Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Operation Christmas Child ~ 2013

I've been packing these shoeboxes for a long time...as long as I can remember.

I love doing this for several reasons....
  1. It's so easy.
  2. It's so practical.
  3. It's fun.
  4. It's a WONDERFUL, tangible way to get kids (and adults) involved in ministry.
  5. It works!
A couple years ago when I was in Peru with Compassion, I found out that my LDP student, David, received one of these boxes as a child. We were looking at his photo album and unlike our photo albums, there were only photos of very special days....birthdays, graduations and shoeboxes. 

It was very exciting to make this connection. To hear how special this shoebox was to David and his family as a child. I was thrilled God let me see this and how the two ministries that I love overlap and share God's love with children all over the world.

Well....it happened again this year. Only I wasn't in Peru. I was right here in Oregon. 

About a month ago I met Marlennis Diaz from the Dominican Republic. She's here on scholarship, studying environmental technology at our local college. She was at a Christian concert earlier this year where Compassion was represented and she introduced herself to those working the concert because she used to be a sponsored child through Compassion. I wasn't at the concert, but because I live just 4 miles away from her, we were connected. 

In our conversation she asked about some of the things our church does. I knew I was heading up the Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign again at church, so I began telling her about it. She lit up and said, "I got a shoebox when I was little."

This past Sunday I had her come to church with me and share with our congregation and kids about the impact this had on her life. What a great opportunity to make it real to the kids. 

She shared with us how for some of her friends, the treasures in this box were the only gifts they received all year. And for others, this was their invitation to attend the local church. 

I'm praising God for the 55 boxes our church put together this year....9 more than last year. And we had more than enough donations to cover the shipping costs as well. 

Personally, our family put together 3 boxes. I like to take the girls shopping and let them choose what they will fill their shoebox with. They get very excited about this and it's a little more involved than just taking a bunch of crayons to church to contribute to the overall donations. 

At church we collect donations for a few weeks, then on a designated Sunday, the kids at our church each pack a shoebox by "shopping" from the tables we've set up. 

One final "God" thing....Last year I ordered 100 boxes from Samaritan's Purse that we could assemble and fill. We ended up sending 46 last year. This year we had JUST ENOUGH boxes left over for all the donations we collected. We don't have a single box left and we didn't have enough left over donations to fill another box. 

I'm linking up with Oh Amanda today ~ if you packed a box, head on over and let her know!

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