Tis the Season!
by Brandi Pillow
Even though fall weather is just now gracing us with some much needed cooler temperatures and leaves are only starting to drift down from trees, it’s already time to be thinking about Operation Christmas Child! And really, what better time of the year to get us focused on helping others and spreading the Gospel than autumn and the season of giving thanks? As Christians, we have a hope that we can offer others that is beyond any monetary value. One of the best parts about Operation Christmas Child, for me, is not seeing the pictures of the children with their shoe boxes, although those are heartwarming. The best part for me is hearing the testimony of people who say, “I received a shoebox and the information in it opened my eyes to the love of Jesus.” There are whole families who are impacted through the programming of Samaritan’s Purse when a shoebox is shared with a child! And here at Westminster, we can be a part of that ministry.
As you walk through the hallway between the sanctuary and fellowship hall, you will see stacks of boxes put together by our youth group (Big thanks, y’all!) for us to grab and fill. You have several options for how you can do this. One, you can pick up a box and buy the items yourself. The first step is to choose whether you would like to purchase items for a girl or boy and then in what age group. The age groups are broken down as 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14. Once you’ve selected the gifts for your shoebox, then you can pack it up and leave it at the church for us to send off on November 17. Or, you can bring your items and pack your box at our church wide packing party on November 7. We’ll have Christmas music, hot chocolate, and a wonderful time of fellowship as we prepare our boxes to bless others with.
Another option is to sponsor a box for $34 and the mission team will buy and pack the box for you. All you have to do is make your donation and we take care of the rest. Just place your check in the offering plate with “Operation Christmas Child” in the memo line, or leave it in Kim’s box. In addition, you can purchase a plastic shoebox and pack that as well. These are especially helpful because the child can keep the durable box. Also, these unmarked boxes can be sent to “closed” countries where open missions work is not allowed and the Samaritan’s Purse can reach more people this way.
We have made it our goal to pack 150 boxes this year and would love your help in accomplishing this! We as the Missions Team, and Westminster as a whole, want to reach and benefit as many people as we can through this missions outreach. Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind:
- Older children are usually the group with the fewest shoe boxes. Consider blessing an older child this year!
- Include one “Wow!” gift in your box, such as a doll, stuffed animal, sports ball, or toy truck.
- Include hygiene items and necessities as well. Think soap, toothpaste & brush, socks, etc.
- Also include school and art supplies such as pencils, crayons, sharpeners, and erasers. Children can use these in school as well as at home.
- Remember, no candy, food, drinks, or perishable items. Boxes often sit in customs for weeks at a time and you don’t want things in your box to ruin.
- Don’t forget a personalized note to your child telling them a little bit about yourself and that you are praying for them as they receive their box and materials!