Edward Graham, the grandson of the late Billy Graham, says Operation Christmas Child reaches more children and unreached people with the Gospel than any other global evangelistic event.
“More kids have heard about Christ through these shoebox distributions than ever heard about Christ in stadiums with my grandfather,” said Graham, vice president of programs and government relations at Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. Each year, participants fill shoe sized gift boxes and send them to more than 160 nations all over the world.
In one village in Africa in 2016, Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts were delivered to Himba children. The Himba tribe includes about 50,000 semi-nomadic people who mostly practice ancestral worship.
After the Operation Christmas Child outreach for some 130 children in the village, 46 children and six young adults asked to continue learning about Jesus.
For those children, Operation Christmas Child has a 12-lesson discipleship program, The Greatest Journey, a study that shows what it is to be a Christian and how to share the Gospel message.
“A kid doesn't care, a kid goes out and lives their faith and they've been so bold,” Graham said. “I saw that in Mexico and that's happening here with the Himba. These are unreached people groups, kids that have never, would never, hear the Gospel. God is using something simple, as a simple shoebox full of toys to pierce the heart of darkness. I love that and I'm so excited about it.”
According to The Christian Post, villagers now have a church building where some 100 Himba gather to worship.
“Just like what we saw in Mexico, that village is very proud of their church and where they worship the Lord,” Graham said. “And they want other villages, they want their neighbors to see, and they go out and they share that news and that message and the Gospel. It's so encouraging for me to see.”
Photo courtesy: ©Operation Christmas Child Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.