Annette Sova from St. Paul, Minnesota, personally delivers hope and joy to children in need
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
ST. PAUL, MN (ANS — Dec. 1, 2017) – More than 1.5 million children in Togo, a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea, have received Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts and this season, 305,791 children will receive gifts through the outreach ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.
Since 2010, 408,756 Togolese children have participated in Operation Christmas Child’s discipleship and evangelism program, The Greatest Journey.
This spring, Annette Sova, of St. Paul, Minnesota, joined 31 other volunteers on a special Samaritan’s Purse team to deliver shoebox gifts to children in Togo, sharing a message of encouragement, hope and God’s love through the project Operation Christmas Child.
Annette volunteers year-round with the local Operation Christmas Child team, mobilizing others in the community to pack and collect shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children in need overseas. Annette, who has spent 10 years packing shoebox gifts of her own, has now personally placed these gifts into children’s hands.
“I returned from Togo, Africa with a whole new view about OCC. Yes, seeing the children opening their gifts was very heartwarming and I will always remember them but there’s much more,” Annette told ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net).
“My new perspective is that I am humbled working with our national leaders and the local churches and ministries in Africa. They are so passionate about Operation Christmas Child; they prayed, they had a plan and where well-equipped to share the gospel.”
Annette continued, “It brought home the realization, that, as I heard the leaders telling the gospel message, the shoeboxes were a tangible connection of God’s love for the children.
“Just think, each shoebox, carefully packed, is carried by missionaries, ministers, teachers, orphan workers, refuge workers and many others, until it reaches the grateful arms of needy children. Yes, it reinforces the LOVE OF CHRIST. The boxes, along with the gospel message, play such a vital role in sending God’s love to these children and giving them hope.”
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes was Nov. 13 – 20. For more information about Operation Christmas Child, call (612) 359-7025 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ .
MEDIA NOTE: For complete media materials including high-resolution downloadable photos, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occnewsroom .
Photo captions: 1) Annette Sova of St. Paul, MN, in Togo for Operation Christmas Child earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse). 2) A child in Moldova shows off her copy of The Greatest Journey. (Courtesy Samaritan’s Purse). 3) Michael Ireland of the ASSIST News Service.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister, and an award-winning local cable-TV program host/producer who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. You may follow Michael on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelIrelandMediaMissionary.com, and on Twitter at @Michael_ASSIST. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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