God Uses a Shoebox Gift to Answer the Prayer of a Young Boy in Africa

October 13, 2016 • Namibia

A child in Namibia asks for a Bible and receives one in his Operation Christmas Child shoebox

Pack a Shoebox

“God, I need a Bible,” prayed Terry, just six years old at the time. He lives in Arandis, Namibia, an English-speaking country in the southwest of Africa. His grandmother—his primary caregiver since he was 5 months old—taught him to love the Word.

In Namibia, Engela (center) pray with the children under her care.

Engela (center) prays with the children under her care.

“We used to play, sing, and read every day,” Terry said. As they read the Bible together, she also taught her grandson how to pray. “Close your eyes and talk to God,” she said.

But Grandma passed away July 11, 2015 due to complications with diabetes.

Terry now lives with her daughter Engela—his father’s sister—along with four other cousins whom he refers to as brothers and sisters. He misses his grandma tremendously, especially the time they spent in her Bible. He longed for one of his own to read.

“He likes God’s things,” Engela said, pointing to the fact that Terry will often pray and spend time in the Word before he does his homework.

Unaware that this might be unusual for a boy his age, Terry said, “I pray for people who are sad and very sick.”

Terry loves to spend time reading the Word of God.

Terry prays in his bedroom.

But Terry, now 7, is still a very ordinary boy. When his older sister Ruth was asked to describe her brother, she immediately answered, “Terry is sometimes naughty.”

One afternoon, Terry asked his Aunt Engela if he could borrow her room.

“We’re not borrowing rooms,” Engela said. “You have your own room.”

“I want to pray,” Terry persisted.

“Then you must go and pray in your room.”

“The kids are playing in my room, and they are disturbing me,” Terry answered.

Hearing this, Engela relented: “If it is for prayer, you can go in.”

There in his aunt’s bedroom, Terry prayed for his Bible and for some toy cars.

Answers Inside a Shoebox

A week later, Terry and his cousins were invited to church to receive Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes.

Terry raced home after the event, shoebox in hand, calling for his aunt, “Sister Engela, Sister Engela, I got what I prayed for. I got my Bible!”

Along with the treasured book, he found the toy cars he requested as well as some cards, a robot, and a letter that said, “Jesus loves you.”

“I felt like Jesus was giving it to me,” Terry said.

“I felt like Jesus was giving it to me.”

“I was very excited,” Engela said. “I was happy that God really answered our prayers.”

This single parent believes her mother would be proud that Terry received the Bible he asked for in prayer. “She would be very happy because she taught him how to pray,” she said.

Engela is grateful for each person who packs a shoebox gift. She said, “I just want to say thank you. Thank you that you make a difference in our lives, that you care for us and pray for us.”

She trusts their experience of God’s provision can encourage others. “I believe that God is always there for us,” Engela said. “I have seen the wonders He can do.”

Terry loves to spend time reading the Word of God.

Terry loves to spend time reading the Word of God.