Operation Christmas Child 2019

 

Over 12 years ago, I sat in church at the end of October.  That year,  I had decided not to pack any shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Sure, I loved it.   I love kids.  I love sharing the Gospel  with kids.

So, it was a perfect match.  You fill a shoebox with school supplies, toys, and hygiene items and Operation Christmas Child sends it around the world to a child who may never have had a Christmas present before.

Plus,  it opens up opportunities share the news about Jesus in communities where shoeboxes are distributed.

But that year, money was tight and it felt like I gave to  so many different things at the holidays.  Time to  narrow things down,  I had reasoned.

Then, they showed a video  during our church service with kids jumping up and down with joy just for getting a shoebox.  They celebrated over some matchbox cars and toothbrushes or a doll and some soap.

I cried.  Doing such a simple thing has such a big impact.  Pack a shoebox….bless a child…bless their family….bless their community….bless the world.

No way was I going to miss out on being a part of that!

This year, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to  send 12 million shoeboxes to children in need around the world and we can all participate.

NATIONAL COLLECTION WEEK THIS YEAR IS NOVEMBER 18-24.

That’s soon!

Our family likes to work all year long to collect crayons, pencils, soap, toothbrushes, and more so that we’re ready to pack those boxes each fall.

Some of you have also helped us gather supplies in order  to make some homemade items for our boxes.  I love making homemade items because they add a little  extra love to each box and I pray over every project as I make it, which helps to keep my focus on serving others.

HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVORITE PROJECTS FROM THE PAST FEW YEARS:

Here’s one of the things I love the most.   When we do these  projects with our kids, when we carry in bags full of crayons and stuffed animals to church for our packing party, when we gather around our kitchen table to pack a box, when we finish up those boxes and pause to pray for the kids who will receive them….we aren’t just blessing kids around the world.

We’re blessing our own children.

We’re teaching our kids that this world is so much bigger than us and there are people out there with overwhelming need.  We need  to be praying for them and we need to be rolling up our sleeves and reaching out to  help them in practical ways.

Some of the children who receive these boxes have never owned their own toothbrush; they’ve shared with all the kids in their orphanage.  They’ve never had their own toy.  They don’t have the pencils they need to go to school so they simply don’t go.  Or they might be wearing raggedy, ripped apart shoes that barely hold together.

We can bless them with a shoebox of gifts.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER PACKING SOME SHOEBOXES THIS YEAR FOR OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD?  HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO GET STARTED:

YOU CAN BEGIN BY LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION HERE, LIKE:

If you make a $9 donation online to cover the shipping for your box, you can even print off a label that lets you track it here!!  A few weeks after delivery, they’ll send you an email telling you what country your box was delivered to and some general information about the needs in that area.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T FORGET TO PRAY OVER EACH SHOEBOX YOU PACK!  PRAYER IS SO POWERFUL!

HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE OCC VIDEOS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AS YOU PACK.

Matthew West shows the Great Lengths OCC goes to bring shoeboxes to kids around the world.

Scotty McCreery shows how to pack a shoebox.

TobyMac’s Christmas This Year OCC Video

Check out how excited this boy from Angola is to receive his shoebox!  This is my most favorite OCC video ever!

Are You Packing a Shoebox?

occ2

November is one of my favorite months of the year for a couple of reasons.

Thanksgiving for one.  It’s my favorite holiday.

Cooler weather for another (October here in Virginia doesn’t always live up to my expectations of fall.)

And November is also when we pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Every year, the organization Samaritan’s Purse collects shoeboxes stuffed full of goodies that they then deliver to needy children all over the globe.

National Collection Week is in November every year.  This year, the collection dates are November 14-21.

We love Operation Christmas Child as a family. All year long, we collect toys, hygiene items and school supplies to donate to our church’s packing party.

It adds less than $10 to my family’s grocery budget for me to pick up some extra pencils or toothbrushes or soap (for instance).  Then, by the time November comes, we’ve actually collected a large supply of items to give!

If you’ve never done that before, would you consider buying a few items every single week in 2017 to use for packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child?

Some people like to buy a different theme item each month—like stuffed animals during February with Valentine’s Day and candy in October following Halloween.

I personally like to focus on buying the same items each week with occasional toys, pencils, notebooks, flip-flops, etc. as an extra when I find a really great deal.

At a packing party, church members bring all these gifts together for one big night of packing as many shoeboxes as possible.  It’s a lot of fun and has a big impact!

Some of you have also helped our family collect the supplies we need to make some crafts to put in the boxes.  Thank you!

This year, we recycled old t-shirts into headbands, used some leftover fleece to make hats, and made friendship bracelets.occ-andrew-with-boxes

Even my three-year-old is in on the excitement now.  He’s talking all the time about “shoeboxes,” “Christmas child,” and he loves helping out as we prep items for OCC.  Getting kids involved is one powerful way to teach them about gratitude, giving, and caring about others.

