In August of 2015, Tony, Lisa, Mark and Elijah Smith went on a Mill mission trip to Nicaragua to work with Darrell and Linda Hinson at The Pearl Foundation. It was particularly exciting because the Smiths knew ahead of time that shoeboxes would be delivered while they were there. On that day the children came for a meal, some crafts and to hear Bible stories, but they soon discovered that this day was different. As the boxes were brought out, each child’s name was called out individually, which Lisa says made the child feel special, as if that box were personally selected for them.
But it was the joy on the children’s faces that made the greatest impression on the Smith family. Mark says that even something as small as a pencil brought smiles. From Elijah, then 9 years old, “We’ve always packed boxes. But we saw what small things can do for kids who have nothing.” As a mom, Lisa says that the impact on her children was huge because it gave them the experience of being with children who had very little. But she especially loved seeing the joy on her boys’ faces as they watched the children open the boxes.