My Story

My name is Filipe.  I’m 44 years old and from Brazil. Most of my life I’ve searched for purpose in life with little success until 2004 when God began to clearly show me some of the changes I was about to make in what I called, “the average life.”

My wife and I did a Work and Travel Program in the US, living in both Colorado and Massachusetts. There, we started attending the Greater Grace Christian Fellowship Church where I got to know Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. My wife and I learned about the Shoebox Ministry as we both made 2 boxes with great care (6 steps).  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was learning about an incredible idea and that later on would become a great opportunity that I would duplicate in Brazil.

After moving to Brazil in 2006, we both had a difficult year professionally.  We moved closer to our home Church (8º Presbyterian Church in Belo Horizonte) and it was there that I was able to take a course that challenged me to bring some ministry ideas.  Of course, I was praying a lot too!  It was then that I decided to implement the Shoe Box Project, just like Operation Christmas Child in the US, but in Brazil for the very first time.

In our first year launching this project with the whole church, we got an incredible response. I realized that the Brazilian people had a great desire to serve and to help others.  I soon learned that there are over 50 million Evangelicals in a country where 150 million are Christians. We discovered that the Project’s potential is one of the greatest in the world!

In 2007, after an excellent start in Brazil, we returned to the USA for another season in Colorado with the goal of formalizing a partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and bringing the project in a structured way to Brazil. We had many meetings and phone calls over the following years with those who ran Operation Christmas Child in Latam, but the bad news was that this partnership never worked like we had wanted.  The leaders though, always encouraged me to still never give up on the project in Brazil.

As for the good news, just a few weeks before returning to Brazil, I met a man at a restaurant in Beaver Creek CO.  He not only had a big vision, but also a big heart.  His name is Mitch Perry. Mitch invited me to his church and shared with me everything he knew and all the material he had from O.C.C. Mitch really thought “out of the box” and believed that Brazil could be a place to have success with our project. With that little push, over 30 thousand shoe boxes in the region were generated. Thank you Mitch and God bless you!

As soon as we returned to South America, we created partnerships with the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, some schools, churches and other organizations, but it was in 2018 when we had to make some critical decisions. Up until then, it was my family, a few dedicated volunteers and myself that did all the work that our project demanded.  Even though we all committed the next few years to this work, we became burned-out and the money reached critically low levels which demanded change in the way we were doing things.   After talking with some friends like Walter Almeida and Tercio Freire, we came to the conclusion that, although bureaucratic, it was necessary to start the A.C.S. (Shoe Box Association) which we began in the second half of 2019.

2020 was a year full of challenges for everyone around the entire world and to our project, it was no different. We had to reinvent ourselves and look for new partners. We created our digital box 100% online so that volunteers could help from their home offices all over Brazil. We also found new partners such as large multinational companies like HP, Philips and others. We grew 30% over the previous year and shipped to 22 locations within Brazil and Bolivia. We are seeing growth as we are collecting more and more boxes and developing new regional leaders. We confirmed once again, that the project really works.  Though we still have lots to learn about volunteers, business operations as well as finance, we know with God’s help, we will grow and serve more regions in Brazil and Latam.


My Advice

At the start, I thought it would be the "leaders" that would help come alongside our non profit, but it was the ordinary men and women that were more willing. My advice; don't count out groups of people.

Even when you may feel alone in your efforts like I was, stay focused, work hard and be resilient. These things will help you to keep moving.

Make sure you find a friend, mentor or coach that cares about you and your dreams. Accountability is important.

Build relationships with as many people you can in life. Whether you start a project like myself or work for an employer, it's always a good thing to have a network you can reach out to when you need help.

Dreams take time to happen. That's how it is, so plan long term and be patient.

Most importantly, don’t forget to include God in all you do. He is The greatest source of all you need.

If you have a desire to be a part of this organization but don't have the time or live further away, connect with me so I can show you some ways that we can partner together.

My business card



Our services and initiative are unique in the region. We are truly teaching thousands about generosity, empathy, and development in the process of helping thousands of needy children in Brazil and the region.

My typical customer

We help both ends on the process of sharing hope and gifts to needy children

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Filipe, your story really encourages me to keep going when I feel alone in my efforts. I relate to what you said about thinking that leaders would take on your vision, but God placed it in your heart and called you to be the leader you were looking for, then brought people to help you. Your story gives me a determination to persevere, even when it doesn’t feel like I’m getting results because God is still working things out. Thank you for sharing this.

Thanks for your kind words Staci.
Your story is also very inspiring and intense! Your ability to restart is a prove of God´s love. Makes me willing to help every children and girls to find God´s love to make better decisions and grow with joy and peace. God bless you!

Sam Swirsky says:

What an incredible story Filipe!

Most people would have quit and you had several opportunities to do so but you persevered.

I pray that God will continue to bless your ministry.

Thanks for your prayers Sam!
God does everything thought us I guess.
Even a great comment and inspiring words you said about me!
God bless you!

Billy says:

Thanks so much for sharing this story. I love to think about Gods promise of the good works He has prepared in advance for His children to do. I’m so encouraged by your desire to impact and change lives for the Kingdom. My God bless and encourage you both.

Thanks for your words Billy! Your carisma and testimony is also very inspiring. God bless you too.

FILIPE PORTUGAL This is an incredible story of purpose and life and giving. You found your passion of helping children through your faith. What I see is a couple who never gave up on providing smiles to the faces of children. It is not up to us to determine where the help will come from. We cannot pick or choose who will be the ones that will support our missions. People are our greatest assets and developing relationships and adding value to their lives is where our blessings will come from. Continue on this good work.

Charlotte Ibanez says:

Indeed God will provide the connection, resources and ideas to execute His purpose and plan. Your patience and servant heart plays a big role in realizing your dreams. God sees that and rewarded you nad your teams’ efforts. It’s really inspiring especially for those of us who are also waiting for God’s timing for our ministry. Press on and we uphold you all in prayer.

Gary Rogers says:

Filipe, thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s been great getting to know you and I can see your heart is one that wants to help others not only with fun gifts, but also the message of Jesus. I’m encouraged by your business and encouraged that you will be guided by the Holy Spirit. I will continue helping you as much as I’m able and hope that we can continue our friendship as well. Thanks again for sharing and let’s stay in touch.

Mitch Perry says:

May God bless and continue to bless you, your family, Projeto Caixa de Sapato AND every life that is touched by this ministry!

Hi dear Mitch. Thank you very much for your words and deeds!
I really appreciate your help and support in the beginning! God bless you all guys!!!!

Thank for sharing a beautiful inspirational story. It’s a journey of faith grace and love!

Blake Southerland says:

Thank you so much for sharing, Filipe! Your dedication and commitment to what God called you to is inspiring, especially seeing that is didn’t happen over night but was a continued process. Blessings to you and your ministry!