Great Joy in a Little Box

November 25, 2014

A little over a month ago, more than 1500 individuals came out to the 7th annual Bikers with Boxes at the Library bringing over 3,000 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child collection week officially ended yesterday, but you can still help!

Throughout the year the Billy Graham Library collects shoeboxes and delivers them to Samaritan’s Purse. You can also pack a box online.

Visit the Operation Christmas Child website to find out how to virtually build a box, or to find out what to include in your own shoebox.

We built a shoebox so you can see how simple it can be. One of the special items that we included is a little lamb with a special story.


As Franklin Graham recounted in his book, Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts, while visiting war torn Rwanda in 1994 he encountered a small girl. Alone, she had been orphaned in the war that surrounded her. Franklin asked a nearby soldier to help him understand the words the little girls was uttering.

“The soldier reluctantly bent down over his automatic weapon straining to hear the words. The little girls didn’t event notice him. Her gaze was fixed, but she kept rocking back and forth, oblivious to the scorching African sun.

The soldier finally identified the words:

“Jesus . . . loves . . her . . .” He paused. “No . . . me. Something like that.”

“Is she singing ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so’?” I asked.

He looked up in surprise. “Yes, that’s it.”

This little girl had lost everything. Well, almost everything. I had to conclude that her parents had left her with the most valuable thing they could give her – faith.

Upon sharing the story with his mother, Ruth Bell Graham – who was serving at the time as the honorary chairperson of Operation Christmas Child – she made a request that each child receive with their shoebox a music box the played ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ Eventually the music box was put inside a stuffed lamb.

Ruth Bell Graham said this about the musical lambs:

“These little lamb music boxes that play ‘Jesus Loves Me’ have a special place in my heart. When Franklin was born, a dear friend of ours gave him a stuffed black lamb that played this song. It was always comfort to know that our Shepherd cares for his sheep.

I believe one way He does this is through Operation Christmas Child. In every place that Samaritan’s Purse distributes shoeboxes, some children are too young or too sick to enjoy a shoebox gift. For these special children, a music box is the perfect gift.

The Bible says we are all lost sheep who need a Shepherd – the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Nowhere is that more evident than when you look into the eyes of a young child – one of God’s little lambs – and find a soul crying out to be loved. After hearing Franklin’s story about the little orphan girl in Rwanda, and since I love little lambs, I asked Franklin to find a way to tuck these music boxes inside stuffed toy lambs with a wind up key. They have brought smiles, laughter and comfort to little hearts.”

The plush lambs are still included with each shoebox gift, but they are now also available for purchase in Ruth’s Attic bookstore at the Billy Graham Library.

You can also help make sure each child continues to receive these precious gifts. Through the Samaritan’s Purse gift catalog, for just $10, you can give five precious children a comforting reminder of the Lamb of God and His love.


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