Marvellous ran for his life when gunfire erupted. He and his family were trying to flee their homeland in Central Africa where Christians were being persecuted for their faith.

As they boarded a crowded bus together, the family heard the gunfire. Running in the opposite direction than his family, the then 6-year-old—and youngest of four children—was separated from them.

The little boy with the big name was called Marvellous because his mother wanted to praise God for how He had already helped her family through many struggles. Amid the violence and religious persecution in their country, work was hard to come by and food was scarce. Yet, no struggle seemed as frightening as not knowing what had happened to their son during the gunfire.

Thankfully, the family’s prayers for his safe return were answered the following month. They praised God for His faithfulness when they reunited with Marvellous, who had been sent to an orphanage along with other children who had fled alongside him.

“My mom ran to me, hugging me, saying, ‘We thought we’d lost you.’ But she believed that God is in control,” Marvellous said.

A gift from God

The family resettled in another part of the country, but Marvellous’ parents found it difficult to secure work, and they couldn’t afford to send their children to school.

“It was a struggle every day to buy food as my father and brothers were looking for jobs,” Marvellous said. “But my mom and dad always said, ‘God will provide.’”

At age 8, Marvellous received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift at church. He was elated to receive school supplies in his shoebox, calling it an answer to prayer to help him start school. He loved to write and draw, so he was especially thankful for the notebooks, pens, and pencils.

“God hears the cries of His children,” said Marvellous, who is now a 22-year-old college student in Charlotte, North Carolina. “My shoebox gave me hope. Still today, I think that it was a message, a gift from God. These precious shoeboxes share the love of Christ with children around the world.”

“God hears the cries of His children.”

A special letter packed in his shoebox gift continues to remind Marvellous of God’s faithful care, even now many years later. It read: “No matter where you are, just know that God loves you no matter what you are going through in life.”

Wherever God leads him, Marvellous plans to continue to cling to the Lord’s promises for His children.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, ESV).