For the past few years, our Temple family has joined Samaritan’s Purse in what we call Operation Christmas Child. The stated mission of Operation Christmas Child is “to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Individually, we pack small shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and personal notes that will be delivered to children around the world. Small, simple shoeboxes designed for eternal impact. Doesn’t seem possible, does it? Well, let me assure you that it IS possible!
A couple of years ago, I came face to face with personal examples of how a shoebox can make a difference.
> That particular Sunday as I entered the gathering at 11:15 a.m, I stopped and spoke to Mrs. Vivian Magee. Of course, we exchanged greetings and then she shared with me a story about the young lady who had accompanied her in worship that day. Mrs. Vivian told me that her worship companion had actually received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox as a child overseas and that young lady had filled a shoebox to send that year. Vivian’s guest that day? Her granddaughter! Of course, I was astounded to hear how God had not only used a shoebox to minister to a young child in the past but how He also moved upon that same heart years later to continue a cycle of ministry. I recounted this extraordinary incident to the congregation during my message, only to be further amazed after the service closed.
> Another young lady approached me and asked how I knew her story. Somewhat confused, I asked what she meant. She then began to relate a similar testimony of receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox when she resided in an overseas orphanage. As a student at Tech, she had embraced the effort herself and packed a box to be sent. As you could imagine, I was overwhelmed at God’s confirmation of ministry.
> My sense of gratitude only multiplied later that evening as I discovered that at least four other children within our church had benefitted from Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes before they were adopted and brought to the United States.
I say it again. Small, simple shoeboxes can have an eternal impact! And thanks to your faithfulness, we plan to send over 800 such ministry boxes to children all over the globe. I encourage you to join us in this ministry and pack a box yourself. Then stop and pray that our Lord will direct these tangible expressions of the Gospel to the right child at the right moment so that he/she can make the right step toward faith in Christ! Together, we can continue to make a Kingdom difference. See you Sunday!