Pacific Island Initiative

Overview

The goal of the 5-year Pacific Island Initiative is for all children ages 2–14 across the Pacific to have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and receive an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift at an Outreach Event hosted by a local church Ministry Partner. At this Outreach Event they will also be invited back to the local church for follow-up discipleship using The Greatest Journey. The desire is for the children and people living on these small remote islands to know that God loves them, and they are not forgotten.

Specifics

The initiative began in Saipan. When Super Typhoon Yutu devastated this Pacific Island, Samaritan’s Purse responded with more than 80 tons of critical relief supplies, including emergency shelter materials, water filtration units, and generators. The disaster relief team partnered with the local church to minister to hurting communities. This opened the door to follow up with the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child, to reach children in need with the hope of the Gospel.

The first Outreach Events began in early 2019 with more than 10,000 shoebox gifts distributed in Saipan followed by 25,000 shoebox gifts to the Marshall Islands, and 25,000 to the nation of Kiribati.

In 2019, more than 65,000 children received shoebox gifts through Outreach Events in the Pacific Islands. More than 20,000 of these children participated in The Greatest Journey—the 12-lesson discipleship course designed for Operation Christmas Child shoebox recipients.

Since shoeboxes were first distributed in Saipan in 2019, more than 3,000 children have enrolled in The Greatest Journey.

Operation Christmas Child outreach and discipleship has also begun in Guam, Palau, and Chuuk state of Micronesia for the first time.

  • The team in Guam isworking to reach 9,000 children with shoebox gifts with hopes of 3,000 participating in The Greatest Journey. One training for The Greatest Journey resulted in 35 teachers trained from 10 different churches.
  • In Palau, the team is working to reach 4,000 children with shoebox gifts with hopes of 1,300 children participating in The Greatest Journey. The first Ministry Partner and The Greatest Journey teacher training events are being held this year.

In 2020:

  • The goal is to reach 80,000 children at Outreach Events and for more than 25,000 children to participate in The Greatest Journey throughout the Pacific Islands.
  • Outreach Events will continue in the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati.

Impact

Local church Ministry Partners are scattered across the Pacific. The churches have been excited and grateful for the opportunity to partner with Samaritan’s Purse. The training and tools they have received through Operation Christmas Child are an answer to their prayers—helping them reach their communities with the Gospel.

Media Opportunities

The following individuals are available for interviews regarding the Pacific Island Initiative. To inquire, submit a media request.
  • Edward Graham – Assistant to the Vice President, Programs & Government Relations, Samaritan's Purse
  • John Lampkins – Regional Director, Pacific
  • Tyler Mahaffey – Regional Manager, Pacific
  • Amber Light – Regional Manager, Pacific

Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, more than 178 million Operation Christmas Child gift‑filled shoeboxes have been distributed to children in more than 160 countries and territories. To learn about year‑round and seasonal volunteer opportunities or to serve with Operation Christmas Child, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.

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