Samaritan’s Purse is praising God for providing more than 100 million shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child since 1993. Each of those boxes represents an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, and everyone who has packed a box has been a part of God’s plan to impact over 100 million children. There is “Good News, Great Joy” in one simple gift, and Alex is just one of the children whose lives have been touched by a shoebox.
“I was born and raised in Kigali, Rwanda. My mom died when I was very young, and I never knew my dad so my grandmother raised me. Growing up, Rwanda was going through a time of war that later took my grandmother’s life. There were many times I could have been killed. Looking back I realize that without God’s grace and protection I would not have survived.
After my grandmother was killed, I began living with my aunt. She became ill and decided to put me in an orphanage. A few months later, she also passed away. I was left in an orphanage without hope. I asked myself, “If there is a God who cares for His people, why would He let a million people lose their lives?”
I was seven when Operation Christmas Child came to my orphanage and delivered shoeboxes. I remember how excited I was to receive that gift! A gift that planted a seed of hope and love in my life. Opening my shoebox and seeing all the items in it was a special moment that I will never forget. Something as small as a candy cane brought a smile to my face and ultimately changed my life. I hope and pray that I will get to meet the person who packed my shoebox. If not here on earth, in heaven!
Later I got the opportunity to travel and sing with the African Children’s Choir. While I was with them, I was being taught about God’s love for me, and the plans that He has for all His people. I started to see and understand that God was with me all the time. I saw how He saved my life and that it was not a coincidence, but a part of His plans. That’s when I accepted God into my heart.
Operation Christmas Child uses simple gifts to meet great needs in Jesus’ name. God uses the shoebox gifts to remind children how much He loves them no matter what they are going through. Every box tells a child they are loved. And they are not forgotten. I was one of those children. I am very thankful for what God continues to do through Operation Christmas Child.”
– Alex Nsengimana