The Journey of a Shoebox
One of our ministry projects that brings much joy to the poor children we serve is the Shoebox project. Each year ministry friends get involved with their families and/or churches to prepare shoebox gifts to send overseas or they send money for us to create shoebox gifts in Romania. After being created and wrapped a shoebox gift is sent to our U.S. warehouse, where it joins many others. Then carefully packaged Shoebox gifts start their journey over the ocean in shipping containers to our Romanian warehouse. Here we have a dedicated group from a local church that helps prepare lists of names and ages of children who will receive these Shoebox gifts, including the children from the orphanage, and all the different feeding centers and other programs that we help with. We have many other volunteers that take part in this project helping our staff and as Christmas time approaches, we travel in teams to make deliveries in many different parts of the country. Up to this point, it looks like we run a good logistic ministry and to some degree that is true, but there is so much more to this project than planning and organizing. The most important part of this project is the “heartbeat of the Shoebox”. We know that every time our ministry friends send a shoebox it is not just something that they purchase already packed. It is something that they, along with their family or church friends, took time to plan and carefully prepare. When we hold a Shoebox gift, we see in our mind all the effort and love that our friends gave. Packed inside this special little box are all the prayers and affection for the poor children of Romania.
As the box heads to the remote places of Romania, where the poorest children will not receive any other gift, the heartbeat within the shoebox starts pounding louder. We witness to the children and share with them about Jesus Christ and why he came to earth. We make sure that each family has a Bible and a Bible storybook. Then the miracle happens. Over 2500 heartbeats from our shoeboxes fill up the atmosphere as the children open their special gifts. This moment leaves you speechless, as words cannot express their joy. Their wide smiles, excitement, enthusiasm, and amazement as they show each other what they received is so hard to put into words. We hope the photos included in our newsletter give you a little glimpse of what it felt like to be in those places as children opened those shoeboxes. We want to thank all our ministry friends that took part in this project and encourage the rest to get involved next year. Yes, all that we do for those children; food, clothing, and providing their everyday needs are important. But there is something special about a Shoebox gift that touches their heart, the heartbeat of our ministry friends.