from the Samaritan's Purse blog at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/examples_of_christs_love/
December 21, 2012
Examples of Christ's Love
Samaritan’s Purse makes a large impact in Georgia through Operation Christmas Child by giving gift-filled shoe boxes to children living in poverty.The people of the Republic of Georgia have seen their own series of hardships over the past decade, especially when the Soviet Union fell. But when a country suffers as a whole, everyone feels it—especially the children.
“In 2008, Georgia also had war so there are many children who are victims of those wars,” said Vitaly Dudukaloff, who works with Operation Christmas Child. “They don’t have parents. They don’t have future[s]. They don’t have past[s] because the war destroyed everything.”
Dudukaloff says that after the Soviet Union fell, the Georgian people saw extreme poverty and economic struggle. While Georgia has seen high poverty rates for years, 28 percent of the children, a demographic that makes up a quarter of Georgia’s population, live beneath the poverty line, according to SOS Children’s Village International.
It is because the need is so great that Operation Christmas Child can truly open a huge door to the hearts of many children and their families.
“This is a great opportunity to give gifts,” local Georgian pastor Genadi Romanadze said. “We get to share the Gospel with them. We invite them to small groups, Bible studies and to talk to the parents.”
During one Operation Christmas Child shoe box distribution, the children immediately started clapping once they saw the boxes even enter the room.
“The kids are always excited and happy,” volunteer Guliko Koshkeli said. “Some even cry because they got what they needed.”
More than 1.2 million shoe boxes have been distributed by Operation Christmas Child in Georgia—1.2 million children whose lives were impacted directly with an example of Christ’s love for them.
“When the church packs shoe boxes, the church here gets a very important tool that they can use,” Dudukaloff said. “I see that these shoe boxes really soften their hearts so that children begin listening to what you’re saying to them when they see the shoe boxes coming.”
Even a local ministry opened as a result of the impact Operation Christmas Child was making on the children. The organization, Noah’s Ark, serves children that live on the street, begging for money. Through this ministry, they provide the children with meals and teach them how to read and write.
“Parents and society ignore these children. We teach that Jesus loves them and died for them,” Marina Usupyan, a Noah’s Ark volunteer, said.
More children in the Republic of Georgia and around the world need to be reached with the Gospel. Volunteers like you who pack shoe box gifts make a lasting impact on children everywhere. To join the movement and pack your own shoe box for a child in need, visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/occfor more information.