An entire Mexican village has been reached through the power of Operation Christmas Child (OCC) and a determined pastor.

During the Christmas season, shoeboxes are symbols of hope. Through Samaritan's Purse, these boxes are packed with toys, toiletries, and more, before being dispersed amongst children who may never before have received a Christmas present. Each year, shoeboxes are distributed in over 160 nations, spreading with them the message of Jesus and His love.

While OCC is known for reaching those who are considered hard to reach, a pastor with disabilities has pushed that even further, bringing shoeboxes to witness to an entire village that had never before heard of the love of Christ, the Christian Post reports.

The village, located in a remote mountainous area in Mexico, now has their first church.

In the village of La Laguna lives a group of indigenous people called the Mexicaneros. Only a few years ago did the people of La Laguna first hear the Gospel, thanks to Jose Benitez, a resident pastor from tequila.

On October 22, 2019, the community dedicated it's new church. Over 100 of all ages professed faith in Christ. A team from Samaritan's Purse OCC was also present, including Edward Graham, grandson of the late Billy Graham.

It took a six-hour hike to travel into the mountains and reach La Laguna in order for Benitez to witness to the Mexicaneros. The journey was not an easy one by any account. But for Benitez, who has never been able to walk, the journey was absolutely necessary.

The pastor, in fact, has completed the trip to and from the village on many occasions, having preached for years to the village. He never, however, saw much come from his efforts, until he decided to bring OCC to the people. The occasion resulted in nearly 100 children committing their lives to Christ and beginning to influence their families.

Benitez himself says he was 42-year-old before he became a Christian. He says the Lord changed his life, taking him away from a life of drunkenness.

The pastor spent a lot of time going door-to-door and ministering to the people in his community during his early years as a believer. He was then offered a chance to share the message of Christ on the radio.

His connection to La Laguna began through this radio program. At the time, the remote community was described as one full of weapons, killing, and drugs.

A woman from La Laguna reached out to Benitez after hearing his program and told him she had become a Christian. She asked for Benitez to visit her village, something he could not do at the time as he had no means of transportation.

Soon after, however, Benitez says the Lord answered the woman's prayers, providing Benitez with a truck and thus, the ability to reach the village of La Laguna. For his own ability to move around, a local politician who saw Benitez crawling provided him with a scooter to travel more easily.

"These are my feet, This is transportation, so there's no limitation for me to bring the Word of God," says Benitez.

Several baptisms also took place during the dedication of La Laguna's church. Benitez says OCC was a significant factor in the large faith influence now seen in the village.

"That way, we have won many children for Christ and this is proof," he says.

Benitez also expresses hope for the future. "We have two large communities working with around 200 children in two towns. This is going to be beautiful because those children will continue to share the Gospel," the pastor shared.