Since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has been providing shoe boxes full of gifts to children all over the world. In this way, they provide access to the gospel of Jesus Christ even to the most remote communities. These shoe boxes are filled with toys, soap, washcloths, toothpaste, toothbrushes, school supplies, and many other surprises.
Our church is filled with servants, generous folks who give from their hearts to help those who have so few of life’s pleasures and necessities. These children are offered an opportunity to join in lessons called “The Greatest Journey”; in their own language, taught by a native speaker.
We have been collecting toys, school supplies, and personal hygiene items in preparation for this year’s shoe boxes. On October 16, after church, we are going to prepare the donations for the packing party happening on Friday, November 4, at 6:00 P.M. That night, we will have boxes ready for all of our church family to help pack. We will provide pizza for a light supper.
On Sunday, November 6, we will have a dedication of our shoe boxes before they are delivered to Samaritan’s Purse during the week of November 14-21. We will add our prayers for the recipients who will receive the boxes sometime during the year.
Mike Williams, a member of First Presbyterian Church, was on a mission trip to the Ukraine in January 2016, and witnessed the arrival of the shoe boxes. He said, “As part of Last Bell Ministries “Stop the Cycle” program in Ukraine, last Christmas we passed out over 60 shoe boxes to children. The stop the cycle program is specifically designed to lessen the number of single mothers that give up their children to state run orphanages because of terrible socio-economic conditions. If it cost a nickel to go around the world, most of these mothers couldn’t get out the front door! Needless to say, these children were absolutely ecstatic to receive these gifts. For many of them it was the first Christmas gifts they had ever received!”
The picture is of the staff’s children that put on a Christmas show just before the shoe boxes were passed out to the children in the audience.
All the items are donated by members of this congregation. In this way, our church is involved in evangelism and discipleship of children throughout the world. We sent 323 boxes in 2015. Our goal is 350 shoe boxes in 2016. This has been a tradition here dating back to 2000. If you and your family would like to personally pack a shoe box, that’s great too! You can pick up empty shoe boxes at the church or at any Hobby Lobby location. If you are unsure of how to pack a box, go to https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/
To read about the impact around the world click on this shoe box story: