Saturday, November 10, 2012

We packed our shoeboxes. Have you?!?

We packed our shoeboxes today!
This morning I hosted a Shoebox Packing Party for the kids at our church.  National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child begins on Monday.  And we are ready!  I absolutely L O V E the shoebox ministry!  Samaritan's Purse is my most favorite Christian relief and evangelism organization.  And we participate every year in Operation Christmas Child (OCC).  There are SO MANY reasons why I love OCC!

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.  And they do this by delivering shoeboxes full of gifts . . . toys, candy, hygiene items, school supplies . . . to children in poverty stricken areas all over the world.  I can not even imagine what it might be like to have NOTHING, to never receive a gift for my birthday or Christmas.  I really can not even comprehend just how blessed I am!  But to these children . . . this shoebox full of gifts that many of us would probably push to the side is EVERYTHING!  I mean, can you imagine receiving a gift for the VERY FIRST TIME and how you might feel?!  But even better than that . . . every child who receives a gift also hears the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ!

OCC began in 1993.  I remember the very first time I packed a shoebox.  I was in high school.  And I thought it was just the coolest thing ever!  Almost 20 years later, I still think it's the coolest thing ever!  This is a big year for OCC.  Over 95 million shoebox gifts have been packed and delivered since 1993.  This year, we anticipate the 100 MILLIONTH shoebox will be delivered!  100 million boys and girls receive a gift!  100 million boys and girls hear the Gospel Message!  Now that's something to get excited about!

OCC is such an easy missions project to get kids involved in.  This has become a special event for my children, and we make a big deal of it.  I take them shopping, and they each get to select the gifts for their boxes.  If you ask them who the shoeboxes are for, they'll tell you "the boys and girls who don't have anything."  So even as young as three and four years old, my children got excited about giving to others.  Now it's something they look forward to all year long.

At our party today we wrote letters to include in our boxes, wrapped our boxes and filled them up with all kinds of gifts.  But, most importantly, there was a lot of love that went into each box!  Everyone had such a good time, and it just filled my heart up to overflowing as I watched the children excitedly pack their boxes. 
I just love this picture.  Sweet Lily was resting her head on her box.  I sure would love to see the recipient of her gift as she opens it.  To me this picture says LOVE. 
So if you haven't already, you still have time to pack your box!  Perhaps your church participates in OCC.  If not, you can go here to find out how to pack your box and then here to find a drop off location near you.  Maybe you don't have time to pack a box.  You can go here to "build a box" on line . . . you simply decide on whether your box is for a boy or a girl, the age and then you get to pick the items for your box from a list!  How easy is that?!

You may have noticed that Mason wasn't in any of the packing party pictures.  We were double booked today.  He had his Cub Scouts Space Derby today.  He built a rocket and then raced his rocket.  Obviously it's a rather complicated and intricate process.  He had to glue two pieces of wood together and then sand them down into the shape of a rocket.  But it had to be just so in order to fly . . . thin enough, light enough, yet still hold the wings and such.  And then somehow they were connected to a string, and rubber bands were used to fly them.  Just take my word for it.  This was our first time participating in the derby.  Mason didn't win, but his rocket did very well.  I'd heard horror stories about rockets that don't fly at all, and I didn't want that to happen to us.  And it didn't.  Seth and Mason did a great job with the rocket.  And Mason was so excited to wear his full Scout uniform today. 
GIVING THANKS | Day 10: I am thankful for Samaritan's Purse and the Operation Christmas Child shoebox ministry.  I am thankful for the plenty that I have been blessed with.  I am thankful for the opportunity to give a little back and teach my children along the way the importance of serving others and loving others like Jesus did.  I am thankful for all of the children who attended the party today.  I am thankful for my friends who came and helped us get all of the shoeboxes wrapped.

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