Ahin Chakraborty, pastor of Arnot Community Church, has held on to a special toy for 26 years that he received in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

Chakraborty said he first learned about the Operation Christmas Child project when a young boy living in India.

Pastor Chakraborty received the toy when he was about 13-years-old and brought it with him when he immigrated to the United States.

“It really made an impact on me because someone had cared enough to send something from here,” he said.

The Mickey Mouse figurine was in the shoebox along with other items including Ivory soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, he said.

It wasn’t the toy itself that made it special, he said, “but rather the act of giving and caring and sharing, as God the Father did when He sent his Son Jesus, as a sacrifice for sins, as recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 3:16.”

Chakraborty said he has shared the shoebox story with several local churches and organizations, and taken the toy as a reminder of that love and care that inspired him to receive Christ as his Savior as a young boy and to later become a pastor.

Chakraborty’s church participates in the Operation Christmas Child project and has met its goal each year, he said. This year his church packed more than 100 shoe boxes.

The boxes are packed and shipped in November in order to reach their overseas destinations by Christmas, he said.