GOOD NEWS. GREAT JOY.
Your shoebox gift was one of 208,427 that have been delivered to children in UKRAINE. 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.
COUNTRY INFORMATION: Ukraine is an Eastern European country bordering Russia and the Black Sea. It is the largest country in Europe and one of the world’s largest grain exporters. Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukraine remains dependent on Russia for 80% of its natural gas needs.
There is currently a ‘frozen war’ in the east of Ukraine, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. Despite ceasefires and a desire for peace, there is still fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army. The war is destroying communities, and sapping hope among young people in particular.
POPULATION: 45.8m, 15.6% are under 15.
“My name is Anna, and I am 9. In my life miracles just do not happen always. I live with my mum, and I don’t have a dad. That’s why I don’t always have what I want. My mum has to work a lot, though it’s hard to find a job in the place where we live. To sell fish in the marketplace is the only option. Very often my mum is not at home. That’s why I spend my days as I like and where I like. And once – I think it was during the school break, there were some people – men and women who came to me to bring me a gift. I was very surprised. My first thought was that it’s not for me, but they confirmed that it was mine. So, thank you everybody – I don’t know who you are and how you happen to know me that you’ve brought me a gift. I am very glad, and I tell everyone – just believe – the miracles come true! I am sure about it. Then those people told me that God has concern for me, and He will not leave me and my mum alone if we would come to Him in prayer.”
A local volunteer said: “Some of the gifts were given to the children of my friends who are very poor. The grandmother is bringing up these two children because their parents are alcoholics. And last year this family went through a tragedy – their other boy died. These kids are deprived of parental love and care, and they were so glad to receive the gifts. They were impressed that somewhere in the world there are people with kind and generous hearts who could make these wonderful gifts for them. The girl got some good toys, and some hair accessories, while the boy got some good stationery and hygiene stuff. I want to thank from my whole heart on behalf of these children to all people with a big heart who are taking part in this ministry with Samaritan’s Purse. And I want to say – keep going, don’t give up when you do good! May God bless you!”
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 Ukraine 16 teams are working with 1900 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 182,800 children in Ukraine 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.