God Is Using The Greatest Journey to Transform Lives in Latin America

June 19, 2023 • South America
The Greatest Journey, a discipleship initiative of Samaritan's Purse, empowers children to impact their families and communities in Jesus' Name.

Empowered by discipleship through Samaritan’s Purse, children all over Latin America are reaching their families and communities for Jesus Christ.

The Greatest Journey

On the backs of elephants, through jungles, and over distant mountains, many faithful and dedicated Operation Christmas Child volunteers joyfully deliver gift-filled shoeboxes to every corner of the globe.

Dozens of children graduate from The Greatest Journey program in Colombia, receiving a certificate and a copy of the New Testament in Spanish.

These gifts provide local churches in remote locations unique opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a tangible manner during Operation Christmas Child outreach events. Churches then are able to follow up through The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program that provides children with a deeper understanding of the Gospel, the Kingdom of God, and how to follow Jesus and share Him with others.

In much of Central and South America, the Gospel might be talked about but it’s not well understood. Ancestral beliefs color the Latin American culture blurring the line between truth and heresy. To help break this stronghold, The Greatest Journey, known in Spanish as “La Gran Aventura,” goes beyond the shoebox gift to teach children the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Taught by trained local teachers, the course equips thousands of boys and girls in Latin America to reach their families and communities for Jesus Christ.

Dayla in Peru

A young girl named Dayla from Peru used the message she heard through The Greatest Journey to reach her family. In one of the lessons, participants write prayer requests on a piece of paper, which they liken to “storms” they want Jesus to calm. Dayla approached the teacher and asked her to write: “Dear God, I ask you to make my mom and dad come to your church with me. I don’t like to come alone with my grandmother.” She crumbled the paper, put it in the box, and began to pray earnestly and intently. Through a child’s prayer, God brought Dayla’s family to church with her.

Boys and girls throughout Central and South America are hearing the Gospel and learning day by day how to follow Jesus Christ in lives of faith.

Boys and girls throughout Central and South America are hearing the Gospel and learning day by day how to follow Jesus Christ in lives of faith.

Juan in Colombia

For Juan, a 12-year-old boy from a small town in southern Colombia, a simple soccer ball from an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift revealed the love of God. Now instead of using old fabric assembled into a makeshift ball, Juan kicks a real soccer ball and uses it to share God’s grace to all his friends and family. He tells them where he received the ball as well as the Bible stories he is learning through The Greatest Journey. As a result, Juan’s mother has heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now attends church with her son.

Ernesto in Mexico

For 12 weeks Ernesto attended the local church, learning more about Jesus and strengthening his faith through The Greatest Journey program. On the way to graduation, his shoes broke and without any other option Ernesto ran to his graduation barefoot. That was until two boys on the street let him borrow a pair of shoes. After graduating with shoes five sizes too big, some of his fellow graduates bought him a new pair. Little did they know that Ernesto was abandoned by his parents and lived with his grandparents who could not afford shoes. Simple acts of kindness show the impact the Gospel of Jesus Christ has on these young children.

More than evangelism, Samaritan’s Purse works through the local church to form a new generation of bold believers of Jesus Christ.

Pamela in Bolivia

In La Paz, Bolivia, Pamela, 10, received a T-shirt, a doll, a pair of shoes, and much more inside her gift-filled shoebox. Beyond the temporal gifts, however, Pamela was able to hear about the everlasting promises of God.

“After receiving the gift, I passed a discipleship course of 12 assignments, in which I remember having learned some topics such as creation (in which God created everything), helping my neighbor, and that I must trust in the Lord Jesus,” Pamela said. “At the end of the discipleship, they gave me a certificate and a beautiful Bible, and I really liked it. I will continue reading it.”

Closing their eyes to pray, young children in Peru are taught the significance of communication with God through The Greatest Journey program.

For children like Dayla, Juan, Ernesto, and Pamela, a humble shoebox gift opened the door for a relationship with Jesus Christ, but it was the lessons taught from The Greatest Journey program that sparked a flame for the advancement of His Gospel in their respective communities. Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” God is using Samaritan’s Purse to give children who are otherwise overlooked an opportunity to be disciples of Jesus Christ with an eternal purpose.

Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.(Matthew 9:37-38). God is answering those prayers through The Greatest Journey, the discipleship program Samaritan’s Purse offers for boys and girls who receive shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child. We train teachers and supply local churches with everything they need—including Bibles for graduates. Through The Greatest Journey, over 3.8 million children have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, and 4.2 million have promised to prayerfully share the Gospel with friends and family.
The Greatest Journey Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is filled with people who have childlike faith. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). We praise God that more than 17 million children have made decisions for Christ through The Greatest Journey. When they graduate, we present them with the New Testament in their own language so they can continue to grow in their faith and share Jesus with friends and family members. Your gift of $6 per child will enable us to train local volunteer teachers and provide all the materials for the 12-lesson course, including the graduation Bibles.

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Suggested Gift: $6, or $6,000 for a thousand children