115 Christmas gifts had been bought and carefully wrapped, ensuring they were personalized for each child. 121 Food parcels had been planned and packaged. A special meal for over 125 people had been prepared and was ready to serve. The arts & crafts were ready to go. The church hall was decorated, and a bible message had been carefully considered. The kids had arrived…we were ready to party! ….
At the very back of the hall sat a row of little boys, all looking wide-eyed and also a little worse for the wear. Just that morning, a friend had dropped off a few large bags of clothes…just the right size for these youngsters. I discreetly called each of them outside…what did they need the most? Pants? A warm top? Shoes? Digging through the bag, we tried to match up what item would fit them best.
One little boy with a precious smile clearly needed new shoes…the pair he was wearing looked far too big for him. But there were no shoes his size in the bag. A quick plan was made, and shoes were bought from a nearby store. Upon showing him the new shoes, his face lit up, and an even bigger smile appeared…these were his to keep…forever?! Yes! His old shoes were removed…upon doing so, it was seen that not only were they too big, but they also had only half of the bottom… the heel section was completely worn away. Through a shy grin, he spontaneously gave me a huge hug!
I found out that he lived in the informal settlement near the church, one with some of the poorest tin shacks and garbage-strewn areas I had seen. The little boy, around Emma’s age, had lost both his parents; he was, therefore, being “fostered” by a family friend, someone who drank more than they cared for him. A neighbor was looking out for him, and thus he was one of the kids Bokamoso helped provide food to each month. As the party went on around us, I felt so blessed that God had brought this sweet boy to us and that He had brought a piece of joy into his life by providing him with new, fitting shoes… it was the best Christmas gift I could have wished for.
Watch a short video reel of the party below!