Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Middle East ~ Shoe Box Revolution
Simple shoe boxes filled with small toys and basic necessities are opening doors for ministry in places that would otherwise be closed. Over the past 17 years, over 3 million children in predominantly Arab countries have received shoe box gifts through Operaiton Christmas Child. For many it's the first Christmas celebration they have ever experienced.
In a region notorious for hostility toward Christians, the Gospel is being shared throughout countless communities. Churches are growing and working together with one purpose- to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
"Without Operation Christmas Child, we cannot share the Gospel in many areas," said one of our partners. (Because of security concerns, we cannot publish names or locations.)
In one country, a church had only a few children attending before shoe box gifts were distributed. Now 21 children attend with their parents.
In another location, a Muslim imam came to see shoe box gifts distributed. The JESUS film was presented, and the imam cried as he watched it. Later, he approached our partner, requested a Bible, and asked how to be saved.
After one gift distribution in a home, a family began meeting with Christian believers and trusted Jesus as their Savior. The mother began working with the Operation Christmas Child leadership team in that country and said, "I came to Christ because of this gift."
Evangelism in such settings demands great faith, courage, and tact. But the danger does not deter our partners, as they boldly follow the motto of the Apostle Paul: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16)
"If you are interested in expanding God's kingdom, pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child," said one of our partners in the Arab world.
*For the safety and witness of Operation Christmas Child national leaders in the Arab world.
*For the Lord to provide more opportunities to share the Gospel through Operation Christmas Child.
*For children and families to come to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith.