Franklin Graham's Digital Update for January 2024
Millions of children soon will be enrolling in The Greatest Journey, our discipleship classes designed for children who have just received Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.
As I write this, more than 11 million Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are just beginning their journey—crossing oceans, mountains, and deserts—to delight children in more than 100 countries around the world. We thank God for everyone who prayerfully packed these gifts, and we praise Him for using each box to His glory.
But as these children receive their gifts, another journey is about to begin. In the coming year, many of them will be enrolling in The Greatest Journey—our discipleship classes designed especially for children who have just received Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.
Over the past 30 years, more than 50 million children have been reached through these discipleship lessons, including 25 million who have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Samaritan's Purse trains volunteer teachers and provides materials in 91 languages. We also provide a New Testament for each child who completes the course. So far, over 36 million New Testaments have been given to graduates through our local church partners. Join us in asking God to raise up an army of young evangelists who are prepared and eager to share the Gospel with their friends and family members.
I want to share some stories of how the Lord is using The Greatest Journey.
In Mongolia, many children grow up in animistic cultures and have never heard that God created the world. One of our teachers said, "The first lesson in The Greatest Journey is always exciting for me to teach, because it is a very different idea that the world was created by God." A student named Munkhbold said that he learnt that he was special in God's eyes through Genesis 1:27: "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Munkhbold invited a friend to join the class, and now they are both following Christ!
One Asian boy named Khalid said his friends had convinced him that God did not exist. He realised otherwise after his cousin invited him to a church that was handing out Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts and teaching The Greatest Journey. "I felt a sense of hope that I had never felt before," he said. "I started to understand the meaning of life and who God is. I regretted rejecting Him." Not only has Khalid accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour, but he is faithfully studying his Bible and sharing his faith with family and friends.
At a shoebox distribution in Bolivia, a girl named Rosa wondered why someone she didn't know would send her a gift. Then she came to understand the love of God through The Greatest Journey, where she memorised Scripture, learnt praise songs, and received her very first Bible. "Now I can read the Bible," she said, "but the best thing is that my family was also able to learn about Jesus. I am very happy because now I have Jesus as a friend, but He is also my Saviour."
In Brazil, one mother was reluctant to let her daughter attend the classes, so the teacher made house calls and taught her one-on-one. The girl was able to graduate with her peers.
In the Middle East, Amira not only gave her heart to the Lord through The Greatest Journey but also led her siblings to faith in Christ and now has become a teacher leading our discipleship classes at an orphanage.
We praise God for the eternal impact of Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey. God has used shoebox gifts to break hard ground spiritually and prepare the way for the Gospel. "He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matthew 13:23).
Please join me in praying that God will continue to use The Greatest Journey to transform the lives of millions of children. As we begin a new year, thank you for your gifts and prayers for Samaritan's Purse, as we work in the Name of Jesus Christ to save lives, relieve suffering, and share the hope of the Gospel.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Ask God to use The Greatest Journey in mighty ways to strengthen churches, bring children to faith in Christ, and give them opportunities to share the Gospel with family and friends. Pray for peace in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and Ukraine, and ask God to open doors for ministry in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Give to The Greatest Journey
Can provide everything one child needs, including a trained teacher, all printed materials and a New Testament Bible.
Can provide five children with a trained teacher, printed course materials and a New Testament Bible.
Can reach a whole class of 15 children with The Greatest Journey.