*Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Operation Christmas Child. All opinions are my own.
What a privilege to be able to be a part of five Operation Christmas Child Shoe box distributions in three days in Lima, Peru. I had a wonderful time. It was such a blessing to see first hand what Operation Christmas Child does. The distributions were a little different than I had imagined. I had a vision of driving into town on a big truck filled with shoe boxes. Village children would come running, and we would hand out shoe boxes to smiling children until the shoe boxes ran out. This is not at all how things are run.
OCC works directly with churches, so each of our distributions were at a local church. The services were run by the pastor and church members. Each church put on a wonderful program of songs, dances, and the Gospel message. It was clear that although we were bringing them a gift, Jesus is THE gift. Along with each shoe box, each child received The Greatest Journey booklet and was invited to come back to the church to participate in the discipleship program.
At several churches we were asked to participate and that was a lot of fun! I loved the hats one church had us wear. Aren’t they fun?
I really enjoyed hearing the children sing and do their recitations in Spanish. I wish our whole team could have understood them! Other than participate when we were invited, we did not interfere with the services. It was usually all very organized.
In Peru each box was documented for a certain child. That is the only way to be allowed to bring the boxes into the country. So the churches had the name and address of every child that received a shoebox. After the service we would cut the boxes open and distribute them. Some churches even had the children’s names written on the boxes.
Once every child had their shoe box we would count down from three and all would open the boxes at the same time. How fun to see their faces as they opened their gifts!
This little guy was so excited about the contents of his box!
These googly eyed glasses were a huge hit!
At the first distribution that we were a part of, this little girl Jimima decided she liked me and became my buddy for the entire morning. She was full of questions and just precious!
After receiving her shoe box, Jimima wanted to show me her gift and asked me what everything was for.
I had wondered about how much I would be able to use my Spanish. I ended up doing a lot of translating for the children and loved every minute of it!
At another distribution I got to spend extra time with these two lovely young ladies Carol and Nicole! There were so many precious kids but these three are especially dear to my heart. I will be praying especially for them!
Seeing first hand and being a part of what OCC is doing was definitely the highlight of my trip! More about my trip including things like my first taste of Peruvian food, some more wonderful food of Peru, amusing bathroom features, bloopers, my wonderful team, and my embarrassing moment on the way home coming soon!
Welcome home, Esther!!
It’s so much fun to see photos of the OCC distribution in Lima, Peru. I had no idea that each shoe box was directed to a specific child.
Looks like everyone had a joyful time = )
Looking forward to reading more details of your trip!
Fauzi C says
Great to see you home Esther! Love the pictures, seeing the expressions of all the kids are just wonderful. I’m sure you had a blessed time and so did the kids.
Susan Evans says
How wonderful to be a part of that! My family has participated in packing shoe boxes for several years now.
I love all the pics – and how wonderful you were able to translate!I cant wait to read more, and I’m just so glad the trip went well! What a cool experience!
Wow! That looks amazing. A gift for you all!
I’m glad you are home and had a good time. I knew you would bring good pictures and am not disappointed. Would also like to hear about how your kids fared without you.
I love that you were able to use your Spanish! I would have been totally lost in that regard! I’m sure it helped you make wonderful connections with the children.
Ginny Marie says
I’m going to share your post with my Sunday school. We filled over 60 shoe boxes before Christmas, and it will be so fun to show them how the boxes are actually distributed! How fun that you were able to be a part of the process! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
shari lynne @ Faith Filled Food For Moms and Grandmothers says
Precious!! I LOVED that you could translate with you Spanish Esther!!
Thank you so much for sharing with us a taste of an OCC distribution! I love hearing and seeing about this one in particular as many of our area boxes went to Peru. I am sharing this post on my occ blog, klamathocc.blogspot.com God bless!
Oh my… how did I miss this?? Some of the boxes from my area went to Peru… I smiled and rejoiced as I read your blog… and I admit to scanning for any of the boxes I wrapped for our church’s children’s packing party. It is a blessing to pack shoeboxes each year… and it is that time again.
Awesome!! A trip like this is on my Bucket List!!!