delightful goodies that brings excitement to the beaming child opening his or her thougthfully packed box for the first time. It’s also a gift that continues to give long after the candies have been consumed, the toys played with, and the excitement has settled down.

For one of our graduates, 14-year-old Rosemène Verdieu, the box held an unexpected gift—the gift of eternal life! After her fourth Greatest Journey lesson, Rosemène learned that she was a sinner. She realized that God loves her and made provision in Christ to give her eternal life if she would repent of her sins and put her faith in Jesus Christ.

Stirred by this lesson, she approached Pastor Samuel and asked him to pray for her because she desired to receive Jesus Christ in her heart as her Lord and Savior. She returned home happy that day and shared her experience with her parents.

Her parents weren’t married but had cohabited for 25 years. Hungry for the word and knowledge of God, Rosemène started attending church services regularly at Pastor Samuel’s church. Later, at Rosemène’s request, Pastor Samuel visited her family at their home and explained to them what had transpired in Rosemène and how they could assist her growth in her newly found faith.

The pastor also encouraged the family to accompany Rosemène to church sometimes. The family accepted the invitation and one Sunday attended church with Rosemène. After the service, both of her parents were moved by the message and accepted Christ in their hearts. The family requested a pastoral visit for prayer in their home, and Pastor Samuel gladly conducted the visit.

Immediately, the couple was convicted of their ungodly lifestyle and realized they needed to be married. Subsequently, they requested the pastor’s assistance in facilitating the arrangements. The couple participated in a family enrichment seminar hosted by Samaritan’s Purse and was married on December 26, 2015.

Haiti The Greatest Journey

Rosemène with her parents

Each time I witness how the Spirit of God transforms someone’s life, my zeal is reignited, and I’m encouraged to continue my spiritual journey. I’m convinced that there is nothing too hard for the Lord! It pleases my soul to watch God use a shoebox and a child to bring this couple out of spiritual darkness into His marvelous light.

When Rosemène went to her first Operation Christmas Child meeting expecting to receive a shoebox filled with perishable gifts, she had no idea that wrapped up in that box was also God’s imperishable gift of eternal life—for both her and her family. It was a joyful moment when the three of them received baptism. They found the great gift of eternal life nestled in the midst of one ordinary looking shoebox!