Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Impact Story from the Philippines

I know many of the boxes from our area went to the Philippines this year. Please remember to stay in prayer for the child(ren) you sent boxes to, to the ministry in the Philippines, and for the communities served by Operation Christmas Child. To God be the glory.

Shoe boxes gifts help Filipino Christians demonstrate God’s love to skeptical communities
When 13-year-old Mijhan Batasan lifted the lid of his neatly wrapped shoe box, he found an array of toys and school supplies. But before the boy reached for the miniature cars or the brightly-colored markers, he opened an envelope.

As an Operation Christmas Child volunteer helped him read the unfamiliar English phrases, he heard these words: “We can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, God’s only son, together through this small gift. He loves us both very much. He wants us to love one another no matter where we live.”

Mijhan lives in a small village on Luzon, the Philippines’ largest island. In such communities, words like love and compassion are not often associated with Christians.

But Onie Lorenzana, a dedicated Philippine Christian, saw the needs of Mijhan’s community and started organizing feeding programs and concerts for the children. And through her involvement with Operation Christmas Child, Lorenzana watched as dozens of children received gifts for the first time.

“She has a passion for souls, and she relays the message of God’s love to these people,” said Pastor Manny Oranza, a friend.

Lorenzana’s work is making a difference. When the volunteer asked Mijhan why a Christian he doesn’t know would send him a gift, he replied, “Because he cares for me. Because he loves my community.”

Mijhan’s reply was an answer to prayer for Tim Collins. Collins is a volunteer youth leader at North Valley Christian Fellowship in Milpitas, California, the church that packed the boxes that were distributed in Mijhan's village.

Collins said the church’s youth ministry packed dozens of boxes last year with a two-fold goal. He hoped the project would help the church’s teenagers to think outside of themselves, and that each shoe box would make a difference in a child’s life.

“As we were packing shoe boxes, we made sure we weren’t just throwing some stuff in a box,” Collins said. “We also wanted to make sure we were lifting up the kids in prayer.”

Albert Alcorn, North Valley’s youth director, said the group also prayed that recipients would see their authenticity and love.

“We wanted the children to know that we genuinely care for them,” Alcorn said. “We prayed that they would not only be happy and satisfied, but that God would prepare a way for his message.”

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