Eager, anxious faces pressed against the grimy windowpanes. Eyes wide with excitement followed every move down on the cobbled street.
Heckett was the firt to see the familiar brown canvas covering on the back of the supply truck. The seven year old boy jumped up and down, his barefeet making slapping sounds on the wooden floor. Emil and Rene joined in with clapping hands and shouts of "Truck, truck."
Mrs. Primo, the lower grades' instructor, tapped the blackboard with her pointer stick to get the attention of her class of orphaned children. Each child skipped or hopped to their desk, unable to believe this day had finally come.
Brin and Gerard, from the older class, knocked on the classroom door and entered with their arms full of red, green and gold wrapped boxes. Instructed to pile them on the floor, they went back for more.
Mrs. Primo began singing Old McDonald, and pointed to Ann for the name of an animal. Ann could hardly think, with anticipation welling inside her. She said "dog", and sang along with her fellow classmates.
Finally the delivery was complete. Seventeen boxes labeled for a girl age 5 to 8, and nine boxes for boys of the same age were waiting right in front of them. The patient, methodical teacher called one name, allowing Vladamir to be first to pick out a box for himself. Teacher's instructions were to hold the box on top of their desk until each pupil had one.
Louis, Daniel, Phen and Thom each marched up front. There were boxes of red paper printed with trees. Green wrapping paper had candy sticks and snowmen. The gold paper was shiny with pine trees and clusters of red berries. The young kids could hardly wait to open their treasures.
Phen lifted his box a little off the desk, it was heavy and something inside made a noise.
The girls filed up front, Dagmar leading the way. Quickly each little girl took a package and slid back into the seat attached to their desk. Mrs. Primo said, "Now." The rubberbands came off and lids were flipped aside.
Jina popped 4 pieces of blue gum right in her smiling mouth. She found a red plastic horse, green soap, a yellow towel, a toothbrush with a lion on it, toothpaste of her very own. There was a bag of butterscotch candy that tasted yummy even with the gum. Her lips ran across the harmonica bringing more sound into the room full of giggles and gasps. A pen with a red flower on top was tied to a pad of paper, the pages blue and orange.
Each child piled the items on the lid and kept digging for more. Mrs. Primo was amazed at how many things could fit inside an ordinary shoebox. She caught Daniel's eye. He pulled a big purple sucker from his mouth showing it to her. Louis looked up and lifted a toy truck with wheels that spun. Ann had pink and green barrets, a purple hairbrush with a mirror, and a silky red scarf with kittens on it.
Jina saw a soft hand sticking out underneath the pad of paper. Tugging on it, out came a cute yellow monkey. She took the long monkey arms, placed them around her neck and squeezed its slinky body in a tight hug, pretending it was a real hug, from a real person.
Phen began to blow a wooden whistle, with Heckett answering with a long note on a little flute. Dagmar had a wind up toy clown that spun around and a bell rang on the top.
Thrilled, delighted, mezmerized were the words Mrs. Primo was thinking as she saw all the thoughtful gifts carefully arranged in each shoebox. Jelly beans like she had had as a little girl, packages of pigs, sheep and dogs, dinosaurs and little boy and girl dolls. Games and puzzles, balls and jacks, yoyos and jumpropes she saw popping out of the twenty-six wonderful packages.
The brightly wrapped treasure troves were from Operation Christmas Child. This is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an organization founded by Billy Graham's son, Franklin. By going to their website you may also share the love of Jesus with children in ravaged areas of our war-torn and desperate world.
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