Two decades ago a young boy in Honduras received his first
present ever -- a brightly wrapped shoe box. Its contents changed
Operation Christmas Child, a project of
Samaritan's Purse, is under way again this year, and the ministry
outreach reports that millions of Americans have packed shoe boxes
with Christmas gifts for youngsters overseas.
Renan Perdono, a native of
Honduras, was one of 15 children in the family although five died
at a young age. All lived in abject poverty -- no electricity or
running water, a dirt floor in their home -- and he didn't have
shoes until he was 13 years old.
Renan tells OneNewsNow he wanted to go to school, but was told
there was no money for the necessary school supplies, such as a
pencil and notebook. But he was ten years old, Operation Christmas
Child arrived in his village.
"Somebody handed me a box and I remember just staring at the box
-- and the missionary asked me What's wrong, and I was like
Nothing's wrong. That was my first present ever in my life," he
"See, we never celebrated Christmas. We never celebrated
birthdays because we didn't have any money -- and I didn't want to
open [the box] because it was wrapped up so pretty and I didn't
want to break it."
But he did open the box, and a few the items he found inside
transformed his life.
"I saw a pencil and a notebook -- and I was like, I'm going to
school now. I was 10 years old and I couldn't go to school because
of that, and that box, it blessed my life. It changed my life
because that was the first present ever to me and it was the first
present coming into my house and I know that it changed the life of
my family too."
Perdono, who resides in Pearl, Mississippi, is now 30 years old
and a committed Christian because one American reached out to
provide a Christmas gift.
Samaritan's Purse is packing its 100 millionth Operation Christmas Child shoe box
this week. Renan and other representatives were in Tupelo,
Mississippi, Tuesday at the headquarters of the American Family
Association/American Family Radio.