Shoebox Stories: Livia And A Necklace
The friendship necklace in my shoebox transformed my life.
This is part 2 of Livia’s story. Read part 1 here.
An American mission team was helping to give out the shoebox gifts at our orphanage. Every kid wanted one of them to hold on to, to give them hugs, to talk with them, to look in their eyes and let them feel important.
I became super-glued to a woman named Connie because I wanted the attention and the love that I didn’t get in the orphanage.
"I wanted the attention and the love that I didn’t get in the orphanage."
I literally didn’t share her with anyone else. I was so defensive of her, protecting her from every other kid because I knew this was my only chance to ever have someone talk to me, to ever have someone hold my hand. I told every kid who tried to get Connie’s attention, “Go away. This is my person. You go find somebody else.”
Then Connie gave me a shoebox gift. Before we opened the boxes, they shared the Gospel with us. It was something brand new to us.
Connie was with me the whole time I looked at my shoebox. At the top of the box, I found hairclips that I loved. Then I saw a bar of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and other hygiene items that meant a lot to me. And then I found a friendship necklace.
I really wanted to thank Connie for the gift and the Gospel. For the first time I knew that there was hope out there and there was a God who loves me every day. I just wanted to tell her thank you for everything.
I picked up the friendship necklace and told Connie, “You keep half of the necklace. I’ll keep the other half. Maybe one day we can put our hearts together.”
As I shared the necklace with her I told her, “I love you.” That’s when God told Connie that she needed to adopt me.
I didn’t just hear the Gospel and learn that there is hope and love and get a bundle of joy that day with the hairclips. God wanted me to have more than that. He wanted me to have a family.
Living in the orphanage, I never allowed myself to dream. There was no way I could ever dream because I’d never get any of the things I wanted to get.
So when I found out that Connie’s family wanted to adopt me I was blown away. It was one of the most unexpected things to happen in my life.
The same year that I received the shoebox gift I accepted Christ. For the next two years while I was waiting for the adoption to be finalized I prayed constantly that God would make a way for me to be able to come to a family that would love me unconditionally.
I got the shoebox when I was 12 and I came to the United States to a brand new family when I was 14. It was something that only God made possible.
My shoebox is something imprinted on my heart that never goes away. It’s an unforgettable moment that I talk about every day. It had an everlasting impact—an eternal impact.
#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.