*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.
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!
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!