“I want that!”

Recognizing that many staff members and volunteers had spiritual and emotional challenges, Samaritan’s Purse invited Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains to minister at the Operation Christmas Child shoebox processing centres.

That was 14 years ago. Since then, BG-RRT chaplains have become a vital part of the Operation Christmas Child experience, and God has worked through them to come alongside many hurting people during the holiday season—when difficulties are often magnified.

Anna* was a 2023 volunteer and her heart was breaking for a friend who was suffering from a brain tumor. She felt helpless, but decided to keep her commitment to inspect shoeboxes at the Samaritan’s Purse Calgary processing center.

God used that commitment—and a compassionate chaplain—to transform Anna’s heart and give her new hope.
Learning there were crisis-trained chaplains at the processing center (made possible because of financial partners like you), Anna used her break to track down Rachel, who was on duty that evening.

After praying for her, Rachel quickly saw that Anna’s heart was overwhelmed with sadness for her friend. So she shared the words of Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (ESV).

Anna regularly attended church with relatives, but when asked if she understood that Jesus was offering Himself as balm for her emotional wounds, Anna confessed that this was a revelation. She agreed to listen as Rachel used our Steps To Peace With God booklet to gently, compassionately explain the Gospel. Rachel was overjoyed at Anna’s reaction.

“It was like she was a little girl with the lights turned on for the first time,” Rachel said gratefully. “She was lit up and hungry to know more. We didn’t even get to the end of the booklet before Anna told me ‘I want that (salvation through faith in Christ)!’”

With the Holy Spirit surrounding them, Anna and Rachel prayed together for the new life that God had given Anna through repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.
Rachel gave Anna a Bible “and when she received it, we went through it together and she told me ‘I can’t wait to get home to read this’.”

We praise God for how He worked through Rachel and other BG-RRT chaplains to serve as Christ’s ambassadors to the thousands of people who volunteered at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse. During the three weeks of shoebox processing, chaplains prayed with almost 500 volunteers and staff.

*Name changed to protect privacy