Shoebox Stories: Livia And The Hairclips

October 1, 2015

My shoebox introduced me to the greatest gift of all.

Livia received her shoebox in a Romanian orphanage when she was 12.

All my life I really wanted hairclips but growing up in an orphanage where we had very little I could never get them. But I really, really wanted hairclips.

Then Operation Christmas Child came and there it was—a big packet of hairclips sitting at the very top of my shoebox! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought, How can someone give me something that I’ve wanted for so many years? Someone far away decided to pack it up, never knowing that it would be somebody’s dream come true.

"Someone far away decided to pack it up, never knowing that it would be somebody’s dream come true."

I took the packet out. I tore it open and tried to put every single one of them in my hair. And I did!

There was a woman named Connie who was with me, an American missionary who was helping pass out the shoeboxes. She was trying to tell me to slow down. I said, “No, no. I want all my hairclips in.”

“Just put one to the right and one to the left, and you’ll look much better,” she said.

“No, I want all the hairclips in,” I insisted. So I put them all in and had them on the whole day.

Livia Holding Hairclips

I really wanted something to keep my hair off my face. I wanted to feel the wind touch my neck. When I got those hairclips I was so excited to finally be free of all the stuff that covers your face or neck or ears. Receiving those hairclips meant a lot.

"As they went on about the Gospel, I was mesmerized by the words of love."

Before we even got the shoebox gifts they shared the Gospel with us. That was something brand new to me. When I got the hairclips I just couldn’t believe how God could make something like that possible. It made me realize that there is a God who loves me. He loves me because he wanted me to have the hairclips.

As they went on about the Gospel, I was mesmerized by the words of love. How could anyone possibly love me? After 10 years of living in the orphanage, all of a sudden people were telling me that I’m loved.

I thought, There’s no way. How am I supposed to take this? I was really shocked to hear the news of not only God loving us but also people from all over the world. Love was a brand new word in my vocabulary.

"There was so much joy. I wished I could tell everybody in the world that I accepted Christ."

The same year I received the shoebox I accepted Christ into my heart. The shoebox is almost nothing compared to knowing Jesus. There was so much joy. I wished I could tell everybody in the world that I accepted Christ.

It’s a different feeling because the things in the shoebox gift get lost or broken or used up, but our Savior never does. He’s always there for us. That’s what I love about it.

To have a God who loves us unconditionally every day to make up for the years of my life living in an orphanage, that’s the greatest gift of all right there.

Livia Handing Out Shoeboxes In Romania

NEXT WEEK: Livia and a Necklace

Livia found something else very precious in her shoebox—something that created a lifelong connection and the start of a new family. Come back next week to read the rest of her story.

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.

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