Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jesus in a Shoebox

Oh my goodness! I read this blog post and my heart melted! I believe yours will too. Our children packing boxes for other children! It is a blessing to see them LOVING others and having a heart for Christ and for these other children.

Below is a portion of her blog, but make sure to read the whole thing at

Jesus in a Shoebox

We've been packing more shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.    We started a few weeks ago, with an outing for my daughter and her friend.  They packed our first box, and we have continued since then.
Right now the back of my van is full of goodies for our boxes - we will pack this week and deliver to our church.   
My son picked out some sweet teddy bears, along with New Testatments for them to hold.   He told me it was so they could "know Jesus like I do."    My dear, sweet boy.   It is exactly this spirit that makes these boxes such a blessing to so many children all over the world.   Our precious young ones are putting Jesus into each and every box they pack. 

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God Always Finds A Way ~ Nepal

This article is from Samaritan's Purse at

God Always Finds a Way

Operation Christmas Child aids education, opens doors for evangelism, and helps combat human trafficking in Nepal
More than 80 excited school children in Shikhorbeshi, Nepal, sat on the ground in neat rows with gift-filled shoe boxes in their laps, anxiously waiting for the signal to open the lids.

“One! Two! Three! Open!” shouted Operation Christmas Child coordinator Suren Rasaily.

A chorus of laughter and excitement quickly filled the schoolyard as the children examined the treasures inside their boxes. The boys and girls hugged the stuffed animals and dolls, marveled at the toys, and prized the pencils, pens, and notebooks they found.

“I like the pencils and the notebooks,” said Resman, an 11-year-old girl. “I will use them in school and to do homework.”

Sadly, extreme poverty forces many children in Shikhorbeshi and other remote mountain villages to drop out of school.

“This distribution is a great encouragement for the children to come to school,” said a teacher named Pushkar. “Many of the parents are unable to provide even basic school supplies. I thank Operation Christmas Child for coming. This is important.”

The children were also intrigued by The Greatest Gift of All, the colorful Gospel booklets that were offered with the boxes.

Child after child said that they were anxious to take their shoe boxes home, share the gifts with brothers and sisters, and read The Greatest Gift of All to the family.

“I will share my gifts with my sister, Phool Maya, and read the book to her,” said Asish, an 8-year-old boy.

A 9-year-old girl named Tulkumari set her box aside and thumbed through the booklet, looking at the illustrations. “My mother and father can’t read,” she said. “I am the only one. I will read the story to them.”

More than 80 percent of the people in Nepal are Hindus, and few in the mountain villages have ever heard the Gospel. When excited children come home with gift boxes and Gospel booklets in their hands, it provides a way for the Good News to reach the unreached for the first time. It also opens doors for Nepali pastors to do follow-up ministry.

As shoe box distributions gain a foothold for the Gospel, local pastors are using the message of God’s love to help the local people take a stand against an evil that has brought heartbreak and shame to villages across the region—human trafficking.

Traffickers from Kathmandu exploit impoverished villagers, promising jobs to young men and even offering proposals of marriage to unsuspecting girls and their parents. Tragically, the boys end up doing forced labor in factories and on construction crews, and the girls are whisked away to brothels in Nepal or India and are never seen again.

“Human trafficking is a curse that brings shame upon the people,” Suren Rasaily said. “But I believe that this curse can be broken by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Shivaram is a man who runs a rustic travelers’ inn at the top end of the rocky, dirt road that runs through Shikhorbeshi.

“Trafficking is a serious problem here,” he said. “Many young girls have been trafficked from this village, but none of them have ever returned.”

One cold winter night, a young couple knocked on Shivaram’s door, looking for a place to stay. The man said that they were newly married and on their way to Kathmandu, but Shivaram was suspicious. He helped the couple settle into a small room in an upstairs loft and then went to the local police.

“Finally, the girl told the whole story and said that they were not married,” Shivaram said. “They arrested the man, who was a trafficker, and sent the girl back home.”

Shivaram was thankful that he was able to save a young girl from a lifetime of misery.

