A Kenyan who has benefited from the gift of a shoebox through Operation Christmas Child will speak this weekend about the impact it has had on his life.

Kululu Atsiaya received his gift at the age of 11 while living in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. He grew up in poverty and had never experienced the joy of receiving a gift.

His speaking schedule is:

Saturday

  • 2 p.m., Waco — Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, 1300 Columbus Ave.
  • 7 p.m., McGregor — College Avenue Baptist Church, 201 Monroe St.

Sunday

  • 8:30 a.m., Clifton — service at First Baptist Church, 106 S. Avenue G.
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m., Gatesville (sandwich lunch provided) — Coryell Community Church C3 Youth Building, 115 N. Levita Road.
  • 3 p.m., Riesel — Meier Settlement United Methodist Church annex building, 508 E. Frederick St.
  • 6 p.m., Hillsboro — service at First Baptist Church Hillsboro,
  • 300 E. Franklin St.

All the events are free and open to the public.

An Operation Christmas Child team in Temple collects more than 13,000 shoeboxes each year, making for a total of more than 23,000 in Central Texas. Over 200 churches participate annually as well as groups and hundreds of individuals.

Cumulatively, more than 276,000 shoeboxes have been collected in Central Texas since the beginning of the ministry in 1993.

The Heart of Texas area goal for 2019 is to pack 23,501 gift-filled shoeboxes.

Debbie Quarles has served with the ministry for more than 13 years and has volunteered as area coordinator for the Heart of Texas area for three years. She oversees a team of more than 15 year-round volunteers across Central Texas.

She had the opportunity to see the ministry in action in 2018 when she traveled to Cameroon, in central Africa, to witness distribution of the boxes first-hand.

Brandon Quarles, a Baylor Law School professor and director of the law library, serves as the prayer coordinator for the area. The gift boxes created locally are collected at Highland Baptist Church the third week of November, put on semi trailers and taken to a processing center in Dallas before being shipped to the partners in allocated countries.

Highland Baptist Church in Waco has served as the main dropoff location in the Heart of Texas area for more than 20 years.

The McGregor area, led by Lissette Carpenter, is celebrating five years of being a dropoff location. It has collected more than 4,000 shoeboxes in the past five years. New College Avenue Baptist Church pastor the Rev. Philip Riegel has served as a chaplain at the Dallas processing center where all boxes are processed before going overseas.

Riesel plans to pack more than 2,500 shoeboxes this year; the town’s population is around 1,025.

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