Bonny and a Plastic Camera

Bonny and a Plastic Camera

“Even today, when I think about the shoebox, I smile.”

I grew up in a village in Uganda with my dad, mom, and brother. Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the whole world. People can’t afford even the little stuff like toothpaste and soap. We didn’t even have basic needs. Without a lot, we had to share.

This gave me a desire to steal to have something of my own. One time, I was walking to church and I saw a pair of sunglasses sitting on a table. I thought they were really cool and I took them. The shopkeeper saw me. He grabbed my hand and just slapped me.

When I got caught, I pictured myself going to the police station and getting beat up because I was stealing. But the shopkeeper didn’t do that. He told me, “That’s bad. Don’t do this again. I’ve forgiven you.”

I didn’t deserve forgiveness because I’d done something wrong. That really touched my heart.

I grew up in a Christian home, so I remembered in that moment how my parents had taught me that Christ died for me. I just started crying, and continued on to the church. While still in tears, I met my mom and told her what I’d been doing. I told her that I wanted to give my life to Christ.

I was forgiven and I didn’t deserve forgiveness. Every time I sit down to pray, I thank God that He has shown me the path and He is still guiding me.

A Gift of God’s Love

One week, we were meeting outside the church. My mom, who was my Sunday school teacher, was teaching us about God’s love and how He sent His Son to die for us because we’re His friends. During the lesson, a truck came and we didn’t know what was going on.

But my mom said, “Today is a special day because somebody loves you.”

They started handing out shoebox gifts from the truck and we all opened our boxes. When I saw my shoebox, I saw this beautiful toy camera and I remember removing it from the package. I started taking pictures of all of my friends.

In the box, I also remember getting stickers with the memory verses on them. I kept seeing those words and they helped me. Just reflecting on the verses brings hope.

I was amazed at all the things in the box that I’d never owned. I had a big smile. I think it went all the way to my ears.

The shoebox gift planted a seed in my life. After I came to the United States for school in 2014, I realized I had to do something like this for others. Two years later, I had a chance to go back to Uganda to participate in an Operation Christmas Child outreach event. It was such a big deal. The kids don’t get gifts even on their birthdays; they don’t get gifts at Christmas. When a kid gets a shoebox gift, it’s something that’s never happened in their life before. It brought such joy to see them open their shoeboxes!

Bonny with his camera

Shoebox Adventure Quiz!

Take the Quiz Read More Shoebox Stories