Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am Participating in Operation Christmas Child - Are You?

For the past 5 years (approx.), I have looked forward to packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a very worthwhile project run by Samaritan's Purse.  The time and effort it takes to pack a box of goodies is so minimal yet the value to the child, her family and her community is so great, it really is unmeasurable.  My pastor and his wife had the opportunity to help distribute some of these boxes to Mexican children a couple of years ago and they shared some of their experiences with me.  Some of these children walk down the sides of mountains for miles carrying their siblings in a sling just so they can have these precious gifts of shoe boxes.  The message of Jesus Christ is shared with each and every child, a message of hope and a message of love as demonstrated with these boxes and these children are touched and changed forever.  Unlike the children in my world who have far too many toys littering their floors, these kids don't have toys.  They may not own a single one.  They only own three sets of clothes.  They have so little it is no wonder they are thrilled with a simple lined notebook.  A baby doll is as precious as a diamond.  The absolute joy and wonder that fills their face as they open these boxes of treasures is a sight compared to little else.  And they know in that moment that someone cares.  That they are loved with an eternal love.  I cannot help but want to be a part of that.  So, each year we take the kids and go shopping, filling plastic shoe boxes with treasures and praying for the little boys and little girls that will receive our boxes.  I pray that the t-shirts fit their little bodies, that the little cars will be just their thing, that the baby doll will be a treasure.  Most of all, I pray they will know the Saviour of the world, the Saviour of you and I, loves them with an immense and unfathomable love.  Won't you take the time to pack a shoe box for a little boy or a little girl who needs so desperately to hear about the love of Jesus?

It really is so very simple.  Grab a red and green shoebox from a participating Operation Christmas Child depot (it may be a church in your area, maybe a local grocery store) or a small plastic shoebox (of good quality plastic) or you can use a shoebox you already have.  Decide who you are filling the box for. 
Check out this link to see the age categories and to print a tag.  We usually pick the same ages as our kids.  Since they are always short of boxes for boys, we did 2 boy boxes this year (age 5-9) and one girl box (age 2-4).  Fill it with items such as a bar of soap, a washcloth, a toothbrush, toys, dolls, notebooks, pencils and pencil sharpener, crayons or pencil crayons, hard candy, a comb or a brush, pretties for a little girl's hair, play jewelry, games like Jacks, a t-shirt, socks . . .  the options are plenty.  Make sure the items are fun and safe and won't get wrecked if broken or frozen or melted.  For a better idea of what you should and should not pack, check out this helpful link.  Be sure to put the soap, the crayons and the candy into their own resealable bag.  Once your box is full, fill out an "About Me" page that you can print from here if you live in Canada, enclose a $7 donation to help the box get to where it needs to go, close the box and apply the label you printed out.  Put an elastic band around the whole box and drop it off at a collection center this week as the deadline is the 21st..  Can't find a center?  Check this link for locations.  Don't forget to pray for the child!  Finally, thank you for taking the time to change the life of a child!  I hope it fills you with as much joy as it fills me!

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