Changing Communities

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I think my head is finally sorting itself out. Since returning from Papua New Guinea I’ve been catching up on a little sleep and trying to get over a constant light dizziness. I’m not sure if that’s the result of a heavy schedule or the side effects of the anti-malarial tablets I’m taking.

Over just four days I had the amazing opportunity to join a media team from Australia and New Zealand to look at the work of Samaritan’s Purse and in particular, Operation Christmas Child.

Papua New Guinea is a truly amazing place. The time we spent there was extremely hot and incredibly humid. While the conditions were a little testing, the time we had there was well worth the rushed visit. The people we met welcomed us warmly and it was such an honour to see the work they’re doing amongst the poorer villages near the nation’s capital of Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea (PNG), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands (the western portion of the island is a part of the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua). It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia. The capital is Port Moresby.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of just under 7 million. It is also one of the most rural, with only 18% of its people living in urban centres.

The majority of the population lives in traditional societies and practice subsistence-based agriculture. – Wikipedia

While we were in Papua New Guinea to help distribute some of the thousands of shoe boxes collected this year for Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child is a unique project of Samaritan’s Purse that brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes.

It provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple but hands-on project that has the power to transform children’s lives.

In 2009, our teams in Australia and New Zealand delivered over 300,000 gift-filled shoe boxes to South East Asia and the South Pacific. Globally, Samaritan’s Purse distributed an estimated 8.5 million shoe boxes to children in 105 countries.

As each shoe box gift is delivered, it is treasured by the child that receives it, and is a lasting reminder that he or she is precious to God.

One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was a visit to an area that received shoe boxes last year. We saw first hand how the simple gifts given last year have opened opportunities that have changed the health and well being of the entire community.

In the coming days I want to share more details of the trip and I hope it will inspire you to get involved in Operation Christmas Child or to support the work of Samaritan’s Purse in some other way.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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