The below story is from the official Operation Christmas Child facebook page and demonstrates the power of a simple gift, and of love.
Raised in a Muslim family in Russia, Rustam grew up with war and hate. When he was just 13 years old, a group of guerrillas recruited him. He became an expert at handling an AK-47. All of that changed when his little brother went to a local OCC distribution and brought home a gift box. "There was complete silence," Rustam recalled, "as my brother opened the box from America. Everyone was shocked when they saw how neatly the box was packed with gum, toys, candy, and other things that all kids love. I opened the card on top of the box. I didn't know how to speak or read English, but I recognized one word on the card: Love. The next day, my brothers and I went to another meeting. I wanted to see an American, because I had never seen one. When we got there, I didn't see any Americans, but Russians who had risked their lives to come to our area to bring nice gifts for the children of war. Before they started giving the gifts away, a man raised a black book above his head. He said, ‘Your fathers and brothers fight with weapons, but this weapon is far more powerful than tanks or rockets. This is the Word of God. This weapon can cut through the human heart, burn away all of the hatred and evil, and replace them with love.’ Suddenly, in my imagination I saw American boys and girls sending their favorite things to us—who hate everyone—and I felt something happening to me. I have never cried, because I was taught that tears are not worthy of a soldier of Allah. But now I could not hold my tears back. I felt like the weapon that the man had described was burning through my heart. I went home after the meeting, secretly wiping away my tears. I then saw my younger brothers laughing and jumping, as each held a box in his hands. As they opened the boxes, excitement and joy filled our house. I raised my eyes to Heaven and said, God if you are the God who fills human lives with love, I want you to be my God.”