Special Report

A Project of Samaritan's Purse

Every box is an opportunity to reach a child with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”—Franklin Graham
President, Samaritan's Purse

Your Shoebox Gifts Travel to the Ends of the Earth!

10,569,405 Shoebox Gifts Collected in 2019

Many children around the world have never heard the Gospel message of eternal life in Jesus Christ. They live in hard-to-reach, impoverished communities where parents struggle to provide the basics. Rarely, if ever, do the children receive a present that's just for them.

This year, more than 10.5 million children in over 100 countries and territories received shoeboxes full of special gifts. And, for the first time, these children heard that God loves them. This has resulted in evangelism, discipleship, and multiplication across the world!

Shoeboxes were packed by individuals and families in 10 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Island Nations Receive the Gospel

1,000 Pacific Islands to receive shoebox gifts
in the next
5 years

Just a few months before children on the island of Saipan received shoebox gifts, they were in the middle of a terrifying typhoon that damaged and destroyed thousands of homes. Some families lost all their personal belongings and could not return home for weeks or months.

The shoebox gifts brought joy, hope, and excitement to children who had survived this powerful typhoon. Most importantly, the children heard that God loves them and had not forgotten them.

The distribution on Saipan was part of an initiative launched by Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham to distribute shoeboxes to 1,000 Pacific islands in the next five years.

Some of the same local churches that worked with us during our disaster response partnered with us again and hosted these shoebox outreach events in areas hit hard by the storm.  Read the Full Story →

Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them!”—Isaiah 42:10

A Family Transformed by the Gospel

Bryce's mother couldn't believe that someone she had never met would send her 4-year-old son a shoebox filled with books, cars, and hygiene items. She was so moved by this incredible generosity that she encouraged her son to attend the church where he received the shoebox.

A few years later, Bryce accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He boldly shared the Gospel with his family and now his parents and brothers are Christians, too!

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”—Romans 10:13

“I am so grateful for the one who packed the shoebox that changed our lives—as a whole family,” his mother said.

Shoebox gifts collected in 2019 will be distributed to 118 countries and territories, including 27 hard-to-reach countries not named for security reasons.

Pacific Islands 80,000+ Shoeboxes 8 Countries
South America 1,575,000+ Shoeboxes 12 Countries
Central America
& Caribbean
1,860,000+ Shoeboxes 14 Countries
Europe 792,000+ Shoeboxes 16 Countries
Africa 4,009,000+ Shoeboxes 36 Countries
Asia* 994,700+ Shoeboxes 5 Countries *We are working in many Asian countries that cannot be named.
Countries not named
for security reasons
1,226,000+ Shoeboxes 27 Countries

Helping the Next Generation Follow Christ

4.3 Million Enrolled in The Greatest Journey 2.2 Million Reported Decisions for Jesus Christ

Queen lives in a poor village in Botswana where children rarely receive presents, not even on their birthdays or Christmas. So, Queen was thrilled when she opened her Operation Christmas Child shoebox and saw all the wonderful gifts.

Her favorite item was a toothbrush—she had never had a toothbrush.

The young girl put her faith in Jesus Christ after learning through The Greatest Journey lessons that God created her and loves her. Now, Queen wants to become a Sunday School teacher and help others grow in their faith.

“I want to help my friends by teaching them about God and what He has done.” Read the Full Story →

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”—1 Timothy 4:12

The Greatest Journey Celebrates 10 Years

2009 The Greatest Journey Begins 23.3 Million Children Enrolled 11.2 Million Reported Decisions for Jesus Christ

The Greatest Journey began in 2009 in Ecuador, and now, 10 years later, children in Ecuador and all over the world are still being taught God’s Word and how to share their faith with family and friends.

The remote jungle village of Sicha Puma in Ecuador has no electricity or running water. Children must walk almost one hour to reach the nearest school. Jobs are scarce, and poverty fuels desperation and despair.

Yet, Flor and other members of the village's small church refused to give up hope of a better life for the children. They had been praying for a way to teach the children about God. They wanted them to learn to follow God and avoid the pitfalls of alcoholism that so tightly gripped many of their parents.

Their prayers were answered when an Operation Christmas Child outreach event came to the community and children were excited to participate in The Greatest Journey. The children needed a place to meet, and all Flor had to offer was her simple wood and tin house along a dusty road, but she was eager to do so.

Ecuador Children who participated in The Greatest Journey still meet at Flor’s home for weekly Bible study.

The children enjoyed the discipleship lessons so much that although the program is finished, they still gather on Flor's porch every week for Bible study.

“My entire heart is in The Greatest Journey,” Flor said. “Having the children here in my home is the greatest thing because they have a chance to be saved.”

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.”—Deuteronomy 6:6–7
South Africa

Starting Churches Where There Are None

For 20 years, Pastor Jose trekked up and down a curvy, steep, and often flooded mountain road to share God's love with the indigenous Nahuatl people. Although his journey was dangerous, and the people were not interested in the Gospel, he did not give up—he believed that God had a special plan for this remote mountain community.

When the pastor heard that an Operation Christmas Child outreach event was coming to the village he knew this was the answer to many years of praying. He rejoiced when God used Operation Christmas Child to bring dozens of children to faith. The community did not have a church building, so Pastor Jose taught the children The Greatest Journey discipleship lessons under a mango tree.

