BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Rwandan genocide survivor will be visiting a church in Duncansville Friday to tell his story about how one gift in the form of a shoebox changed his life.
The Grace Fellowship Church of Leamersville will be hosting speaker Alex Nsengimana and encouraging community members to help donate gifts ahead of National Collection Week from Nov. 15 to Nov. 22.
In 1994, Nsengimana grew up during the Rwandan Civil War and at 4-years-old witnessed tragedy as his grandmother and uncle were tortured and slaughtered in a mass genocide that killed over 1 million. Nsengimana’s aunt then cared for him and his brother before passing away from an illness. With no family left to care for him, Nsengimana was placed in an orphanage where he lived for the next several years.
One year after arriving at the orphanage, Nsengimana received a gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child; a relief project spearheaded by the evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse. The organization partners with local churches worldwide to help collect gifts for the project.
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Nsengimana says he was excited to have a gift to call his own and the shoebox helped give him the hope that he desperately needed while also finding forgiveness for his family’s killer. Today, he works with Operation Christmas Child paying forward the hope and love he received as a child.
All are welcome to come hear Alex’s story at the church along Brethren Lane in Duncansville from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free red and green shoeboxes will be handed out to those wishing to donate gifts.
In 2020, over 7 million gifts were packed nationwide for Operation Christmas Child with 415,403 built online.
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