A pastor and his wife whose Texas home was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey recently visited the islands of Antigua and Barbuda — locations devastated by Hurricane Irma — to deliver an early Christmas to kids living there.
Pastor Mark and Cherry Brumbelow of Wild Peach, Texas, partnered up with Samaritan’s Purse to bless about 250 kids whose houses were destroyed; they delivered Christmas gifts through the organization’s Operation Christmas Child project, an effort that sends boxes filled with holiday goodies and gifts to kids around the world.
And the experience was a powerful one.
“Although we weren’t able to take all that they needed, praise God that we were able to take a shoebox and the recipients of these shoeboxes heard the gospel message and it was so wonderfully presented that day,” Brumbelow told The Christian Post. “More than that, the shoeboxes just put smiles on their faces. Children that had so much to frown about had so much to smile about that day. It was just such a blessing to feel that joy and the excitement and be a part of that.”
Watch it all unfold below:
The goal, the pastor said, is to be sure every child in the area receives a gift as part of the Operation Christmas Child effort.
The Brumbelows traveled to the Caribbean after holding a Operation Christmas Child packing party at their church back in September — an effort that came not long after Hurricane Harvey destroyed the pastor’s home; others at the church were also deeply impacted.
But while the congregation could have abandoned their annual effort to pack Christmas gifts in light of their struggles, they decided to forge on and participate anyway in an effort to bring love and hope to children.
“We know God has a special purpose for every shoebox, but we felt there was something different about these, that there was something mighty important and that we must hold that packing party,” Mark Brumbelow told Samaritan’s Purse.
He added, “We didn’t want the devil to get any victory out of this flood.”
The pastor was right, too, as the organization soon told him that some of the 987 boxes the church packed would be heading down to Antigua and Barbuda and, as Samaritan’s Purse noted, “Victims of one hurricane would bless the victims of another hurricane.”
In the end, Brumbelow said he’s glad the church “obeyed the Lord and went ahead with that packing party.” Cherry Brumbelow added that she, too, was blessed to deliver the boxes to kids who had lost so much.
“It’s beyond words how excited I feel. I can’t wait to get home to pack some more shoeboxes,” she said. “It’s such a joy to be a part of Operation Christmas Child, especially knowing that the children will be taught … how to faithfully follow Jesus.”