GOOD NEWS. GREAT JOY.
Your shoebox gift was one of 39,388 that have been delivered to children in Albania. We thank God for the thousands of children that have received shoeboxes here since Operation Christmas Child began distributions. While we are not able to provide pictures or information on the specific child who received your individual shoebox, we hope you will be inspired by the stories and photos below.
POPULATION: 3.2 million, 22% under the age of 15.
ECONOMY: Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with poor energy and transport infrastructure. The agricultural sector, which accounts for almost half of employment but only about 20% of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations, because of lack of modern equipment and unclear property rights. Albania’s poor business environment has not attracted the foreign investment needed to expand its export base. 12% of the population live below the poverty line. Albania is also an increasingly active transit point for illegal drugs.
FORMER SHOEBOX RECIPIENT SAYS THANK YOU!
“Hello! I am an English Teacher in a public school in Durres, Albania. The school I teach is in a village 15 minute drive away from the city. I have had a shoebox when I was young. You can’t imagine what a joy. Furthermore, when you give a gift like that to poor children for Christmas. That is wonderful message. Sometimes small things remain in our memories for a long time, especially in the mind of a child. I will never forget the shoebox gift that was given to me for Christmas.”
A Dream Come True
“We visited a very poor family to share a gift with them. One of the boys in the family said ‘I really want a football!’ – when he opened the gift we gave him, there was a football inside!” – Local ministry partner in Albania.
Sadness to Joy
In another eastern European country our partners recounted a particularly memorable shoebox outreach event at a Centre for Asylum Seekers. “It was heart breaking to see the pain, sorrow, grief, uncertainty, fear, and despair in their eyes, but it was also heart-warming to see the joy, happiness, and genuine thankfulness from the children’s eyes when we opened the big brown boxes containing the colourful presents for them. The children excitedly helped the team leader open the boxes. At this point, the language barrier disappeared and all of a sudden we all spoke smiles, handshakes, hand gestures and tearful eyes. They patiently listened to what the team leader shared with them, learning about God’s love and the hope He has for them in the midst of their despair. One girl got a big shoebox, so heavy she couldn’t carry it by herself! A volunteer helped her open it and when she saw a toy owl and sweets, she beamed with joy!”
National Leadership Teams
Operation Christmas Child invests in building National Leadership Teams made up of trained local volunteers and staff within over 100 countries. These teams then work alongside many Regional Leadership teams who in turn train local church leaders and teachers. In Albania 4 teams are working with 50 ministry partners (teams of volunteers in local churches) to make Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey possible each year!
THE GREATEST JOURNEY
Each shoebox gift delivered by Operation Christmas Child is a tangible expression of God’s amazing love. But a shoebox is just the beginning. After receiving a shoebox gift, children have the opportunity to enrol in The Greatest Journey – 12 fun and interactive Bible lessons, where they get the chance to discover who Jesus is and how to begin their own journey of faith. At the end of the course they get to experience a graduation ceremony where they receive a New Testament in their own language.
The Greatest Journey is taught by local volunteers who have been trained to deliver the programme. It is offered free of charge, without obligation and with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian. Over 5,190 children in Albania have enrolled in this programme since it started.
You can be a part of helping us “go and make disciples of all nations” as Jesus commanded. Sign up for a monthly gift of £5, and each year you will give 12 children study materials, a New Testament, and the opportunity to share their faith with family and friends.