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Two boys sitting on a step smiling with shoebox gifts

Good News and Great Joy in El Salvador

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes delight children and open doors for the Gospel in El Salvador

Nine-year-old Violeta* has had an amazing day. She was invited, along with dozens of other children from her village, to attend a party at the local church. There, she received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox!

Violeta beams as she opens her shoebox gift in El Salvador.
Violeta beams as she opens her shoebox gift in El Salvador.


“In my box, there were many beautiful things,” she exclaimed. “Now, I have many crayons to continue colouring since my family did not have money to buy them. God is very good. I am very happy for the gift that Jesus sent me.”


Operation Christmas Child partners with churches in El Salvador to distribute the shoebox gifts people like you so thoughtfully and prayerfully pack. Each gift opens doors to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“We have seen how God’s love has been communicated to many children through a gift, especially those who are in great need of love,” shared Alejandro,* a church leader.

He went on to describe one boy in the community who lives with his grandparents. Not long ago, his mother and stepfather passed away.

“We could see in his eyes the sadness and pain that he had for the loss of his loved ones,” said Alejandro. “The day of the party, we saw how his face changed when he prayed and sang, but even more so when he was given his little box. It was wonderful to see him smile again.”

At outreach events, children are introduced to the God who loves them, knows them, and died on the cross to save them. Shoebox gifts are a small, tangible expression of that love.

For some girls and boys, it’s the first time they’ve heard anything like it. And this delightful day—and meaningful message—can be a turning point in many of their lives.

“I learned a lot at this party, and I will continue to come to church to learn more about Jesus,” Violeta told us. “I am very grateful to know that Jesus loves me.”


Simple Shoebox Gifts Lead to The Greatest Gift


Mateo (middle) eagerly studies The Greatest Journey in El Salvador.
Mateo (middle) eagerly studies The Greatest Journey in El Salvador.


The Greatest Journey exists to help children like Violeta take those next steps in getting to know Jesus Christ. After receiving their shoebox gifts, boys and girls are invited by local churches to attend this follow-up discipleship course. They walk through 12 Bible lessons that cover everything from creation to the cross, learning along the way what it means to follow Jesus and how to share Him with others.

Thirteen-year-old Mateo* lives in rural El Salvador and comes from a low-income family. Even though he doesn’t know how to read or write, he didn’t miss a class of The Greatest Journey. With the help of his teachers, he studied each lesson and learned about salvation, choosing ultimately to receive Christ as his personal Saviour.

El Salvador has traditionally struggled with gang-related violence, and teenage boys were prime targets for recruitment. Conditions have been improving in recent years, but reaching a boy like Mateo with the Gospel is a victory!

Students are also greatly encouraged as they learn to pray and watch for God’s answers. Three siblings attending The Greatest Journey had been praying that their father would accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. “Today, the children see the miracle materialised,” reported their teacher. “Their father has accepted Christ and congregates in the church.” Praise God!


Ways You Can Pray for El Salvador

  • Pray for Operation Christmas Child’s partner churches as they are trained to host children at outreach events and distribute shoebox gifts.
  • Pray for The Greatest Journey teachers—that God would use them to reach children’s hearts with His love.
  • Pray that more boys and girls will find eternal hope in Jesus Christ.

*Name changed.

boy with shoebox gift

Can sponsor the costs of sending one shoebox gift to a child in need.


Could help with processing and shipping two shoebox gifts to children in need. 


Can provide local churches with training and resources to distribute shoebox gifts at outreach events.