“I don’t fear the traffickers,” he said.” If it happens again, I will see it as my duty and responsibility to inform the police. I have faith and hope that trafficking can be stopped. Operation Christmas Child is encouraging kids through the gift boxes to go to school. I believe that in the days to come, it will help make more people literate and help reduce trafficking in these places.”

In the village schoolyard, the children were repacking their gift boxes to prepare for the long walk home. Some had to cross over rivers on foot-bridges and follow steep trails, high into the mountains, but they were anxious to get home to share their gifts with their families and read a story to them about a man named Jesus.

“It’s amazing what God can do with something as simple as a gift-filled shoe box,” Suren Rasaily said. “When I pray about what can be done to combat trafficking in the area, I’m reminded of the Bible verse that says, ‘God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong’ (1 Corinthians 1:27b, NIV). God always finds a way.”

Find out how to impact the live of a child through Operation Christmas Child.

Teaching Children about Giving

I go on and on here about the benefits of Operation Christmas Child for the precious child who receives a shoebox, and for their family, and even community, but Operation Christmas Child is also a blessing for the person who packs the shoebox.

I first fell in love with OCC because it was such a beautiful way to teach my children about giving, loving, and the great commission.

As a homeschooler and simply a parent, living out my faith and teaching my children in real life what it means to follow God is one of my goals. Our family gives to various charities and volunteers in the community but packing that simple shoebox was SO PERSONAL to my children that it taught in ways many of our other giving did not.

As we watched videos and talked about what to put in the box, the needs of other children around the world became clear. (My children also realized how much they DO have. Not a small deal in our commercial world.) How beautiful a thing to see a child tear up a bit at the reality of the world for some other children, and to WANT to give and to give MORE. My children loved those unknown children around the world quickly. That love and compassion grew as we prayed for them, wrote the letter, and packed the box.

My children learned in a meaningful way what the Great Commission is all about. This way of sharing about Jesus Christ is very different than sharing with a neighbor, but it is so powerful as well, to know that a child and perhaps their whole community will be changed because the Gospel is going forth.

My children are teens now. We are more involved in Operation Christmas Child than ever. This charity is so special to me, and it is so special to my kids too.

Sharing the love of Christ one shoebox at a time... what a precious gift... for all involved.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ONE box goes to ONE child with ONE soul

I love the blog, Life Inside the Box, where we get to see inside the happenings year round as they prepare for a HUGE packing party in Pennsylvania, but today it is a simple blog about the simple act of filling a shoebox. And the love that goes with it. And I couldn't help but hurry here to share it with you. This blog is from

It's a dreary rainy Saturday so I decided to clean my house in an unorthodox but effective way.  I gathered all the stray shoebox items around my house and actually packed them into 10 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

These are the first I packed this season.  Four weeks ago we had our huge packing party, and even though 21,106 were packed that weekend--not one of them was packed by me.

So today I went back to the basics and lovingly put the bags of candy, the soap and crayons and toothbrushes into those boxes.  I hugged and prayed over those special dolls with the sweet faces I'd been saving and excitedly packed the baseball glove with the Disney baseball.

Sometimes I can almost forget what drew me to this ministry in the first place.  I'm getting ready to speak at a church tomorrow and folding boxes and praying over the upcoming National Collection Week and the Chick-fil-A promotion.  And in the midst of all the busyness I forget that it all started with those three shoeboxes I packed in 1995.

I forget sometimes that it's not about making the goal of 40,000 boxes for Northwestern PA or 800,000 for the Mid-Atlantic region or 6.5 million in the US or 9.1 million worldwide.

It's crazy, but I can forget sometimes that ONE box goes to ONE child with ONE soul.  I really needed to pack those ten boxes today and remind myself again.

On the other hand, when you get all those boxes together they bless millions of souls one at a time and we need to pray that God will bring in those millions--one by one.

Hurricane Sandy is predicted to hit our Mid-Atlantic area soon--an area that is poised to collect 800,000 or more shoeboxes just two weeks from now by God's grace.  We know that God is sovereign but we also know that He commands us to pray.

Those boxes are getting boxed up and they need to be collected and sent on their way.  Will you pray with us that nothing, including a 'storm of the century', will interfere with this important ministry?

