For children, when it comes to gifts, there is no such thing as the right time. That’s to say everytime a gift is given, a child will always appreciate it.
And so the feeling of receiving gifts in a box has been shared by hundreds of Samoan children during the past week.
Operation Christmas Child (O.C.C), a programme under the Samaritans Purse Ministry, has just finished distributing gifts to children in Savai’i and Upolu.
The team worked hard through the heat, rain and bad weather to make sure every child is covered.
Pastor Nu’uausala Siaosi of Apia Protestant Church and the O.C.C National Coordinator told Samoa Observer that the programme has only been around for four years now.
“So we know that it has been going on for quite a while in other countries but in Samoa we received the first taste of it after the 2009 Tsunami,” he said. “Samaritans purse was here to help with Tsunami relief work and they introduced the O.C.C programme to be a blessing to the children of Samoa.”
The gifts are distributed to children of different churches from ages 4-15.
“What we do is we call all the pastors together so we can explain what the gifts are all about which is the love of Christ which has been placed in the hearts of people in other countries who put the gifts together to be given to the children here.
“We then give all the gifts to the churches and they will distribute it out to the children during Easter when they gather for the celebration.”
The gifts were meant to arrive in December but due to unfavorable weather there was a delay. The message of the gifts coincides strongly with the meaning of Easter, which makes it fitting to give it out at this time. “This is the same time we did it last year which goes hand in hand with Easter where we emphasis the love of God. With every gift we have teachings for the children which is a gift behind the gift and the greatest gift of all is Jesus.
“This is one of the reasons we prefer this time of gift distribution because of Easter.”
The O.C.C programme caters to 11 different denominations with a committee of six people charged with each zone in Samoa.
“We have divided the country into five zones and each zone has a committee of six who all work under the national leadership team. We work together with them to do the different distributions in their zones,” Pastor Nu’uausala said.
According to Pastor Nu’uausala, none of this would be possible without God who has given people the heart of giving.
“We are grateful for the love of Christians on the other side of the world; In Europe, America, New Zealand and Australia who have the heart to give these gifts to the children in the developing countries and the underprivileged community,” he said. “We are also thankful to the lord that there is a meaning behind it all; Jesus Christ is the greatest gift of all. We take the gifts and we also take the message of salvation with us.”
The distribution of the gifts were completed on Friday 18th of March with the help of Betham Brothers Enterprise who supplied containers, shipping clearance and transportation all free of charge.