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Lashon with her The Greatest Journey Booklet

A Life Transformed

God used an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift and The Greatest Journey to show his love to a young girl in Honduras.

Doctors told Michele Rankin that her newborn wouldn’t live through the night. Her daughter was born with a hole in her stomach and her intestines were outside of her body. Immediately after being delivered, the baby was rushed to the operating room, but the surgeon gave her little chance to survive. But Michele knew that God could heal her daughter and named her Lashon, which means “God is merciful.” She prayed: “If you give her back to me, I will give her to You.” God heard Michele’s anguished prayer. Lashon survived the surgery, and she’s now a thriving 21-year-old. “God healed me,” she said. “And, my mom kept her promise. She dedicated me to God.”

Small boats are used to transport shoebox gifts to remote communities.

Small boats are used to transport shoebox gifts to remote communities.

Trusting In Christ

When Lashon was 14, a local Operation Christmas Child team held an outreach event at her church in Roatan, Honduras. The community includes mostly boat houses built on stilts where canals double as streets and small boats serve as the main transportation mode. “I came to church and was so excited when I realised that I was going to receive a gift,” Lashon said. “It was the best gift ever! My favourite colour is purple, and inside my shoebox was a purple shirt. It made me so happy. That shoebox changed my life.”

Children in Honduras were thrilled to receive gifts for the first time.

Children in Honduras were thrilled to receive gifts for the first time.

Although the shirt and other special gift items put a smile on Lashon’s face, it was The Greatest Gift booklet that she received along with her shoebox that made the biggest impression. The booklet explained the Gospel in a child-friendly way, helping her to realise how much God loved her. She was eager to attend the first class of The Greatest Journey, the 12-lesson discipleship course designed for shoebox recipients. God’s Word came alive to her during the classes. “I accepted the Lord when I went through The Greatest Journey,” Lashon said. “I wanted to know more about God and what He has for my life. I also was inspired to help other children come to know Christ.”

Discipling Others

After graduating from The Greatest Journey, Lashon started sharing with other boys and girls the Bible stories she had recently learned. “At first, I was shy, but I prayed that God would give me courage and He did,” she said. Two years ago, she started teaching Sunday School and now teaches The Greatest Journey to children who live in her community. God has blessed her faithfulness and the efforts of others who have boldly proclaimed the Gospel in the area. “Kids here used to be out drinking and partying, but now it’s different,” she said. “Most of them are in church because they accepted Christ—many through The Greatest Journey.” Her younger brother and sister also came to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour during the discipleship course.

Lashon enjoys participating in shoebox outreach events

Lashon enjoys participating in shoebox outreach events

Recently, Operation Christmas Child returned to Lashon’s church, and she helped distribute shoebox gifts to children in need. “I loved the joy of seeing the boys and girls get their shoeboxes,” she said. “It made me want to be a kid again. But I mostly enjoyed seeing them learn about the Greatest Gift of all—Jesus.” Operation Christmas Child will distribute 350,000 shoebox gifts in Honduras this year. Each one is an opportunity for a child to hear the Gospel and respond to God’s love. “A shoebox can change someone’s life, just like it did for me,” Lashon said. “One gift can turn a child’s life around and introduce them to Jesus. If I didn’t have God, I would have nothing. I wouldn’t even be alive. God is my everything.”

Central America PrayerPoint

Please join us in praying for the following prayer requests.

For Lashon as she teaches boys and girls in her community about the Bible and encourages them in their relationship with Jesus.

That children in Honduras and around the world will join The Greatest Journey and grow in their knowledge of God’s Word.

That God will continue using Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey to open doors for the Good News.