Today kicks off National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child!
6 years ago the church I was a member of while in college introduced me to Operation Christmas Child.
What is the mission of Operation Christmas Child?
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
This ministry collects shoeboxes – or really, shoebox sized containers – filled with gifts & essential items for needy kids around the world. Once the boxes are packed, shipped, & distributed, teams from Samaritan’s Purse get with local churches to distribute the boxes to the kids. During that time, the Gospel is presented to the kids in their own language in a fun way. Aside from providing presents & necessities such as toiletries, these kids get to hear about the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.
Once I packed my first shoebox 6 years ago, I knew this would become a tradition for me. It’s a very fun, but meaningful, way to kick off the holiday season.
I introduced my husband to this tradition when we first started dating. It’s a nice date-like activity to go shopping for the items & pack boxes together. Our current church packs shoeboxes as well, but they do it in July – like Christmas in July! I prefer to do it in November, but it is great to know that you can pack shoeboxes year round! National Collection Week just makes it easier by providing designated drop off locations.
So how do you pack a shoebox?
The OCC website has great instructions, tips, & advise for packing a great shoebox.
First thing we did was pick what gender & age group we wanted to build boxes. My husband & I always do a boy & a girl; this year we chose age range 10-14.
We went to the store & picked up toys (puzzles, yoyo, jump rope, & stuffed animals), necessities (soap, toothbrush & paste, hairbrush, socks), school supplies (notepads, pens, pencils), & candy canes. Then we packed our items up in plastic bins. I like to use plastic bins because I feel that the kids (or their parents) can use them for something else!
The last step is to label the box. If you give a donation online for $7, the cost of shipping, you get labels with a barcode printed on them for tracking purposes. The best part about that is that a few weeks later, once all of the boxes have been delivered, you’ll receive an email letting you know where in the world your box ended up! In the years that I’ve tracked them, my boxes have ended up in Madagascar & India.
The most important part of this ministry is to pray for these kids around the world. Not only for the kids, actually, but for their families & the people around them. It is extremely evident in light of recent events that the whole world needs Jesus.
Operation Christmas Child is a great way to show the world that God is good, God is joy, & God is love.