Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Miracles Abound

When you meet people who have been on distributions of the shoeboxes you will inevitably hear about how God is working in the big and little ways.. and some that seem nothing less than miracles. This story is an older one, but worth reading.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Music Teacher's Stuffed Animal Shoe Box Gift Links American And Armenian Families

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

ROANOKE, VA  (ANS) -- Katie Hall doesn't know why she walked into a certain apartment complex on a hot August afternoon in Armenia, writes Jenny Kincaid in Virginia's "Roanake Times" newspaper.  (Pictured:
An Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift recipient).

"No other members of her mission team from First Baptist Church in Roanoke had visited there, and Hall went there on her own, along with several Armenian translators. Already that day at least three doors had been slammed in their faces when they tried to share the story of Jesus Christ," said Kincaid.

For about 10 days, Hall, 26, of Vinton visited homes in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, spreading the Gospel with seven other members of her mission team from First Baptist, Kincaid said.

"But Hall's message had already gotten to one family months before she met them," she wrote.

"After Hall talked with Nyges, a 10-year-old girl, and her mother and grandmother about the story of Christ, Nyges brought out a shoe box wrapped in paper decorated with snowmen. She opened a book from the box that detailed the life of Christ in Armenian.

"But when Nyges pulled out a stuffed animal monkey, Hall began to cry. The monkey was the same one that she and her mother had placed in a wrapped shoe box in December and sent through Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham." Kincaid said.

Operation Christmas Child has sent shoe boxes filled with toys to needy children throughout the world each Christmas since 1993.

Kincaid said that for the past three years, Hall and her family have donated boxes through Lynnhaven Baptist Church in Vinton.

"When she pulled out that monkey, the tears would not stop," Hall said. "I knew that was my box."

Kathy Blecker, who works in Operation Christmas Child's mid-Atlantic field office in Maryland, said that last year Operation Christmas Child delivered shoe boxes packed by people in 10 countries, including the United States. An estimated 6 million children in 95 countries received boxes. About 10,000 boxes were sent last year from people in the Roanoke and Salem areas, Blecker said.

Children in Armenia have received boxes for seven years, Blecker said. Last year, about 111,000 were distributed in that country.

Paige Greene, community relations manager with Operation Christmas Child, which is headquartered in Boone, N.C., said the office hears miracle stories every year about how children's lives have been changed with the shoe boxes.

But Katie's story "is what I would call a top-of-the-line OCC miracle," Greene said.

"I'm amazed but not surprised. God does this," she said.

Hall said the Armenian family was excited when she told them that she had packed the box.

"They had heard that we were there, and they said they had prayed that we would come visit their home," Hall said.

"You can read the faces of the Armenian people very well. When my translator translated to them, you could see the joy on the mother's face. The girl just hugged me immediately."

Hall said she believes God placed her in that apartment for a reason.

Throughout much of the trip, she said she felt as if she didn't have the skills to share the Gospel. She met the family on the last day of the team's service in Yerevan, which along with the rest of Armenia continues to suffer economic hardship from the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Hall, a music teacher at Glen Cove Elementary School, said she's ready to return to Armenia someday as a missionary.

"My perspective has changed on what I think is important," she said. "I have a deeper love for the people of Armenia.

"God had a plan in all of it," she said.

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