A simple shoebox has the power to change a generation. If you've ever packed a shoebox full of gifts and sent it off to a child in extreme poverty through Operation Christmas Child here's the power your simple gift has had on generations.
-Last year 140,577 children became new believers in Jesus Christ through Operation Christmas Child
-This year alone, 9 million boxes have been collected
-Since Operation Christmas Child began, you have provided 100 million opportunities for children to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we celebrate delivering that 100 millionth box to the Dominican Republic this week, we also celebrate what happens next. Each child that receives a box is invited to join a discipleship program called The Greatest Journey. It's a bible school, kind of like Vacation Bible School in the US, but 12 weeks in a row. It teaches children what falling in love with God, and then following God is all about.
Because of the difference the shoeboxes, and bible school is having on family's lives here in the Dominican Republic, the government has made it a law that the Bible will be read and taught in every PUBLIC school in the country, and they've asked Operation Christmas Child to help. That's the power of a simple gift.
It's goes even deeper than that. Today, I heard this story about a teacher at the school where we delivered boxes. If a parent comes to the school to pick up their 12 year old little girl and demand that she go out to sell her body on the streets (which is common and legal in the DR) this woman refuses to let them take the child. She keeps the little girl with her and demands the parent finds another way to earn money.
Her hope is now with the Bible being read in public schools, that the love and hope of Jesus can now change this generation. This can free young girls from selling their bodies (and souls) to the highest bidder. I hope that they will no longer see themselves as an object to be used, but as a valuable and adored child of God.
And hope is not a wishy washy thing, it's a confident expectation of good things from God...