This Christmas season our students participated in Operation Christmas by filling shoe boxes for children in other countries. When they heard the true story of a boy named Yves they realized how fortunate they were to live in the United States and how a simple gesture of love can make a difference that reaches beyond a simple shoe box!
Yves Dushime was born into a family of eight during the ripple effects of the Rwanda genocide. He woke up each day to the sounds of war. He drank muddy water to stay alive, waiting for rainy days so he can wash himself off with palm leaves. The Rwanda genocide sent his family as refugees on a lifelong journey of searching for a safe haven in Togo, a village in West Africa.
It was while living there that Yves received a shoebox from Operation Christmas filled with lots of things that he desperately needed like a toothbrush. Yves also received a scarf. Although he did not need a scarf in the sweltering temperatures in Africa, Yves put it to good use by making it into a pillow case and cherished his gift. Aside from the material things that Yves received, he heard the message of Jesus’ love for him.
Yves and his family eventually were able to flee to the United States. His family landed in the frigid air of Buffalo NY. Yves reached in his suitcase and pulled out his scarf that he had received years earlier in his shoebox. The hands that wrapped his shoebox did not realize that Yves didn’t need a scarf in Africa, but God knew that he needed it years later in Buffalo. Today, Yves is co-founder of “Project Life” with the mission to empower poor communities in developing nations, starting with Togo, and to equip them with the resources to help them gradually get out of poverty, once and for all.
Let us never underestimate the power of a simple gift and what God can do with it to change one young man, and eventually an entire country!