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Into a War Zone with Shoebox Gifts and Groceries

Operation Christmas Child volunteers demonstrate God’s love to children in need.

In one city in Asia, brutal fighting left homes and businesses in ruins and caused the death of dozens of citizens.

When an Operation Christmas Child team in a less affected area heard of the devastation, they quickly sprang into action. Within a few days, they were on their way to deliver 100 gift-filled shoeboxes to bring God's comfort and love to traumatized boys and girls in the heart of the conflict zone. With each box prayerfully and uniquely packed by caring individuals around the world, they sought to demonstrate God's love to these little ones who had suffered so much. The partner went even further and raised funds through local believers to purchase 100 food packages to distribute along with the shoebox gifts.

Entering a Conflict Zone

Seven volunteers led by the Operation Christmas Child national coordinator formed a convoy of two cars and a truck to carry the supplies into the conflict zone. They knew it would be dangerous, not only because of the violence but also because the nation has only a tiny Christian population. Most are hardened to the Gospel or have never heard.

“The police asked us about the purpose of the trip. I felt like something very serious was happening,” said the team coordinator. “The cars and the truck were carefully examined. I showed the papers issued by the government, and they let us through.”

As the team journeyed on, their hearts grew even more heavy as their eyes took in everything around them.

“The streets were empty,” said the team coordinator. “We met just a few cars as we drove by the destroyed houses. My heart sank with tears and longing to share God's love.”


Serving the Community

When they got to the site of the blast, the volunteers felt like the ruined houses looked like discarded skeletons. Next to these eerie structures lay barren foundations—now the only trace of buildings once buzzing with life. Flowers and toys placed in memory of children lost to the tragedy peppered the ashes.

“There are no bomb shelters in the city, because no one ever thought that bombing was possible here,” said an 18-year-old volunteer.

Countless women and children had evacuated the city, but many men remained, refusing to leave their home territory even if it meant living in a tent. Even among this remnant, God led them to 100 children that He wanted to bless.

These efforts to serve the young ministered to others in the community as well. An elderly woman who witnessed their generosity approached the team, asking for prayer. She had been unable to sleep for several nights. Two volunteers who were pastors gladly brought her needs before the Heavenly Father.


Ministering Without Hindrance

Even though Christians are a small minority in this country, the volunteers were free to share the Good News as they distributed the shoebox gifts and groceries. A handful of believers already living in the city took notice and joined in serving the community in its time of need. We praise God that together the expanded team continued to minister to physical and spiritual needs.

“During the distribution of gift boxes nearby, we could see and hear explosions from afar,” said one volunteer. “When we left, the roads were blocked in the direction of that city. Fire trucks and ambulances were rushing with their sirens on.”

Undeterred by all that had happened, another volunteer said, “Our plans are to minister in those cities that have been particularly affected by the conflict. The Lord has called us to bring peace and restoration to the places where war brought destruction.”

Please pray for all the precious children who received shoebox gifts. Ask God to minister to their young hearts, bringing them and their families peace through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Ask also that God will bring an end to the conflict.

Since 1993, Samaritan's Purse has blessed 220 million children in need in 170 countries and territories with an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and the Good News of God's love. You can help make this possible for another boy or girl and pack a shoebox today!

Saliha teaching The Greatest Journey

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Matthew 5:9

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.