Saturday, November 3, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

If you haven't heard of this amazing mission yet, stop reading and go here first.

Have you ever received a gift from a total stranger that made you feel loved, even though you had never met the sender?

I first heard about Operation Christmas Child at my Tiskilwa Christian Women meeting in October. Two ladies from Manlius UMC came and spoke to us about the program. Their church had been doing it for a number of years and typically packs 50 boxes each year. The entire time the ladies were presenting I heard a voice whispering in my head, "Do this." I felt it deep in my heart. I knew this was an opportunity to spread the Good News and to teach my children about missions.

So I brought some information home, showed the girls some information online, and followed Operation Christmas Child on Facebook. We prayed about it and discussed it as a family: Who should we send a box to? Boy or girl? What age? It quickly became apparent that each girl wanted to do her own box, so we decided to make a boy box and a girl box for ages 5-9.

In addition to the simple items from the boxes, each recipient receives a booklet in his/her native language telling the Good News of God's love for each of us.  For more information on this program, click here.

I went online to donate my $7/box fee for shipping. I was able to then print a unique bar code to affix to the box that would track the destination of the box.  The girls predict our boxes will end up in the Phillippines or Africa.  We can't wait to find out where our boxes go!

Then we did the fun part: Shopping to fill our box! I took the girls to the local dollar store to get the majority of our items. Maddie said that she, "Wanted to spoil them like our family spoils us." Here's the final haul:

I wrote a letter to the recipients of our boxes with a family picture of us and a map of where we live. We told a little about ourselves and said that we were praying for him/her. We included our address and are hopeful that one day we might be able to correspond with our box recipients.  Both Maddie and Ava colored pictures for the recipients. They both chose pictures of baby Jesus.

Maddie and I organized and filled the boxes. She was so proud of how full each box was and noticed that even the plastic box itself might be a useful tool in a developing country.

A picture of the finished boxes, ready to be dropped off at a local church, is below.

Here's the best part: It's not too late to pack your own box! The national collection week is November 12-19. Click here to find a collection location near you.  If you can't fill your own box, click here to donate to Build-a-Box online.

This program has helped get us into the spirit of giving.  And isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Join us in praying for the volunteers who sort and collect the boxes, the people who travel to far away places to deliver them, the recipients of the boxes, and the missionaries who distribute them and share the Good News.

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