This past Saturday, my three youngest kids and I got to participate in Operation Christmas Child. We arrived at our church at 10 in the morning, grabbed a shoebox that had been wrapped in colorful Christmas wrapping paper, and went from station to station, choosing gifts to put in our shoeboxes. There were bags of hard candy, school supplies, warm hats, socks, slippers, toothbrushes and toothpastes, combs, brushes, washclothes, bars of soap, stuffed animals and small toys. We chose our gifts based upon who our intended recipients were going to be; a boy, or a girl, and their ages; 2-4, 5-9, 10-14. We carefully put our gift choices into the shoeboxes, added a note about who we were, where we were from, and then had the shoeboxes sealed. We also prayed over the shoeboxes and for the items to benefit the child who would receive them. Then we took the filled boxes downstairs to our church’s sanctuary where tables had been set up to hold the packed shoeboxes.
Operation Christmas Child, how did it get started? It began in 1993, as a part of the larger international missions outreach, Samaritan’s Purse. You can click on this link to read more about the specifics of the program. Nationally, Operation Christmas Child runs November 18th-25th. In Rolla, as I heard the program discussed on KTTR radio station, Rolla’s First Baptist Church has extra boxes individuals can pick up and fill. There is a pamphlet to review what one can include in the boxes for gifts, and there is a minor fee to cover the postage of shipping the boxes overseas. The church that I attend in Rolla, Greentree Christian, also had extra boxes on Saturday so one could call the church office to inquire about picking up an extra box there. If one does stop by either church to get a box for filling with gifts, please be sure to bring your boxes back to either church by November 18th so that they can be shipped out on time in order to make it to their next pick up stop.
Other towns in South Central Missouri that are participating in Operation Christmas Child that were mentioned this am on KTTR are: Belle, Camdenton, Cuba, Eldon,Licking, Richland, Salem, Summersville, Rolla, and Waynesville.
Saturday, spending that time with my kids filling shoeboxes, I also had the opportunity to go through thank you letters from children who had received shoeboxes from our church kids last year. I got teary eyed as I read those letters, filled with heartfelt thank yous and God Bless Yous, thanking the givers for the boxes of gifts. One of the ladies on KTTR shared that she had the opportunity to help deliver boxes last year in an African village and that one of the girls was so happy to find in her shoebox socks. This girl had been scolded for not wearing socks to school, an item she didn’t have. She shared with the group of Americans that had delivered the shoeboxes to her village that she was so happy to finally have socks that she could now wear them to school and wouldn’t be scolded anymore!
To truly embrace the Christmas spirit, of giving gifts because of the great gift of love our Saviour gave to us, to let your children and your family participate in a program that provides true help to needy children in another part of the world, Contact Operation Christmas Child soon!