PDT Staff Writer
Olivia Lambert, of West Portsmouth, recently returned from a trip to Mongolia with Operation Christmas Child (OCC) to distribute shoe box gifts to needy children. She said the trip has changed her life and her perspective on OCC.
“Some of the things I will remember most about the trip includes the look on the kids faces when they got their shoe boxes. It was a look of happiness. The Mongolian culture is very reserved. So to even see someone smile is very rare, and that’s all we saw over there was smiles,” Lambert said.
At age 18, Lambert was one of 20 young adults in America chosen by the Samaritans Purse Youth (SPY) program to help deliver Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts to Mongolia from July 20-28.
“This was a life-changing trip for me. To see the blessings they received from us being there was awesome. Even though I did not think we were doing much, they felt overjoyed because of the things we did,” Lambert said. “One day we put on a play for some of the kids, even though it was only five minutes they still smiled and clapped.”
Lambert said she has been volunteering locally with Operation Christmas Child for the last five years. She said the experience of distributing the shoe box gifts has changed her perspective on OCC.
“I’ve always been on the side of the operation where we pack boxes and send them other places. We know those boxes changes lives but we had never seen it,” Lambert said. “This trip gave me a chance to see that, and to truly see how far it (a shoe box gift) goes.”
Lambert did not have an accurate count on the number of shoe box gifts distributed by the group, but estimated it to be in the hundreds. She said she hopes to use the experience as a recruiting tool, to get more people involved with OCC locally.
Lambert will be speaking at several local churches talking about her experiences and trying to encourage others to get involved locally.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.