48 members of Gaston Christian’s International Club served at Operation Christmas Child on October 6. The group inspected shoeboxes filled with love going to children in restricted countries. Many children who live in nations that are difficult to reach with the Gospel are able to hear about Jesus Christ through specially packed shoebox gifts designated for restricted areas.

One of the international representatives described the power of these simple gifts:

“In the very restricted environments, we can’t have local believers out being vocal about their faith. A shoebox becomes a key to a closed door. I desire to be involved in the work of love. In the remote areas where people have nothing, where people are dirt poor, this box gives them hope. This is love. True love. This opens the eyes of the people. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light that leads to life (John 8:12).’ Through Operation Christmas Child, God has given us the opportunity to penetrate the darkest places in this world and share the Gospel.”

Before beginning their shift, the International Club members were told, “When shoeboxes are sent to restricted areas, the gift options have been carefully chosen to be free of culturally taboo items such as certain dolls, toys, and crosses. In some countries, items like those could prevent the importation of thousands of shoeboxes and leave many children without the blessing of a gift. Specially packed items allow the gifts to easily clear customs.” The knowledge of knowing that a child’s life could be in danger if they received something with an American flag or a cross on it was very sobering and helped the students to be diligent and very conscious of what needed to be in the box and what was not appropriate.