GOOD NEWS. GREAT JOY.
Your shoebox gift was one of 78,589 that have been delivered to children in Belarus. We thank God for the thousands of children that have received shoeboxes here since Operation Christmas Child began distributions. While we are not able to provide pictures or information on the specific child who received your individual shoebox, we hope you will be inspired by the stories and photos below.
POPULATION: 9.5m, 15% under the age of 15.
ECONOMY The economic situation deteriorated drastically in the summer of 2011 when a balance of payments crisis drained the country’s hard-currency reserves. 30% of the population live in rural areas and 23% of these earn under $38 per month. Twenty six years on from Chernobyl disaster, the country is still dealing with the impact on communities affected by the radiation contamination. There is still a large ‘dead zone’ of contaminated land.
SISTERS WITH SHOEBOXES
Sisters Natasha and Elvira were taken into care when a neighbour raised concerns about the girl’s welfare. When the social centre gained access to the house and found the girls with no heating and very little food or clothes. They are now well cared for and love the company of the other children they now live with. The girls said they hope to be fostered soon. In all the excitement of looking through their shoeboxes, their gifts became all mixed up, but they said it did not matter as they were going to share everything anyway!
Erina and Anna were found abandoned in their home. By the time the authorities discovered them they were emaciated and starving. They were taken to a Social Centre in an area of Belarus to be cared for, and it was here that they received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. They both loved their shoebox gifts and said, “We hope lots of other boys and girls have as much fun as we will have.”
THANK YOU FROM BELARUS
Shoebox Opening Excitement
National Leadership Teams
Operation Christmas Child invests in building National Leadership Teams made up of trained local volunteers and staff within over 100 countries. These teams then work alongside many Regional Leadership teams who in turn train local church leaders and teachers. In Belarus 7 teams are working with 1000 ministry partners (teams of volunteers in local churches) to make Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey possible each year!
THE GREATEST JOURNEY
Each shoebox gift delivered by Operation Christmas Child is a tangible expression of God’s amazing love. But a shoebox is just the beginning. After receiving a shoebox gift, children have the opportunity to enrol in The Greatest Journey – 12 fun and interactive Bible lessons, where they get the chance to discover who Jesus is and how to begin their own journey of faith. At the end of the course they get to experience a graduation ceremony where they receive a New Testament in their own language.
The Greatest Journey is taught by local volunteers who have been trained to deliver the programme. It is offered free of charge, without obligation and with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian. Over 5,045 children in Belarus have enrolled in this programme since it started.
You can be a part of helping us “go and make disciples of all nations” as Jesus commanded. Sign up for a monthly gift of £5, and each year you will give 12 children study materials, a New Testament, and the opportunity to share their faith with family and friends.