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The Love Behind a Shoebox Gift Surprised a Girl in Cambodia

Boun Thorne grew up in a boat village in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia. In the aftermath of a terrible situation, she moved at age 10 to a safe house where she received Bible teaching and an Operation Christmas Child shoebox—her first gift ever!

When Boun inquired why someone would send her a gift, a teacher at the home told her that it came from people who love her.

“Growing up, I never heard the words ‘I love you’ from my dad or my mom,” Boun said, “but then someone who lives far away—that I don’t even know—said they love me!”

Inside her shoebox gift, Boun found a yo-yo, her first stuffed animal, and a pair of flip-flops with plastic jewels on it. She often went without shoes as she worked on the fishing boats in her village, so having an extra pair of sandals was a special treat. These simple items accomplished something great in Boun’s life: they showed her a glimpse of her Heavenly Father’s care for her.

“God’s love is big and He’s so real! He can make the impossible happen,” she said. “He can make someone love me when they don’t even know me.”

Boun is one of 1.2 million children who have been blessed with an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift in Cambodia. Of this group, 84,000 boys and girls have also participated in The Greatest Journey, our follow-up discipleship program designed especially for shoebox recipients.

Find out more of Boun’s story by watching the compelling video below.

You can bless children around the world by prayerfully packing shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items. October is our national collection month, find your closest drop off point here.

Learn how to pack a shoebox today!