Pastor Jose has had polio since age 2 and uses a scooter to get around since he can't walk. He wears a glove on the one hand that he uses to push the scooter. “This has not been an impediment in any way to take the Gospel to those who need it,” he said. “It's God who brought me to this place.”

In 2019, the community dedicated its first church building and celebrated the baptisms of children who became Christians during Operation Christmas Child.

The Nahuatl are considered to be unreached because their population is less than 2 percent evangelical Christian.

And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”—Romans 10:14

The Gospel Comes to the Himba

The Himba in Namibia are also unreached and in 2019 they, too, dedicated their first ever church to God's glory.

Namibia The church in Ombaka grew as shoebox recipients spread the Gospel among their family and friends.

The church started after children heard the Gospel and placed their trust in God during an Operation Christmas Child event and The Greatest Journey. As the children shared the Good News with family and friends, more people came to faith and the church continued to grow.

“Before Operation Christmas Child came, we had never heard of Jesus. Now, we have abandoned witchdoctors and seek God alone in prayer and worship,” said Pastor Kuyelia.


They Got a Shoebox, Now They’re Giving Back

40,740 Shoeboxes given in Georgia 140,000 Children Enrolled 53,000 Reported Decisions for Jesus Christ

Darina grew up in a home where her father was often drunk. He abused her mother and beat Darina and her siblings. Darina's father spent all of his money to feed his drinking habit, leaving the family unable to buy enough food.

One day, she prayed to God: “If you really exist, please help me and change my life.”

A year later, Darina received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift during a distribution in her small village in the country of Georgia. She began attending Bible studies at the church where she received the shoebox. She learned more about God and committed her life to Jesus Christ at age 15.

“I will never forget that day,” Darina said. “I was the happiest person.”

As she grew in faith, she began telling her neighbors about Jesus. She also made the decision to forgive her father for his actions.

Darina continued to see God at work in her life when she met her husband at a Christian camp. Now, they serve the Lord together with their young daughter.

Georgia About 140,000 children have learned more about God and His Word through The Greatest Journey.

Darina is helping her church distribute Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts and she also teaches The Greatest Journey discipleship course to the boys and girls who receive these gift-filled shoeboxes.

Ecuador Diana received a shoebox gift when she was 8 years old. Now, she helps host outreach events and teaches The Greatest Journey.

Across the world in Ecuador, Diana, 28, hosts shoebox distribution events at the Christian camp and conference center where she and her husband are coordinators and counselors. They also teach The Greatest Journey.

Diana received a shoebox when she was 8 years old: “That day I felt loved because people who didn't know me gave me a gift. It changed my life. It was a beautiful gift from God.”

Diana began attending church and a few years later she gave her heart to Jesus. Diana prays that the children she reaches now through Operation Christmas Child will also grow up to serve God.

“Everything they receive in the shoeboxes may get lost, but what they won't lose, which is something I have never lost, is the love of God.”

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”—2 Corinthians 5:17

The Right Box for the Right Child

Duke had prayed many years for one thing—something to protect his feet as he ran and played on the blistering, dusty, and dirty ground. He had to borrow shoes because he had never owned any of his own. During an outreach event in Duke's community in South Africa, the young boy was thrilled to open his shoebox and find a pair of red flip-flops!

South Africa Duke found a pair of flip-flops in his shoebox—the very gift he had prayed to receive!

And when Vanessa found a Bible in her shoebox, she knew God was at work in her life. Vanessa had come to faith in Christ a few months earlier and desperately wanted a copy of God's Word. She starting reading the Scriptures right away, went through The Greatest Journey, and grew in her relationship with God.

South Africa Vanessa, center, received a certificate and New Testament Bible after graduating from The Greatest Journey
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.”—James 1:7

Working Together to Bring Good News and Great Joy

4,713 Drop-off Locations 84,543 Drop-off Location Volunteers 8 Processing Centers 112,000 Processing Center Volunteers

“As we touch each shoebox, we’re lifting them up in prayer—the child that will get it, the country it's going to, the impact it will have,” said Mary Moore, shoebox drop-off location team leader in Belle, Missouri.

U.S.A. Volunteers prepare shoeboxes for international shipment at eight processing centers across the country.

Mary attends First Baptist Church, which is the drop-off location for Belle community. For the past 23 years, the church has hosted an Operation Christmas Child dedication service and churches from the area come together and pray over the shoeboxes they have packed.

Shoebox gifts collected at First Baptist and at nearly 5,000 other drop-off locations across the country are then transported to one of eight processing centers where volunteers will inspect and prepare the boxes for international shipment.

In addition to processing center and drop-off location volunteers, God is also using our year-round volunteers who serve in a number of unique roles, such as community relations, logistics, prayer mobilization, student relations, and church relations.

During the 2019 Shoebox Roadshow we met a number of shoebox packers who are sending great joy and the Good News of Jesus Christ across the globe. Our team traveled to different stops across the country to see how individuals, families, and churches are being creative as they support the ministry of Operation Christmas Child!  Read the Full Story →

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”—Ephesians 2:10

Thank you for your faithful prayers and continued support of Operation Christmas Child. Please join us in praying for boys and girls all over the world to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and for their lives to bring Him much glory.