By: Warren Nunn
The sheer joy that grateful children show when they open a shoebox of goodies is enough to melt the heart.
That’s how schoolteacher Naomi Kotzur from Kingaroy describes her experience when handing out shoeboxes given as part of Operation Christmas Child.
Naomi told 96five’s Ken, Nicky and Steve about being in Fiji and seeing first-hand how children reacted.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. It partners with local churches in developing nations to reach out to children by providing gift-filled shoeboxes.
The shoeboxes have a lasting impression on young minds…
The gifts they contain help bring a life-changing message of hope through ‘The Greatest Journey’, an evangelism and discipleship program.
Noami said it was a privilege to be part of a group that arrived soon after a cyclone had caused widespread damage in the Pacific Island nation earlier this year.
Shoeboxes spark imagination
One young girl particularly caught her eye as she hugged her shoebox and said she could never have imagined ever getting anything like it.
The shoeboxes have a lasting impression on young minds and give hope in difficult situations. “That young girl wants to grow up and be a lawyer,” she said.
It greatly impacts children that people who don’t know them care enough to give them a gift.
Get involved with filling shoeboxes
As a primary school teacher Naomi gets children at her school involved in packing shoeboxes.
To reach children this Christmas, anyone wanting to be involved has until the last Sunday in October to make their contribution.
Packs of pre-printed shoeboxes can be picked up at 96five Monday to Friday (9am-4pm) at 81 Mina Parade, Alderley. Click here for more details on how you can get involved.
Naomi said it was amazing to see churches working together through the project and to help children learn about Jesus.
She said Operation Christmas Child not only needed items for the shoeboxes, but it also needed prayer, cash and volunteers to help with the packing.
About the author: Warren Nunn has been a journalist for more than 40 years. For 27 years until 2013, he worked at Queensland’s main daily newspaper The Courier-Mail.