Some of the children who receive these boxes have never owned their own toothbrush; they’ve shared with all the kids in their orphanage.  They’ve never had their own toy.  They don’t have the pencils they need to go to school so they simply don’t go.  Or they might be wearing raggedy, ripped apart shoes that barely hold together.

We can bless them with a shoebox of gifts.

But the most beautiful thing about these shoeboxes isn’t the toys and school supplies we slip inside of them.  It’s knowing that we’re sharing a tangible reminder of God’s love with kids around the world.  This is indeed the greatest gift!occ-3

Sadly, because of our wacky November schedule, we haven’t gotten to participate in the actual packing party at our church for the last two years.

But we can still pack boxes as a family and so can you!

Here’s everything you need to know to get involved in Operation Christmas Child as an individual.

YOU CAN BEGIN BY LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION HERE, LIKE:

If you make a $7 donation online to cover the shipping for your box, you can even print off a label that lets you track it here!!  A few weeks after delivery, they’ll send you an email telling you what country your box was delivered to and some general information about the needs in that area.

Most importantly, don’t forget to pray over each shoebox you pack!  Prayer is so powerful!

HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE OCC VIDEOS.

Pack a shoebox with Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty

Matthew West shows the Great Lengths OCC goes to bring shoeboxes to kids around the world.

Scotty McCreery shows how to pack a shoebox.

TobyMac’s Christmas This Year OCC Video

Check out how excited this boy from Angola is to receive his shoebox!  This is my most favorite OCC video ever!

 

Packing Shoeboxes

I’ll be shopping tomorrow for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and thought this would be a great time to tell you all about it.  If you’re a fellow shoebox-packer, please post a comment with some ideas of what to pack!  Inspire us!

And, please don’t forget that all this week, I’m asking for folks to chime in with ideas of how to pray for our pastors.  What do you pray?  For wisdom, vision, encouragement, health, strength and family?  Share with us and you’ll be entered in our giveaway!!!  You can find out all the details here.

Packing Shoeboxes

He was a little boy with one desire–Hot Wheels cars.

Operation Christmas Child I read this story from Operation Christmas Child (OCC) a few months ago.  The little guy looked at the OCC worker handing out the red and green shoeboxes and asked, “Will mine have Hot Wheels?”

Of course, no one can know these things.  The boxes are packed by individuals, families and churches all over and then sent to distribution centers where they’re shipped worldwide.

So, hoping for just one toy car, the boy opened up his shoebox and found it half filled with Hot Wheels cars!  The OCC worker said she’d never seen a box with that many cars and trucks in it before.

God heard this boy’s little heart’s desire and fulfilled it in miraculously abundant ways…  because He’s just so gracious and because a shoebox packer somewhere was totally obedient.

Every year, the organization Samaritan’s Purse collects shoeboxes stuffed full of goodies that they then deliver to needy children all over the globe for Christmas.

National Collection Week is in November, before Thanksgiving—this year, November 12-19! That means that we’re in the middle of prime shoebox packing season.

My kids and I have made our “shoebox wish list” of all the goodies and gifts we’d like to send to a child overseas through Operation Christmas Child (OCC) and we’ve prayed (just in case God wants us to send Hot Wheels).  This week, I’ll be hunting through dollar stores and Wal-Mart for the gifts.

My daughters are adding everything they see on TV and in Wal-Mart to their Christmas lists.  So, it’s the perfect moment to take them shopping for gifts to give to another child, a child they’ll never meet on this planet and a child who isn’t likely to be opening any other packages on Christmas morning.

It’s a reminder to be grateful.  It’s a way to shift our focus off of getting and onto giving.

I hope that you’ve packed a shoebox before and are making one again this year!  If not, here’s everything you need to know to get involved in Operation Christmas Child.

You can begin by learning more about the organization here, like:

Check out this video of Scotty McCreery on How to Pack a Shoebox:

If you make a $7 donation online to cover the shipping for your box, you can even print off a label that lets you track it here!!  A few weeks after delivery, they’ll send you an email telling you what country your box was delivered to and some general information about the needs in that area.  Our boxes two years ago ended up in Tanzania.

I usually let each of my girls pick items to fill a box for a child their gender and age.  This year, we’ll be sending off a box for a 2-4-year-old girl, and two 5-9 -year-old girls.  We picked out jump ropes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, socks, t-shirts, small games like jacks and dominoes, stuffed animals, some candy, some shiny pencils and a pencil sharpener and more.  We practically have to sit on the boxes to make it all fit!

Most important of all, pray for the child who will receive your shoebox!  Prayer is so powerful.  Don’t just send stuff, send gifts along with time spent on your knees.

Here are some of my favorite OCC videos.

Matthew West shows the Great Lengths OCC goes to bring shoeboxes to kids around the world.

Check out how excited this boy from Angola is to receive his shoebox!  This is my most favorite OCC video!

There are so many opportunities to give every holiday season, but this is my very favorite.  I hope you’ll make Operation Christmas Child a part of your holiday traditions, as well!

Have you packed a shoe box before?  Where did it end up?  Are you packing shoeboxes this year?

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King