My girls and I were blessed with the opportunity to attend the Operation Christmas Child Community Event in Charlotte, NC yesterday.
We were able to stand among volunteers at the Operation Christmas Child processing center and join them in celebrating the 100 Millionth shoebox that will be delivered to the Dominican Republic this week!
My girls were excited to see 12 year old Evilyn Pinnow who has become a hero to them. She spoke about her heart for Operation Christmas Child and the shoe box club she started when she was only eight years old.
We also heard from a young lady who grew up in Russia. After being taken out of a home where she and her sister were literally starving because her parents were more interested in drinking alcohol than taking care of their children, they ended up in a Russian orphanage that received shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts from Operation Christmas Child one year.
She talked about how her shoe box lovingly wrapped in shiny Christmas paper and filled with gifts told her that she was cared for. For the first time in her life someone cared for her. This simple gift showed her more love than she had ever known.
But the gift didn’t stop there. Included in every shoe box is a book telling the story of Christ, the story of salvation, in the language of the country it’s delivered to. Upon reading her booklet, the story of Jesus, the king of kings, coming to earth and giving himself as a sacrifice to offer salvation sounded like a fairy tale. But, praise God, it isn’t!! She believed and prayed to accept Christ as her savior. She also prayed for a family, and her prayers were answered as she and her sister were adopted into a loving family.
Her family now volunteers with Operation Christmas Child and she has been able to deliver shoe box gifts to other children.
She placed two items, purple sunglasses and a light-up pen, into the 100 Millionth Shoe Box.
We also heard Franklin Graham talk about the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. He told the story of how the ministry was started and how God has blessed and worked in the lives of children through these gifts. He has seen first hand gifts being placed into the hands of children who needed those specific gifts…a coat to a freezing child and shoes to a child who had been praying for shoes to cover her feet.
When you fill these shoe boxes and send them off to be delivered to children around the world you are giving more than Christmas joy and presents, you are giving an opportunity for a child to know Jesus. There is nothing more important, nothing more precious than that.
This is a ministry that everyone can take part in and know that they are making a difference. All four of my children, from seven to two years old, filled shoe boxes this year. They prayed for the children who will receive their gifts. They know that God is going to use their gift to provide hope and love to a child who desperately needs it.
I was able to speak to a volunteer yesterday who spent the week in Charlotte at the processing center. This is her second year coming and she is planning to come back again next year. Her church has a Bible club for children in her small community in Pennsylvania. Those children’s offerings were used to pack 40 shoe boxes this year! Her face lit up as she talked about relaying to those children what they were able to do for other children in need. What an incredible ministry!!
If you packed a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child this year, THANK YOU. Thank you for providing Christmas presents for a child who would otherwise not have them, but more than that, thank you for providing hope, love, and the opportunity to know Christ for a child who needs to know hope, love, and Jesus Christ!
If you weren’t able to pack a box for Operation Christmas Child, it’s not too late to still do so. You can build a box online and select gift to be included. The volunteers will pack the box for you and you can make a difference in the life of a child who needs to know that they are loved.