MARCH 2021 UPDATE from FRANKLIN GRAHAM
SHARING THE UNCHANGING GOSPEL
The Greatest Journey Begins Around the World
As we follow Christ's command to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations," (Matthew 28:19, ESV) we have the great joy of seeing how He is at work, drawing people to Himself. Last year, Samaritan's Purse collected more than 9.1 million Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that will be distributed to boys and girls in over 100 countries worldwide. Each of these shoebox gifts is a Gospel opportunity, opening doors to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with children and their families.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, children and their families desperately need to know about the unshakeable hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone. Through Operation Christmas Child, the Gospel message is reaching many who have never heard it before.
After receiving their shoebox, children are invited to participate in The Greatest Journey—the discipleship program we created especially for boys and girls. All around the world right now, children are learning who Jesus is and what He did for them on the cross.
Thirteen-year-old Modeline graduated from the 12-lesson program, which she participated in through one of our local church partners in Haiti. She learned that, through Jesus Christ, she can have a personal relationship with God. "After hearing all these wonderful things, I decided to give my life to Christ," she said.
Last year, 3.2 million boys and girls took part in The Greatest Journey. We praise God that 1.2 million children, like Modeline, put their faith in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation.
Now, Modeline shares her faith with others. "l always encourage my friends to come to church," she said. After graduating from The Greatest Journey program, she received her own copy of God's Word. Each child who completes the discipleship program receives a Bible, written in their own language. Although the items in her shoebox brought her great joy, she says this was the best gift she received. "My favorite thing is the Bible, so I can read the Word of God."
Through Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey, children are being introduced to Jesus Christ, learning to walk in faith, and are sharing Him with their family and friends. I hope that you are encouraged to read about how God is at work, and reminded to pray for the work of these projects. May God bless you.
IN TOGO, A BOY NAMED KEVIN READS WITH HIS FATHER FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT HE RECEIVED AFTER GRADUATING FROM THE GREATEST JOURNEY.
A YOUNG GIRL'S COURAGEOUS FAITH, A FAMILY CHANGED
Pastor Jorge* still marvels at what he saw God do through a young girl in a small community in Guinea-Bissau, on Africa's west coast. It started with a shoebox outreach event a few months before the pandemic. Afterward, 31 children enrolled in The Greatest Journey, including 10-year-old Simone*. Her family didn't know Jesus, and as she arrived at the class, she wore a belt around her waist that her parents believed protected her from evil spirits.
Simone attended week after week, but it was lesson eight where she seemed to listen extra carefully. The Bible story was of Mary and Martha from Luke chapter 10, where Mary sits at Jesus' feet. The children learned about staying close to Jesus and spending time with Him. They also learned a Bible verse: "l am the vine. You are the branches. If anyone remains joined to me, and I to him, he will bear a lot of fruit. You can't do anything without me" (John 15:5, NIRV).
That day, Simone decided to follow Jesus, and she took off her protective belt. Her family feared what might happen to her without it, but as Pastor Jorge said, "Simone now trusts Jesus."
And this young girl's courageous example of faith changed her family. Her father and three brothers also decided to follow Christ. They offered their home for Pastor Jorge to plant a new church, which 15 people started to attend three times a week.
Simone and 26 other children completed all 12 lessons and graduated from The Greatest Journey. Twenty-one made decisions for Christ. Each graduate received a certificate and New Testament Bible in their language. More than one year later, Simone continues to stand firm in her faith and serve the Lord, including playing drums for the church.
If you ask Pastor Jorge, he knows the difference the Gospel can make in a life, a family, and a community: "Praise God for the lives of these children and the opportunity Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey has given them to hear the power Gospel and follow Jesus, Amen."
THE GREATEST JOURNEY LESSONS MAY LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR AS WE WORK WITH OUR CHURCH PARTNERS TO FOLLOW ALL HEALTH RESTRICTIONS. STILL, THE NEED FOR HOPE AND THE LIFE TRANSFORMING MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL REMAIN THE SAME.
"HE LOVES US NO MATTER WHO WE ARE"
In Nicaragua, another 10-year-old girl, Isabella*, also came to faith in Jesus through The Greatest Journey:
"What I liked most about The Greatest Journey was how we can meet Jesus and know Him. We can know that He loves us and that we can be His friends. He is interested in all the children of the whole world, and as in the story of the Samaritan, who did not care who the injured man was, he helped him. That is what Jesus does for us, He loves us no matter who we are."
Isabella is one of more than 12.3 million children who have put their faith in Jesus Christ over the last 11 years of The Greatest Journey. God makes each journey of faith possible as He works through your faithful prayers and gifts. You help reach millions more, one child at a time.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
BECOME A MONTHLY PARTNER!
Setting up regular monthly gifts is a simple way to reach the world with the Gospel. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to partner with us in this way, we've included a monthly donation form with this Newsletter. You can also sign up at SamaritansPurse.ca/donate.
Ask God to work through Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts and The Greatest Journey to bring many children to faith in Christ. Pray for strength, creativity, and the power of the Holy Spirit for our church partners and The Greatest Journey teachers. Ask for wisdom and safety for all involved as they follow health guidelines.
THE GREATEST JOURNEY
Help children know Jesus through The Greatest Journey discipleship lessons offered through churches that deliver Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. Your gift of just $6 per child provides teacher training, lesson materials in the local language, and a New Testament for each graduate. A gift of $90 provides for a class of 15. With $25 monthly, you can help 50 children begin a journey of faith every year.
WHERE MOST NEEDED
Samaritan's Purse works worldwide in the Name of Jesus Christ to help victims of disaster. disease. poverty, famine, and war. Your gift for "Where Most Needed" equips us with the necessary resources— including personnel, materials, supporting services, and equipment to fulfill our mission of relief and evangelism.