Steward to discuss Operation Christmas Child at Parkersburg church

PARKERSBURG — Jaki Steward will be speaking about Operation Christmas Child at Emmanuel Baptist Church on June 23 at 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

A luncheon for Steward and her husband will be held afterward in the church fellowship hall, 1710 23rd St. in Parkersburg.

Operation Christmas Child provides Christmas gifts in shoeboxes for children living around the world. It is a project of Samaritan’s Purse.

Steward is a “Full Circle Speaker,” which means she received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox as a 6-year-old orphan in Guatemala and is now a spokesperson for Operation Christmas Child, sharing the impact that shoebox and the follow-up ministry had on her life.

Steward was left at an orphanage in Guatemala by her young mother when she was only a few months old, according to a press release. Sharing a room with 12 other girls, she learned to protect the few possessions she had.

One December, when Steward was 5 years old, she received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. Cuddling the stuffed animal she received in her shoebox, she felt special, loved and cared for, the press release states.

She had something to call her own.

One year later, Steward was adopted into a family in the United States. She started packing shoeboxes to share the love of Jesus with other children like herself, she said.