A young woman who lived through the harrowing Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999 has helped deliver shoeboxes full of Christmas gifts along with a message of Christian love and encouragement to survivors of the recent school hostage crisis that left hundreds dead in Beslan, Russia.
Columbine survivor Crystal Woodman Miller recently flew to Russia on a plane packed with 425,000 shoeboxes. The purpose of the trip was to deliver the gifts as part of Operation Christmas Child, an annual outreach of the Samaritan's Purse ministry. Through her involvement, Woodman Miller feels she was able, in a small way, to share the true reason for the Christmas season with some of the survivors of the Beslan school siege.
Franklin Graham and Columbine survivor Crystal Woodman Miller join US kids to send gift-filled shoe boxes to hurting kids in Sudan, Beslan, Russia, and Colombia.
The American volunteer says because of what she went through at Columbine High School back in 1999, she can truly relate to the victims of the terror and violence that took place at the Russian middle school. “I think there's just a connection,” she says, “and, deeper than that, I think that God really uses these things in our lives to bring us together and bring us closer to Him.”
Woodman Miller says her prayer is that somehow “these horrible things, once intended for harm, can be turned into something good,” and that, for the young survivors of the Beslan siege, “in some small way these shoeboxes will bring back a little bit of their innocence, a little bit of that childhood that they lost.”
The survivor of the Columbine tragedy says after delivering the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts, she told the Beslan hostage crisis survivors how she recovered after her ordeal and encouraged the youngsters to place their faith in Christ. She says she believes the shoebox gifts can touch the hearts of those who have endured tragedy.
At the same time, Woodman Miller says she hopes her presence and prayers have also helped to encourage healing for the young Beslan siege victims, and that “in words and with my arms just wrapped around them, hugging them and loving them, that they will know the love of Jesus Christ in a tangible way that they will know that there is hope.”
Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief and evangelism organization led by Franklin Graham. Through the ministry's annual Operation Christmas Child project, Samaritan's Purse mobilizes individuals, churches, and other groups in an effort to share the joy of Christmas and the love of Jesus Christ with suffering children around the world.
(This article courtesy of Agape Press).