Posts Tagged ‘Operation Christmas Child’

Rwanda 19 years later

March 24, 2013

Somewhere in the world today, it’s time for gifts to be opened, because the twelve months of Christmas just keep  rolling on and on.  This year,  Samaritan’s Purse presents more than 6 million gift-boxes to children on every continent.  Probably every day of the year, a few of those presents get opened, somewhere.

Last week the celebration of gift-giving was in Kigali, Rwanda. My daughter, Kim, was there; she works for Samaritan’s Purse, the distributor of yuletide surprises that extends generosity everywhere across the world, especially in developing nations.  Kim’s UNC photojournalism training launched her into a career where she could share these moments:

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It may not be five golden rings inside the box, or a partridge in a pear tree. But whatever the surprise booty turns out to be, my guess is that the immediate benefit of each shoebox-gift being opened will be a pound or two of joy.

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That’s quite a change among the children in Rwanda, compared to the class warfare and genocide that was happening there nineteen years ago.

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I would not suggest that Operation Christmas Child is responsible for ending the tribal strife that tore Rwanda apart in 1994; that peacemaking task was surely accomplished by the good people of that country who made some good decisions and then acted resolutely upon them. But now Christian givers throughout the world, whose presents were prepared last fall, are happy to have contributed some fun items there– toys and toothbrushes, jump-ropes, dolls, crayons, cracker jacks and God-knows-what-all, along with the good news of our Creator’s presence among them on this troubled earth.

Glass half-Full

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Uganda has come a long way since Idi Amin.

October 5, 2011

The nation of Uganda has come a long way on the path to civilization since the dark days of Idi Amin’s regime. Although that dictator had attempted, back in the ’70s, to impose his blood-shedding will upon his fellow Ugandans, his murderous manipulations were foiled by the neighboring Tanzanians. They ran Idi and his gang of thugs out of Africa when he tried to export his cruel program across their border in 1979. Thank God they put a stop to his campaigns of killing.

This is the first thing I think about when Uganda is mentioned, because I’m a sixtyish baby-boomer who has kept, through the years, an eye on world news, and I remember this about Uganda: the murderous dictator, Idi Amin, who had been assisted by the Libya dictator, Qadhafi, and how he killed hundreds of thousands of his people just for the sake of…for the sake of …whatever it is that tyrants are trying to do when they set their killing machines into motion.

But these days, Uganda is, thank God, a very different place. Just a month or two ago, my daughter Kim visited that nation and its capital city, Kampala. She was working there–assisting in, and reporting on, the Operation Christmas Child gift distribution. Kim, trained at UNC School of Journalism, was able to utilize some of her documentary skills, as you will see from these photos, which are accompanied by her report upon the Samaritan’s Purse work there.

Yes, Kim’s facebook update about this situation in a formerly war-torn Uganda brings good news. And I received that news with a kind of deja vu, because it reminded me of when my other journalist daughter, Katie, had sent similarly upbeat reports from Vietnam a few years ago. Katie and her team of world-tromping Christian companions had been welcomed with open arms, in that country of Vietnam, which had been torn to bloody hell during the civil war of the ’60s and ’70s in which we had a dismal role.

Now these days…well, we live in dark days–hard times–in which the ominous clouds of depression and unrest seem to grow heavier every day upon our lowering prospects for peace and prosperity. But somewhere in the world today, children are joyful because the love of Christ is being extended to them. Uganda is such a place (who’d have thought it?), thanks to the persistently beneficial work of Samaraitan’s Purse, and other Christian outfits who reach out to underpriveleged folks everywhere.

I’m so happy that my Kim is an integral link in that worldwide network of mercy and provision. God bless ’em.

Glass half-Full