Embarking on the Greatest Journey

The Greatest Journey discipleship program graduates learn to share their faith in Dakar, Senegal.

Imla Coll beamed with pride as he held a New Testament and a graduation certificate.

“I learned God created the light, Jesus died for our sins and He was part of the plan of God,” said the seven-year-old resident of Dakar, the capital city of the west African nation of Senegal.


Imla was part of a group of 30 children participating in a special graduation ceremony for The Greatest Journey. Whenever possible, this 12-week voluntary, follow-up discipleship program is offered to children who have received gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Thanks to shoeboxes packed by Canadians like you, God is using The Greatest Journey to make a difference in this poor Muslim nation. Last year alone, almost 3,000 students registered for the program and 1,200 graduated.

Since The Greatest Journey was implemented in 2010, more than 19,000 teachers have been trained in countries where Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are distributed. Over 200,000 students have graduated, and more than 123,000 of those students have publicly proclaimed their faith in Jesus Christ.

The special Dakar ceremony involving Imla, which took place at the largest evangelical church in Dakar, was held so visiting Canadians could see the impact of The Greatest Journey, and learn how it’s a key part of Operation Christmas Child.

Students sang and performed Christian dance routines before receiving their New Testaments and certificates.

“Jesus is the Son of God and I follow Him to have eternal life,” said Imla, who likes playing soccer, video games (though his family can’t afford to buy many) and riding his bicycle.

Another graduate, 11-year-old Ngozie Blessings, noted “there was a lot to study in The Greatest Journey, but it was not hard.”

Ngozie committed her life to Christ after she started reading the Bible and watched how God improved her study habits.

“Following the Lord has changed how I live,” she said. “Now I can preach about Jesus while I play with my friends.”

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Ways you can help


Pray that every child who receives an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift will hear and know how much God loves them.


Help Samaritan’s Purse go beyond the shoebox and expand assistance to children, their families, and their communities. Donate Here