Livia’s gift changed her life – forever – from the moment she opened it. Atop of school supplies and hygiene items was a set of hair clips, the one thing she’d always wished the most for.
Also, among her gifts was a heart-shaped, break-apart “Best Friends” necklace. She gave half of her necklace to Connie, a woman she’d deeply bonded with from the mission group.
Through Livia’s small, yet powerful gesture of love, God spoke to Connie and told her to adopt Livia. Two years later, Livia came to the United States to be with her brand-new family.
Livia will share her shoebox story at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at the First Baptist Church, located at 1227 Susquehanna Avenue Ext., Curwensville.
Operation Christmas Child is bringing Livia to Curwensville as part of its shoebox recipient speaker tour. All are welcome to attend and hear her story – one of eternal love and hope.
“A little box brought her so much hope in a seemingly dark orphanage that day,” expressed Karla Sunderlin, OCC West Central PA area coordinator.
She continued: “… And to think, it came from a world away. Someone packed Livia’s shoebox never knowing what would ever come from it.
“[Shoeboxes] find their way to the deepest, darkest places; Operation Christmas Child goes places no one else will go. That’s something only God can do.”
Sunderlin hopes Livia’s story will inspire others to pack a shoebox for the first time; to pack more shoeboxes than ever before; and or to become a local volunteer.
Last year she said OCC’s West Central PA area, which encompasses Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana counties, collected 11,504 shoeboxes and this year’s goal is 12,000.
Anyone who is unable to fill a shoebox is always welcome to donate contents from fun toys (soccer balls, dolls, cars, etc.) to school supplies and personal hygiene (non-liquid) items.
And as a surprise to Livia and to honor her story, Sunderlin is organizing a special collection of hair clips. Guests are requested to bring a package of hair clips with them on Oct. 12.
Following Livia’s message, there will be light refreshments at the church and an opportunity for guests to speak one-on-one with her.
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Karla Sunderlin, West Central PA area coordinator, by phone at 814-496-4456 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child, uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love to children in need around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization, that’s headed by Christian evangelist and missionary Franklin Graham.
Operation Christmas Child collected more than 8.8 million shoeboxes packed with toys, school supplies and personal hygiene items from across the United States in 2018.
Combined with others collected in partnering countries, it sent more than 10.6 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 100 countries last year.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million shoeboxes to children in over 160 countries and territories.
Since 2010, more than 14 million children who have received a shoebox gift have participated in The Greatest Journey — a 12-lesson discipleship program.
During the program, children learn from trained, local volunteers what it means to follow Jesus and share their faith with friends and family.
In 2019, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 11 million children in countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and Ukraine.
Anyone can pack a shoebox. Individuals, families, churches and groups fill empty shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items (non-liquid) and fun toys.
You can learn how to pack a shoebox, view gift suggestions, get your “Follow Your Box” label and find the nearest drop-off location at samaritanspurse.org/occ.
During National Collection Week (Nov. 18–25), Samaritan’s Purse will collect the gift-filled shoeboxes at nearly 5,000 drop-off locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Online shoppers can browse here to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.
Shoebox gifts are collected in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Spain, New Zealand and Japan.
Nearly 500,000 volunteers worldwide — with more than 150,000 of those in the United States — are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.
To learn about year-round and seasonal volunteer opportunities or to serve with Operation Christmas Child, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.
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