Monday, October 29, 2012

"It's the heart that goes into the shoeboxes"

I love this post from Operation Christmas Child FB page, so I had to share it on the blog. 
In 1995, Divine and her family fled Rwanda to find a safe-haven and start a new life. A refugee with nothing to call her own, Divine received a shoe box gift at 10-years-old. She recalls the letter inside, telling her that the donor was praying for her. Divine could not believe that there was someone, somewhere who was praying for her.

A year later, her family was asked to help distribute shoe box gifts to refugee children in Carton City, a town made of cardboard boxes. She watched the children open shoe boxes filled with crayons, candy and Gospel booklets written in their own language. The joy on those children’s faces was more thrilling for Divine than opening her own box.

Now Divine lives in the U.S. and hopes to gain her Masters’ Degree in International Public Health so she can move to Burundi to work with HIV/AIDS patients. Every year when Divine packs her shoe boxes, she includes a letter saying she is praying for the children who receive them. In her own words, “It’s not the gesture that makes a difference; it’s the heart that goes into the shoe boxes.”

Packing A Shoebox at your Dollar Store

I have posted before about some of the wonderful things you can buy at the Dollar Store for the shoeboxes... I have found SO many great things there... but this post by Dollar Store Crafts about some of the wonderful things you can find for packing a shoebox at the Dollar Store is a thorough post on the matter.

I know you will find ideas and inspiration. So check it out at:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Craft Night for Operation Christmas Child

I happened upon this wonderful blog tonight and just had to share!
The post at shares about this lovely group of women who gathered for a craft night for Operation Christmas Child where they sewed 35 skirts for shoeboxes. How BLESSED the girls receiving this gifts will be!

Free or VERY Cheap Toothpaste at Rite Aid

If you use Rite Aid's card, there is a great deal this week!

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Use Coupon from TODAY's Paper if desired (50c or 75c unsure)
Pay $2.75-$3.50 depending on whether you use coupon
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Build A Box now online at Samaritan's Purse

Love Operation Christmas Child but too busy to pack a box? Can't get out? You can still pack a box for Operation Christmas Child ONLINE with Build A Box!

Build A Box Illustration

Build-A-Box is a fast, fun and easy way to bless a needy child by giving a shoe box gift online. You can customize your shoe box gift by selecting gifts from our list of items and adding a personal letter and photo. Your $30 donation will be used to build and send a box, share the love of Jesus Christ, and bless the children around the world through Operation Christmas Child.

Simply go to to BUILD A BOX online. It is easy, quick, and has eternal impact!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Call to Prayer

The days are counting down until the

Nothing is more critical to the work of Operation Christmas Child than dedicated prayer support. Last year, more than 2,200 hours of prayer were committed on behalf of the children around the world who received shoe box gifts and the message of God's love. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner together again this year in praying for this important work during National Collection Week. Please join with others around the globe in asking God to continue to bless Operation Christmas Child and to use the shoe box gifts for His glory.
Choose days and times at the website to sign up & pray.
If you have any questions, email

Where are your prayers coming from? Check it out at

God's Love and a Valentine's Miracle

This story is from Operation Christmas Child's Facebook page. Read and rejoice for our God is a god who LOVES and LIVES and WORKS... and that we can partner with Him through OCC! I read this story and couldn't WAIT to share it with you here on my blog! Enjoy.

Karen and her father, in his late 70's at the time, were shopping for OCC shoe box items at a local discount department store just after Valentine’s Day. They discovered small stuffed Valentine’s bears holding little hearts that said “Be Mine.”

Karen was skeptical about putting a Valentine’s Day bear in a Christmas box, but her father was convinced the bears were an excellent addition to their shoe box supply stock. So, they bought all of them--they filled their car until there was little to no visibility through the windows. The following shoe box collection season, the bears went into the boxes.

