Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with all the suffering, war, oppression and poverty in the world. It can feel like there is nothing we can do, either as individuals or as a community to combat all the loss and brokenness we see and hear in the news. It leads us to question: What can one person do to spread love and kindness to others in a hostile world? How can we emulate the light of Christ to those who are suffering?
Each year we have the opportunity to bring hope and joy to children all over the world through Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritans Purse. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has been providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. They meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You can be a part of Operation Christmas Child. By filling a shoebox with gifts for children, you can share the love of Christ with children living in some of the most impoverished places on the globe. For many of these children, this is the first gift they have ever received. Your shoebox gift is not just providing a physical gift but also a spiritual one. As children receive gift-filled shoeboxes they hear the Gospel through a booklet called The Greatest Gift, a colorful presentation of the Gospel in their own language. The treasures and personal letter that you pack inside communicate that someone cares for them and give them an opportunity to experience the love of God.
Additionally, your shoebox gift gives local churches an effective outreach tool. The shoebox gifts allow local pastors access to places they might never be welcomed otherwise. After receiving a shoebox gift, boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program. They learn from trained local volunteers what it means to faithfully follow Christ and share their faith with others. Upon graduation from the course, the children are encouraged to share the Gospel with friends and family. Your shoebox gift has the potential to communicate God’s great love to 4 or more people.
Laura and David Marsh have been faithful in serving as coordinators for Operation Christmas Child here at Central over the years. This program has helped to teach their children about God’s great love for all people and how sharing even some small things can make a difference in the world.
Pre-printed shoeboxes will be distributed throughout Central’s campus and at Genesis November 1 and November 8th. You may use the pre-printed boxes or a recycled shoebox or plastic container with lid. The Marsh family prefers to use a plastic container with lid to allow room for more items and provide a useful container for the child.
Once you have your box, decide if you would like to pack it for a boy or a girl and the age range, 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 years old. Select a “wow” toy to place in your box, such as a doll, stuffed animal or ball and pump. Then fill your box with small toys, hygiene items, clothing and school supplies. Be sure to include a personal note and photo about yourself. Finally, pray over your shoebox asking God to bless the child that receives it.
Each shoebox cost $7 to ship. We ask that you go to the Samaritan’s Purse website and donate $7 to cover shipping of the box. You will then print a label with barcode and tape to the top of the box. Or, you can place a check made out to Samaritan’s Purse inside the box to cover the $7 shipping cost. Drop your shoebox gift off at Central or Genesis by November 22nd.
It is our goal to send at least 500 boxes from our church to support the Operation Christmas Child project of Samaritan’s Purse. We hope you will join Central and the Marsh family in being part of this ministry to make a difference in the world by transforming the lives of children and their families around the world through the Good News of Jesus Christ!
Family Events Coordinator