Operation Christmas Joy: Will you give a gift to an Iranian Christian refugee child?
The Bible relates how wise men from the East brought gifts to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:1-11). Scholars tell us they probably came from the country we now call Iran.
Today in Turkey, Bosnia and Serbia many thousands of Iranian Christian refugees face a cold winter and an uncertain future. They fled persecution, and now struggle to survive in hostile Turkish society or in dire camps in Bosnia and Serbia. Amongst them are children, the most vulnerable of all.
Bringing Christmas Joy
“Operation Christmas Joy” is providing Christmas presents for refugee children, aged 4 to 14, from Christian families, mainly Iranians. Each child will get warm clothes, a pair of shoes, games or activities appropriate for Covid times, stationery and nuts (a nutritious snack).
Building children's faith
Testimonies from children at past Christmases reveal the huge impact of these simple gifts.
“As I was watching from the church building window, I saw everything covered with snow,” said an Iranian Christian boy, living in Turkey. “I said to my friend, ‘I wish we had gloves, so on our way home we could play in the snow.’ It was very cold!”
Soon afterwards the youngsters were given their Operation Christmas Joy gifts. “When we received our gift packs, both my friend and I saw a pair of gloves amongst the other gifts in our bags. I was very happy and said, ‘Dear God thank You, You are so kind. Thank You for giving us both the snow and the gloves as your gift so we can enjoy playing outside. Lord, You also gave me a Lego set, which I very much wanted.’ From that day on I felt my God much closer to me; He is always with me and I love Him very much. As a matter of fact, I have eagerly started reading the kids Bible that I received as a Christmas gift.”
Be wise, give joy
Following the example of the wise men from the East, the giving of gifts at Christmas has become an important tradition. In the Western world, many of these gifts are unwanted or unnecessary, but how welcome and precious they are for those living in poverty or destitution!
Children see their prayer answered and rejoice in God’s goodness. Their worn and worried parents, too poor even to buy gloves and scarves for their little ones, are uplifted by the delighted smiles of their children. The Christmas gifts of Operation Christmas Joy “have lasting emotional, psychological as well as spiritual effect” say our project partners.
Please give one more gift this Christmas. Bring joy to an Iranian Christian refugee child.
The cost per child is £40 ($55; €45).