Months after the boxes were shipped, Karen received a letter from a small church in Mexico. It started with, “You need to know what you have done for our church . . .” According to the writer, the shoe box delivery truck pulled into their town on (can you guess?) February 13th and the church was planning a large Valentine’s Day party for the community! The theme was “Be Mine,” teaching the kids at the party that Jesus wanted them to be His children. Every child who came to the party got a box . . . with a bear, holding a heart that said “Be Mine.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Help Us Reach 100 Million Shoeboxes

From Samaritan's Purse Website at
October 23, 2012

Help Us Reach 100 Million Children

As Operation Christmas Child closes in on a milestone, former shoe box recipients tell how the project changed their lives
Ever wonder what happens to a child after they receive a shoe box from Operation Christmas Child? For many, the impact is long lasting.

The change in their life that started with the shoe box gift carried on into their adult lives. Not only do they have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but they want to help other children also receive the life-saving gift that is Christ’s love.

Some former shoe box recipients have moved to the United States. Now adults, they help spread the word about their firsthand experiences with Operation Christmas Child and how a simple gift changed their lives. Many have even gone on to help with gift distributions in their home countries.

Both Livia Satterfield and Izabella McMillion distributed shoe boxes in Romania, where they grew up.

“When we were standing faced with children who were so expectant, I could see myself in those eyes and I know they were thinking the same thing I was thinking, that ‘I am receiving a gift and I haven’t done anything for it’,” McMillion said. “One box changed my life and allowed me to understand God better and I’m able to turn around and multiply the blessing by encouraging so many others to pack shoe boxes.”

Keren Banegas of Honduras, Lyrona Rexhepi of Kosovo, and Daniel Tirle of Romania are students at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. They also know firsthand what it’s like to receive a shoe box gift. Now they pack boxes with their classmates to help pass on the blessing.

“I remember the feeling when I got it,” Banegas said about her shoe box. “It was so unique.”

As a result of her box, she gave her life to Christ and continues to be a spokesperson for Operation Christmas Child today.

Each shoe box given through Operation Christmas Child is more than a gift of toys and school supplies. Each box is prayerfully packed, and in the hands on a National Leadership Team member becomes a tool that not only puts a smile on a child’s face but also communicates Christ’s love across borders and beyond language barriers.

This year, we expect God to provide the 100 millionth shoe box gift packed and distributed since 1993. You can be a part of reaching this significant milestone. There are many ways to help, whether it’s packing your own box, spreading the word, or even dedicating your time to pray for the boys and girls who will receive these life-changing gifts.

Find out how to impact the live of a child through Operation Christmas Child.

Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog

I received my Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog in the mail this week... and once again was moved by the harsh realities of the world we live in, and yet incredibly blessed knowing that Samaritan's Purse and thousands of individuals around the world are reaching out with God's love to people in need.

If you do not know what the gift catalog is, you should check it out. Basically though it is a catalog of gifts you can provide for people in need around the world. Gifts that are truly life-changing! You can buy a flock of chicks to provide food and income for a family. Or maybe a set of books to provide for sharing the gospel! You could provide an education for a child, or clean water, or emergency food. There are many options in every price range.

The gift you give, whether a few dollars or a lot will make a HUGE difference and it will be done in the name of Christ, so that the impact will be both in this world and for eternity.

Our family chooses to take some of the money will would otherwise spend on presents for ourselves to give to those who have so little because we are SO blessed in this nation.

Learn more at

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Do's and Don'ts of Packing a Shoebox

You HAVE to check out this post over on Muthering Heights about how to pack a shoebox.. it is guaranteed to make you smile! Here is just a tiny preview.. but don't miss out on this GREAT post which has some of the cutest kids EVER in it to teach us about packing shoeboxes!!

As I have packed gifts for years, traveled to process them for shipping, hijacked other holidays in the name of Operation Christmas Child, and went so far as becoming a shoebox in the past, I feel like I have quite a bit of insight into how the shoebox gift packing process works.  But, for those of you who are new to this, or who are looking for some ideas:
Allow my lovely assistants to run over a brief list of dos and don'ts for packing an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift!
Do Pack Hygiene Items.  The children who receive shoebox gifts live in some of the most impoverished areas of the world.  For many of them, hygiene items are a perk…especially cute ones!  Because these items will be such a blessing, why not let your kids pick the fun stuff, with cute cartoon characters?  Because you never buy that stuff for them, it will be a great lesson on sacrifice for others.  Or it will give them a complex.  The jury’s still out on that one. {What?  Of course I did not do that!  My kids already have enough of a complex now that I forced them to pose with the cool stuff for pictures, then put it all back…} {Hint: sarcasm may be present.}

OK.. you can't resist, right? This post is funny, cute, and informational! Don't miss out on it. And take some time to peruse her other posts on Operation Christmas Child. You will be glad you did! 

