Recipient of ‘Operation Christmas Child’ shoebox shares life-changing impact

Teen shares life-changing impact of Operation Christmas Child

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Churches and organizations across the country get supplies and put together packages for the group “Operation Christmas Child” each year. Thursday night one of those who received the gift spoke of its impact on his life.

Alex Nsengimana grew up in an orphanage in Rwanda during the 90s. He lived through a period known as the Rwandan genocide, or the genocide against the Tutsi, which was a mass slaughter of Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutu in Rwanda between April 7, 1994, and July 15, 1994.

Living in the orphanage, he says his life and the lives of many others were changed thanks to a shoebox.

"That shoebox made an impact in my life and the communities here in Montgomery pack ‘Operation Christmas Child’ shoeboxes and we’re here to share with them, give them first-hand impact on what ‘Operation Christmas Child’ is doing around the world today,” said Nsengimana.

Nsengimana says receiving gifts was something new to him and the other kids, and what came in them - he’ll never forget.

“Two-hundred and fifty of us had never received the shoeboxes before and has never received a gift before," said Nsengimana. “And when we got to open that gift and saw all the school supplies, the hygiene items, the little toy cars, the little bouncy balls, it was so special to have something to call our own, that to the point that I actually kept a hair comb for the next three years. That’s how important those items are.”

Now, Alex is a part of the “Operation Christmas Child” team and travels around the country sharing his life-changing story thanks to those gifts. He says he wants to encourage those that are serving to pack more boxes and those who are interested in serving to do so.

“When the children receive the shoeboxes, they’re going through a lot of hard time, but God uses those shoeboxes to remind them that they’re not forgotten,” said Nsengimana. “'Operation Christmas Child’ is one opportunity to do that, to make an impact in kids’ lives all over the world in your own living room.”

“Operation Christmas Child” is a project of Samaritan’s Purse.

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