Many of you are familiar with Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Every Christmas, millions of shoeboxes full of small gifts and supplies are distributed to needy children all over the world as a way of sharing the love of Christ. Last year in particular, 8 million shoeboxes went out. (Eight million!) Today I’ve spent some time watching videos and stories about individual children who received not only shoeboxes, but a touch from God that was, in many cases, life-changing. I couldn’t stop watching their faces lighting up. Pure joy.
This is Ralph’s story. It’s only 3 minutes long. See the impact on his life. You will not be able to remain unmoved by it.
The wonderful thing about this ministry is that anyone can participate, and it’s so easy. You just get a standard size shoebox from your closet or a clear plastic box, pack it with small toys and school supplies and hygiene items (complete list of suggestions and printable labels here), and then drop it off at a location near you. You can wrap it, but you are not required to do so. Simple.
For an additional fun thing to include if you have children, print out an All About Me page for your child to fill out and place in the box. We have friends who did this last year, and they received a letter and photo back from 3 small Iraqi children with big smiles. In the photo, the children were playing with the Slinkies and matchbox cars that were in the box. It was amazing for my friend and her sons to see the culmination and the destination of their efforts.
One box among 8 million?…you might think. What does it matter? One in 8 million seems miniscule. But your box is destined for one child…one child who is precious in God’s sight.
And that matters.
It’s like a message in a bottle…you’re sending it out, and you don’t know where it will end up, or whose hands will gently lift out the treasure that you packed. But God does. A trip to the Dollar Tree could change the life of someone like Luis, who says he would be in a gang today if it were not for the shoebox he received.
National Collection Week (the time to drop off your boxes, sending them forth out into the universe) is next week, November 14-21. Time is short, but it’s not too late. Please consider the impact you might easily have on a little soul somewhere in the world.