Shoebox Stories: Yuri and a Photo
The picture of the American girl that sent me the shoebox showed me love.
Yuri received a shoebox in an orphanage in Honduras at age 6.
Yuri received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox when she was 6 years old in Honduras.
Everything in my shoebox was special. I really liked the school supplies. Normally in the orphanage we’d receive a notebook and a pencil at the beginning of the year and it had to last an entire year. I was really excited that I had a set of 10 pencils!
I also got a notebook as well as a toothbrush. The toothbrush meant a lot because before I had to share my toothbrush with 25 other girls.
The most important thing was the picture and note from the American little girl who sent that shoebox to me. Her note said, “Jesus loves you and I love you too.” At that moment it made a big impact on me, and it continued to for years.
When I was 13, I was not able to continue my education because they didn’t have the financial support for me to do so. I began to blame God for the life I was living. I was in an orphanage and thought there was no hope. I was separated from my siblings and especially my twin sister. It was a really hard time for me.
The director of the orphanage was also saying, “Soccer is not for girls, it’s only for boys.” So I was not allowed to play soccer and not able to continue my education. Instead, I had to cook in the kitchen for 120 boys and only had every other Sunday off.
Her note said, “Jesus loves you and I love you too.”
One Sunday when I didn’t have to cook I went to the mountains surrounding the orphanage and took my special box with me. In it were pictures and letters from missionaries and volunteers that had come through the orphanage. That box was like a best friend.
After hours of crying on the mountain, I was just angry with God and questioning Him for the life I was living. I remember saying, “If you’re real, show it to me.”
When I opened my box the first thing I saw was the picture of the American girl that sent me the shoebox seven years before and her little note that said, “Jesus loves me and I love you too.”
Yuri now serves God through playing sports and mentors young athletes.
That day I embraced God’s love. I realized that even though this girl didn’t know me and didn’t know my story, she took time with her family to pack a shoebox specifically for me.
Through the reflection of that little girl’s faith, God was showing me that He did care and that He always was there for me—even when I thought He never was.
Three months later I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I got a Bible the same day and when I opened it the first verse I saw was Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’”
Reading that verse, I remembered that day in the mountains and knew that God had a plan for my life.
Through the shoebox I had the opportunity to come to know the Lord more. I trusted that God was the One who sent that shoebox to me. I began to know Him and because of that He opened many doors for me to minister.
One day when I was 6 years old somebody impacted my life by packing a shoebox for me and now I get to impact other kids by packing shoeboxes. God’s also given me the talent to play soccer so now I have the opportunity to serve Him with sports and to mentor young athletes.
Click here to learn more about what to pack in your shoebox, drop off locations, and more.
#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.