GOOD NEWS. GREAT JOY.
Your shoebox gift was one of 5,000 that have been delivered to children in ESTONIA. There has not been an OCC programme in Estonia for the past 5-6 years but Operation Christmas Child is happening this year due to invitations from local church denominations who are united in their desire to reach their communities. 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: 1.3m, 16.12% is 14 years old or younger.
CURRENT ISSUES: Estonia is a Baltic country in northern Europe, with close cultural and linguistic ties to Finland. There are huge variations in economic activity across the country. Half the country’s economy is focused on the capital Tallinn. Other areas are suffering severe economic decline and high rates of emigration.
Simon Barrington, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Purse UK recently visited Estonia and recalls one of the most moving distributions that he took part in at a local children’s hospital in Kothle-Javre in north east Estonia.
“Celebrating Christmas in hospital is never a nice thing, and as we met Orlo he was lying on his bed motionless. It took some time for our local Russian-speaking Church partners to encourage Orlo to engage as he was obviously weak and struggling. Most of the children in this ward did have their parents and visitors with them, but Orlo was on his own. However, within minutes of our visit he was alert and awake and actively engaged in opening the shoebox which had been lovingly packed by a donor in the UK. It may seem a small thing to do to us, but the impact of these gifts is huge. Orlo was delighted with the toys, the hat – which he put on immediately – the sweets and the pencils, pens and paper. As we left him he was smiling, waving and fully engaged. His day totally brightened and a moment of joy that will help him on the road to recovery – to know that he is loved and not forgotten, even by gifts from far away.”
Katia received a shoebox as child while living in Estonia and warmly recalls receiving a cuddly toy, toothpaste, toothbrush, pencils and some black liquorice in her shoebox.
“Hi my name is Katia, I was adopted 12 years ago from Estonia. I just wanted to tell you how much the shoebox gift meant to me! You guys are amazing and always make us feel so worthy. Thank you for always caring and showing us kids that there is good in all the bad. That we are not just orphans, that someone out there cares enough to give us a gift. We were truly blessed by you. Keep on doing the good work and know that you are loved and appreciated forever and always. My childhood would not be the same without Operation Christmas Child.”
Thank you from Estonia!
These two boys arrived at church in their best outfits and were excited to collect their shoebox gifts. They were keen to say thank you for their gifts, in this clip they say: ‘Thank you very much for our gifts! God bless you and give you good health’
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 Estonia 1 team is working with 35 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.
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.