"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

08 November 2008

Look at these children!
Are they happy or what??!
Because they each received one of these:

A Christmas Shoebox from the Operation Christmas Child ministry of Samaritan's Purse, a ministry of the Billy Graham Association.

Our church, Grace Fellowship, has a new goal this holiday season.
It is to send out 2,000 Shoeboxes. Last year (our pastor reported last Sunday) we sent out 1600. Now, before you wonder how in the world a church in a suburb of the Capital Region of NYS can send so many, please keep in mind that we have over 700 members in the church and about 2100 people who regularly attend the 3 services. PLUS, on December 7, our new satellite church will be opening its doors in a town a few miles north of here. So....it is not that difficult to get people to fill shoeboxes. Our pastor expects it. The children love it!

So....to help with the church's goal, my family decided to take one box per person this year rather than just our normal two.
My children have been rather spoiled at Christmas. As we have become more and more immersed in our church community, we have learned to scale down our own gifts to each other so we can reach out to families/children who have far less than we do.

This has been a great experience for our kids.
I put less in their stockings now so we can spend more on others. I need my daughters to really understand that gifts at Christmas is an expression of love and that the amount does not matter. God sent us just One Gift...but...it was the Greatest Gift of all....His own Son, Jesus.
My kids get that.
What they don't often get is that money does not just fall from the sky.
That children in other countries just eat once a day, if that.
That Christmas is celebrated in other places, not just America, Canada and Europe.
That in those other countries, on those other continents, there are other religions besides Christianity....that there are lost people. They know it. But they don't often "get it".

So....once again, we are taking today to shop for girls who are most likely much needier than my own children. Needier in all ways: physically, academically/educationally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
And we are trusting the Lord that the boxes we pack will be sent to just the right child.

We pray for the Samaritan's Purse workers who will be presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in those childrens' cultures and languages.

And I personally pray that this year, my children will truly see that they are blessed more than they could ever imagine and that one of their purposes is to spread the Light of Jesus around the world. Even if it means giving up some of their own new "stuff" in order to fill up a box for a child their age.

It's just a shoebox.
But.....it means much to a child who receives it.....

What about you and your church??

Will you be participating in Operation Christmas Child this year??

If you have never done this as a family, or as a church, think and pray about doing it this year. Do it soon as boxes need to be shipped by end of November!

For more info head over to the Billy Graham Association website. You can reach it via my sidebar under the heading Informative Websites.

Around our house.....time to get ready for some Christmas shopping!


Tammy said...

Faith, you posted about something that I'm really excited about this year, too. I have done this in the past, but after watching some recent videos of real children receiving these boxes, I'm even more enthused over this wonderful charity. And I love it because our children can be so involved, too!
Thanks so much for posting this! :)

ElleBee said...

Our church has participated for several years, and we actually started putting our box together this morning. Sweet Son #1 is so excited every year about picking the age and gender of "his friend".

Anonymous said...

Hello. Thank you for making the time to share this with everyone. I thought it would be fun to teach our little ones, as well, the gift of giving. The funny thing is, I do this all year long, but the shoe box thing we actually baught little trinkets that our little ones really liked and wanted themselves to put in the shoe boxes. It was fun to explain to them that we didn't get it for them but for someone else. *smile*

Thank you, also, for making the time to check out my blog over in homestead blogger. I try to make an entry every day, but miss on Sundays, some times. *smile* It is a real blessing to make friends this way. I hope the Lord contineues to encumpes you with brothers and sisters in the body.

Take care and remember to pray always. -me- (Mommy of two little blessings)

Susanne said...

My favorite ministry ever! It is my dream to one day be able to go with them and give them out. I've been heading it up for 3 years at my small church but have actually been doing them since they started. I always packed one with each child and would take them seperately so that they could choose and participate and really feel like it was a box they totally packed for another child. Love it.

Susanne said...

Congrats Faith. You won my book giveaway. Send me your mailing particulars and I'll get that in the mail for you!

Kimberly said...

We LOVE doing the shoeboxes at our house every year! It is such a blessing to get my girls involved in packing the boxes and praying for the children who will get them. My oldest is excited about being able to actually write a note herself this year to put in the boxes!


Anonymous said...

On behalf of Franklin Graham, thank you for participating in Operation Christmas Child and for posting this information on your blog. We hope that you were blessed this year as you minister to children around the world in this simple way. Please pray for the children that will be receiving the boxes.

Darren Mullenix
Donor Ministries
Samaritan's Purse

Live As If said...

Great points and while I haven't participated in the past, I think its time to do so.


tali said...

Faith, i read this before but forgot to write a comment. We do this in Australia. Myles and i do it. And now our church does it too. I normally take my nieces and nephews to shop with me, so they know there are kids out there who are happy with just a shoebox full of little gifts. They get so spoilt during christmas.

I know 1st hand that kids from poor countries are happy to receive one small gift so a shoe box full of gifts would be like getting a bike or psp for christmas.

it's great to think that even tho we are in different parts of the world it feels like we are doing God's work together!