Elena Nicholson

The Ozark Mountain Operation Christmas Child Team is hosting National Speaker Elena Nicholson this Saturday in Branson and invites the public to come hear her inspirational experience.

Nicholson was moved into an orphanage in the former Soviet Union after being taken away from an abusive poverty-stricken home. 

On Saturday Nicholson will recount her story of how the first gift she had ever received was an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. 

Nicholson found a booklet inside the shoebox that told her the story of a creator who loved her. This gift led her to pray for a family and for her sister. 

In 2004 her prayers were answered when she was adopted by a family in the United States. Ozark Mountain Operation Christmas Child Media Support Member Linda LeNeve shared why she feels it’s important for people to hear Nicholson’s story.

“I think this is really going to show what a shoebox does,” said LeNeve. “A lot of people have kind of heard about the shoebox thing, but they don’t really know what a shoebox has done.”

LeNeve added that this event will serve as a great introduction to anyone who is unfamiliar with Operation Christmas Child.

“I think it will show the inner workings of what a shoebox does, instead of just being this is a kids shoebox and what we can put in it and it’s a fun thing,” LeNeve said.” It really is like a mission trip without leaving home. A lot of people can never make a mission trip, but this really shows, and is right on target, with missions and how this reaches people all over the world.”

Nicholson will be speaking from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Grace Community Assembly Church in Branson. The event is free and open to the public. 

There will be snacks and displays that illustrate the ways to pack your shoebox gifts. 

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

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