Operation Christmas Child time is here again! This is one of my favorite things about Christmas. I love knowing that a little girl or boy somewhere in this big world is going to be excitedly looking through the box that I put together especially for them. They will know that someone out there cares enough about them to send them a box full of wonderful things. They will know that they matter. Best of all they get to learn about Jesus Christ through this program. All of the shoeboxes that are given to the children have a storybook about Jesus Christ inside in their language. Every child gets to hear the good news about Jesus while receiving a special gift just for them. I don’t know if all of you have made a Christmas shoe box before, so if you haven’t let me tell you how it works!
1. Shoe Box- First, you need to get a shoebox or a plastic container that is about the size of a standard shoebox. I usually like to get the plastic container because I figure that the family can use the plastic container for other things.
2. Boy or Girl- Next, you have to decide whether you want to make a box for a boy or girl, and what age group. The age groups are 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14. I like to make one box for a girl and one box for a boy. All of the age groups are fun to buy for.
3. Fill with Gifts- Now comes the fun part, filling the box with things that a child in the age category you picked would like. I love going shopping for my box and wondering about who that little girl or boy is, what their name is, and what they like to do. In every box I like to include a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and a washcloth. And also school supplies like pencils, pens, and paper. Then fill the rest up with some fun stuff like cars and balls for boys or dolls and toy jewelry for girls. Whatever you put in they will love it! Oh, and don’t forget to add a special note for that child and your address. They might even write you back!
4. Include $7 donation- With every shoebox that you prepare, it is helpful if you include $7 to help with shipping and program costs. If you can’t include $7 that is ok, but if you can than do it. A really cool feature that they added a couple years ago was that if you pay your donation online than they will eventually email you and tell your where your box ended up. Isn’t that neat? One year my box went to Central Asia, and another year Zimbabwe.
5. Drop Off- Now that your box is done you can drop it off at a collection center near you. The national collection week this year is November 14-21. To find out where the collection sites are you can check out online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. My church, Machias Valley Baptist Church is a drop off site. If there isn’t a drop off site near you than you can send your box to: Samaritan’s Purse, 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607.
This is such an awesome ministry and it is a great thing to include in your family traditions at Christmas because you get to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to a child living in poverty. What could be better than that? I want to share with you a sweet letter that I got a couple years ago from a little girl in Zimbabwe who received my Christmas box.
Dear Hilary: I am 10 years old. It’s my pleasure to have received a Christmas present from you. I enjoyed it so much, may God bless you richly. There were many items that included teddy bear, crayons, pens, beads, crown, Colgate to mention only a few because the list is endless. It was funny considering that you are my first pen-pal to send me such wonderful things. I almost forgot my jaws almost were dislocated as I enjoyed your everlasting chewing gums and sweets. What about sending me another wonderful present like this. I am sorry because the space on this paper was little but I am hoping that you enjoyed my letter. It’s painful to say goodbye but we have to part ways. Remember it’s always good in the eyes of the Lord to share some wonderful moments with each other. It have been a pleasure to be in your company and full credit is given to you.
Cheers: yours Lwandlelwenkosi Mkhwananzi
Now that makes it all worth it! I hope this has encouraged you to make your own Operation Christmas Child shoebox. You never know what a difference you could be making in the life of a child.