December 28, 2023

‘Christmas in a Box’

Adventist congregations in Switzerland answer the call to bless children in need.

Cassandro Rama, Swiss Union Conference, and Adventist Review
The intergenerational group of the Luso-Hispanic Church in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. [Photo: Swiss Union Conference]

The Luso-Hispanic Church in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, recently responded to the call for solidarity launched by Sebastião Santos Vieira, the head of the congregation’s Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) department. The “Christmas in a Box” campaign generated exceptional engagement from community members, demonstrating that even a small community can achieve great things, local church leaders said.

As he does every year, Vieira called on church members to participate in the initiative, which he finds particularly appealing. His unwavering belief in the power to do good resulted in a massive turnout that exceeded all expectations. The 2023 initiative resulted in 115 boxes, each one prepared to be sent to a child in Moldova.

“Just because we’re a small church doesn’t mean we can’t do great things,” Vieira said. According to local church leaders, Vieira’s determination to bring joy to children in Moldova was the driving force behind the massive commitment of church members. “On several cold afternoons in October and November, young people and adults mobilized, braving the cold to collect items for children in front of several supermarkets,” they shared.

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The Neuchâtel church group at work on their Christmas care package initiative. [Photo: Swiss Union Conference]

The harvest was fruitful, evidence of the spirit of generosity that animates the community, leaders said. Then, many of the members converged on the church to sort and pack the boxes, each tailored to the age and gender of the intended recipient. “The atmosphere was productive and supportive,” leaders said.

In his final words for the project, Vieira asked for volunteers to load the convoy that would transport the care boxes to Moldova. The youngest stood up in response to his call, also willing to do their part. “Now, thanks to the coordinated effort of Sebastião and his team, a spirit of solidarity has spread within the community,” local church leaders said.

Across Switzerland, other Adventist congregations besides the Luso-Hispanic Church in Neuchâtel organized similar initiatives to highlight their commitment to serving others, especially those in need. According to regional church leaders, 4,068 young people received a joyful Christmas in a box from a congregation in the Federation of Seventh-day Adventist Churches in French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino.

“This spirit of solidarity, which has its origin in the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, warmed hearts and brightened the feasts for these children,” leaders said. “Who knows? Next year, by God’s grace, maybe we could double that number. Because the magic of Christmas is also the magic of shared generosity.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Swiss Union Conference news site.