Operation Christmas Child

At the start of 2018, I had the privilege of going to Cambodia with Samaritan’s Purse to hand out the Operation Christmas Child boxes.

Samaritan’s Purse are an International humanitarian aid organisation. They aim to bring relief to victims of war, famine, disease, disasters, and poverty, and they often work in remote villages where no other aid organisation works. None of the children they come into contact with have ever received a present - and so Samaritan’s Purse began a project called “Operation Christmas Child”, which gives people an opportunity to put together a shoebox of small Christmas gifts for a beautiful child living in need around the world.

Shoeboxes are filled, sent to Samaritan’s Purse warehouses, and are then shipped to hundreds of countries where staff and teams on the ground deliver them. Approximately 10 million shoeboxes are delivered every year!

It really does give you a huge perspective shift when you see children who have absolutely nothing and yet are so filled with joy and contentment! And the look of pure joy on their faces when they received their very first Christmas present made us all cry! To play with a slinky for the very first time, to own your own soccer ball, blow up your first balloons or own your first toothbrush was beyond a dream. I found a journal entry from the day we handed out the first boxes:

"Today we drove 6 hours to Kratié, had lunch and then drove to a very rural village to distribute the Operation Christmas Child boxes. I'd honestly been dreaming of that moment from when I was little...to be one of the people who actually gave those boxes to the children. It was not what I was expecting at all, but it was absolutely incredible and such a dream come true!
We taught them a song ('My God is so Big'), played over + under and captain ball, and then gave them their presents. And this was the first time they had ever received a gift! It was interesting to see their different reactions....some of them were so excited and would take out their gifts one by one, and others weren't quite sure what to do with them or seemed afraid that it wasn't for them or someone would take it away from them. But they were so filled with joy! One girl I sat with I asked what was in her box. She opened it and the only thing she wanted to pull out was a booklet called, "The Greatest Gift" (in their language), which explains the Gospel. I pointed to the picture of Jesus on the front and said, "Jesus!" She looked at me, smiled and nodded, and was so eager to keep reading her booklet!
I think the most exciting part about seeing them open their boxes was knowing that they now have an opportunity to learn about Jesus! And this is the start of their journey! So exciting. After they receive their boxes they're invited into a 12 week discipleship program. Apparently there are 10 million shoeboxes distributed across the world every year, and from those boxes about 2 million children become followers of Jesus! So so incredible."

It's so beautiful how just a small shoebox filled with inexpensive gifts can change the course and direction of a child's life. And that's why THE TRIBE has chosen to support this wonderful project.

We'd love you to join us! Click here to find out how you can be involved.

Tess XO


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