Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Than Just A Shoebox! (reposted)

It's that time of year again! It's time to start collecting for Operation Christmas Child. We have put out the bin in the ramp room and we encourage everyone to start bringing in items as they purchase them!

Those who know me, know that I have a heart for children, and my heart breaks knowing that there are so many children out there with so little while here I am sitting in my air-conditioned home with plenty of food to eat, safe drinking water, and a roof over my head. God has blessed my family very generously and he has always provided what we need. I am glad to say that my boys have never had to go without, but I know that's not the case in other parts of the world. As Americans, we are spoiled! I feel that it is time to give back to God and give generously as he has done for me!

Ten years ago this November, I was introduced to Operation Christmas Child, and even though I helped pack boxes, I didn't exactly understand it. Three years ago, the children's Sunday School classes decided to take on Operation Christmas Child as a project!! I was so excited! I offered to help pack boxes. That first year, we packed 40 boxes. The second year, we packed 80 boxes. And last year, we ended up with over 120 boxes!! We had a lunch after church and opened up the packing party to anyone in the church who wanted to be a part of it. This year, we will also be having a packing party after church and inviting the entire congregation to join us in packing boxes and praying over them.

After packing boxes last year, I thought a lot about the children who would receive those boxes. 122 kids were going to be receiving a gift box full of little toys and essentials and lots of love from our church family. Samaritan's Purse offers every child who receives a shoebox a chance to learn more about Jesus. The children are given Gospel storybooks with their shoeboxes. They are invited to a twelve lesson discipleship program where they learn about Jesus and his immense love for them. They learn who Jesus is, what it means to follow Him, and how to share the message with others. After they complete the program, each is given a certificate and a New Testament in their own language. This may not seem like much to us, but to God, it's huge. "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'" (Matthew 25:40) These children are getting MUCH more than just a shoebox full of gifts. They are getting the hope of eternal life with Jesus Christ!

For many of these children, life is rough. A lot of them live in orphanages or without homes. They come from war torn and deadly disaster areas, but with a small shoebox gift, we can show them that they are not forgotten! That they are loved by a God who loves them unconditionally! For some children, these are the only gifts they will ever receive. What better gift than one that comes with the knowledge and hope of an everlasting Savior!

I urge everyone to prayerfully consider giving to this ministry in order to bless children around the world and introduce them to God Almighty who will never leave them or forsake them! Please check back here often for frequent updates on Operation Christmas Child!

Also, check out the "Suggested Items" tab at the top of this page for ideas of what to pack in the boxes and what not to. Packing Day is right around the corner, Sunday, November 13th! Mark the calendar!

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