A shoebox recipient volunteers to help earthquake survivors in Nepal
June 15, 2015
By Laurent Trabadello
Samaritan’s Purse is currently bringing relief assistance to the country of Nepal, following the devastating earthquakes that hit the region in April and May. I had the privilege of serving as a part of our disaster response team in the district of Nuwakot, where many villages experienced large-scale devastation.
Our team began to organise distributions of essential relief items such as plastic tarps, kitchen sets, blankets, water containers, and chlorine tablets in some of the most severely affected communities.
One day, the distribution took place in one of the town’s schools with the help of local Christians. Members of the church’s youth group were assisting the elderly, carrying their relief items for them. I was impressed and introduced myself to Tom*, one of the leaders. When I said I worked for Samaritan’s Purse, he smiled in recognition.
As I enquired further, he explained that when he was 14 he had received a gift from Operation Christmas Child. I was blown away. Here I was in the middle of rural Nepal, distributing relief items with the help of a young man who had received a shoebox gift.
As I asked Tom to tell me more about himself, I was once more reminded of the impact that a small gift packed with love can have. Tom was born into a poor family. At age 7, he was sent to Kathmandu and had the unique privilege of going to school, thanks to the support of a Christian organisation.
At 14, the gift he received prompted him to seek understanding of the love that motivates someone to give sacrificially. In that process, he realised how Jesus had given His life to save him and became a Christ follower. He was baptised on the sixth day of the 11th month of 2071. No, that’s not a typo. That’s the date of this life-changing event according to the Nepalese calendar!
I was impressed and humbled by Tom’s servant heart and attitude. He’s a youth leader, a computer science teacher at a local school, and a student in grade 12. He speaks good English and wants to study business administration. His heart’s desire is to bless others, as he himself has been blessed.
When he looks back at his childhood, Tom says that Jesus was looking after him. Now he wants to care for others and share the hope that he has received. There are many people without hope in his country, especially in this trying time. But when I look at Tom, I know that God is pursuing hearts and changing lives. And He can begin this work through the power of a simple gift.
*Name changed to protect his identity.