How are shoeboxes bringing joy to children in Namibia?

By Annabelle Lee | Namibia in Southern Africa

Adam Kazz from Getty Images Signature

In April 2023, SIM Namibia partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to  distribute 7,200 shoeboxes boxes through their programme called  Operation Christmas Child (OCC).  The children’s faces were beaming as they opened their gifts, a tangible expression of God’s love. 

SIM’s teams around the world support some excellent charitable projects that reach communities where Christ is least known. One such project is Samaritan’s Purse’s initiative OCC, a programme encouraging people to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children.  

Each year OCC invites generous individuals from many countries to fill these boxes with items from calculators to cuddly toys. SIM Namibia's Linda Pretorious then helps coordinate the distribution of these boxes in her region, including managing OCC volunteers, organising transport, and training teachers.

The shoeboxes are a testament to the Lord’s provision and Linda gets to see the project’s impact firsthand. One girl wanted a dress, as she’d never had one. The girl was however very tall and Linda did not want the young lady to be disappointed if she did not receive a dress in the right size. But there in the shoebox was a dress that fitted her perfectly!

SIM Namibia  partners with OCC in schools, Sunday schools and youth clubs to reach children and youth. Each child receiving a box participates in a 12-week programme exploring the gospel. During this programme, children will memorise 12 Bible verses which walk through a presentation of the gospel.

Children who participate in the 12-week gospel programme often show remarkable improvement in behaviour. Linda recalls meeting a young man who was working at her local supermarket and gave his life to the Lord, because of receiving an OCC shoebox. Now, he has a family and in turn his children have had the pleasure of receiving OCC shoeboxes!

History of OCC
OCC began in the summer of 1993. Franklin Graham (son of evangelist Billy Graham) received a call from a local businessman in the UK who asked if he would help fill shoeboxes with gifts for children affected by the Bosnian war. A few months on, Franklin asked his pastor friend if his church would help. Weeks later, the church received 11,000 boxes. Since 1993, more than 178 million OCC boxes have been delivered in more than 70 countries. 
OCC use the shoebox as a symbol to show children that receiving the gospel cannot be earned, but much like receiving a Christmas present it is a free gift – a tangible expression of God’s unconditional love.

The OCC project is truly a testament to the Holy Spirit working in the children’s lives. It is an immense joy for SIM to be supporting such a wonderful charitable cause.

Give thanks

Watch a video about Operation Christmas Child by Michael Knight from SIM Namibia.

  • For people who fill OCC shoeboxes out of generosity and kindness, reflecting God’s love.
  • The project staff and volunteers who give up their time to deliver the boxes across Namibia.
  • The way OCC has inspired children and youth to open their hearts to the gospel and follow Jesus.

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Agrégateur de contenus

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Agrégateur de contenus

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