Operation Christmas Child kicks off with goal to donate 11 milli

Operation Christmas Child kicks off with goal to donate 11 million shoeboxes worldwide

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PLAINVIEW, Texas -

Millions of kids around the world will receive a gift of a lifetime this holiday season -- a shoebox filled with presents and the power of prayer.

It is part of the Samaritan Purse's Operation Christmas Child project.

The Samaritan Purse's goal this year is to reach 11 million more kids like Alina Aisina, who received her shoebox 17 years ago.

"They get processed and sent to 150 countries, and every child that receives a shoebox gets to hear about Jesus and they get that opportunity to receive that gift. For many of these kids, this is the first gift they have ever received in their entire life," Aisina said.

Aisina said she knows first-hand how this project can put God into the lives of people who would have otherwise never had the chance. 

"I grew up in Central Asia -- in a country that is restricted to the gospel. I grew up in poverty, abuse, and persecution because my family and I are Christian and we grew up in a Muslim country. I received my shoebox when I was five years old, and this was a tangible representation of God's love for me that I believe he's still using to this day to impact my life," Aisina said.

Now, she is telling her story at universities like Wayland Baptist, sharing the power this one shoebox can have.

"That's why I always challenge people like 'if you could do one more, do it,' because one more child who may not in any other way have that opportunity, and I'm obviously so passionate about it because he has allowed it to impact my life even to this day. When you think about it, I wouldn't be here today, sharing with all these students about this, if it weren't for that one family, packing that one box," Aisina said.

This week marks the kick off for the Operation Christmas Child project, and donations are open until collection day on November 25.

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