Nanor and a Doll

June 16, 2015

God planted a seed of faith in my heart when I received my shoebox.

Nanor received a shoebox in the Middle East at the age of 8.

I will never forget the day in 1998 that I received my shoebox. I still remember every gift in it. I’ve kept the box to this day.

It was so lovely. The cardboard shoebox was beautifully and meticulously wrapped in green wrapping paper that had little children on it opening gifts by a Christmas tree.

“I loved Barbies—and then I got a real one!”

The storm proved to be worse than any disaster the people had lived through

Then I opened it! The most exciting gifts were a Barbie doll and a stationery kit. I loved Barbies—and then I got a real one! She was so beautiful.

I felt I must be really special to have my own stationery kit. It had pink leopard print on top and inside there was a little notebook, five different colored markers, a stamp, a glittery sticker sheet, and a pink pen.

Nanor Horizontal

There was something about the colors, and something about the fact that it opened like a book with a little zipper that made it so special. I didn’t want to use it. I’ve only used about four or five stickers out of 50 in there and I’ve only used one notebook sheet. Almost everything in the kit is intact.

One thing in the box I’ll never forget was a picture of a girl and her letter—Heather Roberts from Enon, Ohio. I admired her picture with her blue eyes and her blonde hair. We started writing letters and today, nearly 20 years later, we’re friends. It’s such a blessing to be pen pals with the girl who sent me the box.

Nanor Vertical

Years later I moved to America and I realized how much tension there is between the Middle East and the U.S. That box was a seed of friendship planted years ago. Even though we lived in completely different parts of the world, Heather and I had the unity of Christ when our countries had disagreements, especially after 9/11. The box is a sign of peace in a time of war.

“That box was a seed of friendship planted years ago.”

The spiritual part, of course, was the biggest gift of all, but it didn’t hit me until later. A year after I received my box I accepted Jesus at a camp. But only when I got to the States and was sending a box myself did I get what happened. It all hit me where I had been and the journey God had brought me through. It made me realize I received something very, very special at that time.

“I realized how much care had gone into preparing the shoeboxes with prayer.”

As I got to know God more, I also realized how much care had gone into preparing the shoeboxes with prayer. All of a sudden it had a different meaning for me. I understood the love and the care that Heather put into the box.

The shoebox gave me an extreme amount of happiness. As the years went on, I could see the importance of using the box as a tool to show God’s love.


Read More Shoebox Stories

#shoeboxstories is a series by shoebox recipients telling about the eternal impact of a simple gift. 

Operation Christmas Child delivers great joy to millions of children around the world through shoeboxes lovingly and prayerfully packed with gifts that will bring delight to a child. In the hands of local churches, every gift-filled shoebox is a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship—transforming the lives of children and their families around the world through the Good News of Jesus Christ! After receiving shoebox gifts, boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, our 12-lesson discipleship program where children learn what it means to faithfully follow Christ and share their faith with others.