‘Thank You So Much for Bringing Me to Jesus’

April 16, 2024 • Cambodia
Each of these boys is grateful to receive their shoebox gift, packed with prayer by someone around the world!

Letters from children in rural Cambodia reveal how they came to faith after receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift and participating in The Greatest Journey discipleship program.

Operation Christmas Child

Millions of Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are packed for boys and girls in need around the world each year, many of which include an email or physical address inviting the child to write back.

If you have ever packed one of those boxes and wished you could hear from the child who received it, let the letters below from Cambodia encourage you with how God is using every prayerfully packed shoebox gift to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

From Makara, a 14-Year-Old Boy

“I live in Trokeat village of Takeo province in Cambodia. I love sports, and, in the future, I want to become a doctor.

“My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. My life had no hope.

“One day I was invited to New Life Baptist Church in my village. I saw a lot of kids show up and sit down in rows by age. I was wondering [what it was all about] but I just sat down with them as well. During the event, the teacher showed us a poster about creation.

“She mentioned that man is the best creation of God because He created man as in His own image and He loved [people] like us with all his heart. That’s why we should love others as ourselves because God is [the Father of all]. I was very sad in that moment because I never felt love from my parents. My heart was broken. A little tear came out of my eyes, but I wiped it away before my friends saw it.

Cambodian boys and girls wait in anticipation for the moment they can open their gift-filled shoeboxes.

“After the class, the teacher shouted out loud and told us, ‘We have a gift box for everyone in the class.’ I was surprised when she lifted the cloth and there were so many boxes underneath it. Everyone said, ‘Wow!’

“She passed out one gift box to each one of us. I held the shoebox tightly. I began to open it gently. [This time,] tears came because I was very, very excited. There were so many balls, pens and pencils, many little cute toy cars and trucks, a notebook, nice shorts and a T-shirt, underwear, a toothbrush, and a pen bag, which I never had in my life.

”I know now that Jesus is in my heart. He is always in my life. He gives me hope. He gives me joy—my heart is full of peace.”

“My heart was so happy. I began looking at my friend and everyone around was excited and happy, screaming loud. This was the most excitement I’d experienced in my life. I felt so warm. I felt care. I felt love from the teacher, and she invited me to come back for The Greatest Journey discipleship class the next day.

“The next day, me and my other friend came back for The Greatest Journey. During the class, I admitted that I was a sinner. I was always angry at my parents, angry at myself, and unhappy with all circumstances in my life.

Many shoebox recipients like Makara and Lim attend The Greatest Journey discipleship classes in Cambodia.

“I have asked forgiveness from God and asked Him to come to my heart and save me from my sin and be my Savior.

“I know now that Jesus is in my heart. He is always in my life. He gives me hope. He gives me joy—my heart is full of peace. I always come back to The Greatest Journey class because I want to know about Him, and I want Him to guide me by His will.

“Thank you so much Operation Christmas Child for bringing me to Jesus!”

From Lim, a 12-Year-Old Girl

“I live in Somroung village of Kandal province, Cambodia. I love bicycling. In the future, I would love to be a teacher.

Each child receives a copy of The Greatest Gift Gospel booklet along with their shoebox gift.

“I was very excited when I received the gift box because it’s the first present that I have ever received in my life. I was so excited, tears started to come [as I had] joy in my heart. When I opened my gift box, I saw a lot of things that I have dreamed for, and I wished I could have—such as hair clamps, pencils, colored pencils, dolls, shoes, a bracelet, a necklace, and a beautiful dress. All these things I never expected to have. I began feeling care and love from someone I never knew.

“Through The Greatest Journey discipleship class, I made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“The next day, I came to the Gospel Community Church again. Through The Greatest Journey discipleship class, I made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As I was studying, I learned that God is seeking me every day. I knew I was lost. I asked forgiveness and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and want to know more about Him and His will for my life. My favorite Bible story was about how David was able to kill the lion and Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

“Thank you so much for the gift box. You have brought me to God!”

You can be part of how God is writing stories like these in the lives of other children around the world. Pack a shoebox and invite your church or group to do the same. You just might receive a letter like one of these!

Operation Christmas Child Through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse is sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with millions of boys and girls in more than 100 countries each year. Many of these children have never before received a present or heard the true meaning of Christmas—until they open a gift-filled shoebox from a person like you. Some people are not able to give the $10 per shoebox we request for shipping and related costs. By adopting a shoebox, you can partner with them to deliver the Gospel and help "bring salvation to the ends of the earth" (Acts 13:47, ESV).

Operation Christmas Child 013477
Adopt a Shoebox: $10 | Adopt a Carton of 15 Boxes: $150