Perdomo, a speaker for the international Christian relief project and evangelism organization the Samaritan’s Purse, encouraged locals to stuff the shoeboxes and deliver them to the First Presbyterian Church, located at 101 East Third Ave., during the week of Nov. 12-19. For more information about what can be put into the boxes and for questions, contact coordinator Lauren Brewster at 706-234-0999 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The youngest boy of 10 children — which he insisted was a moderately sized family by Honduran standards — Perdomo said his family was very poor. His mother worked as a Christian pastor and midwife in the village, and only four of his siblings were able to go to school. When it was time for Perdomo himself to attend school, his family couldn’t afford the required school supplies: one pencil and one notebook.
“My mother said, ‘Don’t worry about it; we will pray,’” Perdomo told the crowd. “‘We will ask God to find a way for you to go to school.’ And I remember every night, every day praying, asking God.”
He said one day, someone came to the church where his mother preached and announced that the next day missionaries would arrive to hand out free stuff.
“I remember they came and handed me the box,” Perdomo said. “And I couldn’t believe it, what I had in my hands. We never celebrate birthdays, we never celebrated Christmas because we didn’t have the money and somebody gave me a free — free — gift. I was like, ‘Amazing, this box is so pretty.’ I didn’t want to open it.”
Perdomo said he didn’t want to tear into the beautiful box because he didn’t want to break it. Finally someone urged him to open it.
“Guess what was inside the box?” he asked his audience. “School supplies. I just kept pulling stuff out and pulling stuff out. Finally I was jumping up and down. It was five pencils, a notebook, crayons, a coloring book and a pair of scissors.”
Perdomo said he accepted Jesus as his savior about three years later.
“Missionaries gave me a New Testament and I took the New Testament with me everywhere I went even though I didn’t know how to read,” he said. “I knew I was going to learn and with that shoebox, I was able to go to school and learn how to read.”
He said he began to understand the power of God’s love because of the shoe box gift, so simple to those who pack it, but so meaningful to the child whose hands it finds. Because of his constant, fervent prayers and the selflessness of a stranger that lived across the planet, he said, God made sure that particular box found him.
“That’s how God works,” he said. “He put the box in my hands, those pencils, that notebook, for me to go to school, so I could learn how to read, how to write and come back a few years later and be able to learn about his love.”
Perdomo moved to the U.S. after he met his wife, Juanita, who was a missionary. Now, he works with Operation Christmas Child as a speaker, sharing his testimony at churches and events about the shoebox gift that changed his life as a small boy.