Operation Christmas Child video

This is a video from 2009.... in it is a treat: Perry Cartera. I was privileged to meet her when she came to Medford to talk about Operation Christmas Child in the Philippines and Indonesia, the area she leads, and where a LOT of our shoeboxes go. She shared that night some of the many miracles she has seen, big and small, through the shoeboxes... but most of all the IMPACT this ministry has in bringing children, families, and communities to Christ! And THAT is what it is all about.. sharing the love of Christ one shoebox at a time so that God's Word and love can go forth! Enjoy the video.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trick or Treating for OCC?

I saw this idea and loved it... although I won't have the chance this year myself. Wear a shoebox costume and go door to door... handing out flyers for Operation Christmas Child and perhaps collecting hard candy to include in shoeboxes!!!! The timing is perfect for getting the word out about OCC! I thought this might be fun for a youth group to do. And then make sure to save the costumes for parades or other promotional events!

Need instructions for how to make the costume? Find them at And find the logo in full size at

Felt Road Kit for the Shoebox

I love love love this idea!!! I could sooo see a variation of this put in a shoebox along with some matchbox cars! It would fit easily in the shoebox for Operation Christmas Child and would give so many opportunities for play for a boy. I would probably do a bunch of straight road pieces some simple curves and just a few signs that would be more universal. How FUN.

I found this idea at The Happy Housewife who always has TONS of ideas for making Christmas Gifts and therefore has LOTS of ideas for kids. Learn more about this project at

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Join us in Prayer

The most important part of  Operation Christmas Child is prayer. 

The 2012 Call to Prayer has begun!  You can sign up to pray during collection week November 12- November 19.  Each day has its 24 hours cut into 1/2 hour segments.  By signing up for a time slot, you commit to pray during that time and on that day.  You can sign up for as many time segments as you like.
From the website:
“Nothing is more critical to the work of Operation Christmas Child than dedicated prayer support. Last year, more than 2,200 hours of prayer were committed on behalf of the children around the world who received shoe box gifts and the message of God’s love.  We are thankful for the opportunity to partner together again this year in praying for this important work during National Collection Week.  Please join with others around the globe in asking God to continue to bless Operation Christmas Child and to use the shoe box gifts for His glory.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Video ~ A Lot Like Christmas

This short video makes me cry EVERY time.. and then rejoice.. and then motivates me. Please share this video with friends and family... spread the news... we CAN make a difference.. one shoebox, and one child at a time!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Music Video ~ Give this Christmas Away

Its that time of year again! Time to pull up the OCC music videos! I never tire of them. If you haven't seen it, you are in for a treat... if you have... well then enjoy it again! Matthew West with Amy Grant, Veggie Tales, and the children!! Oh the faces of the children! Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A global effort for Christ... from Australia to Fiji

The following is from the Operation Christmas Child site in Australia:
Operation Christmas Child - Fiji
A total of 51,906 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes were donated to
children in need in Fiji in 2011.
Visiting an Operation Christmas Child shoe box distribution in Fiji last Christmas, Judy, a Samaritan’s Purse Australia volunteer, found herself in the middle of a church filled with hundreds of young children – all eagerly awaiting their own shoe box.

It was quite a scene as each child ripped open their box to discover the treasures inside. That is, each child except a little boy named Ajay, who sat at the end of one pew with his head down and his hands in his lap. Judy soon learned that Ajay was almost blind, and not only that, his mum had recently died. Ajay had a lot to be sad about. When Judy sat down beside Ajay and helped him open his shoe box, tears filled her eyes. Right on the top was a perspex magnifying glass. Judy knew that God had guided the gift-giver when they packed their box months before. Judy took the magnifying glass out of the box and held it up in front of The Greatest Gift booklet that was under the shoe box. Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child. Each shoe box is a unique opportunity to transform the world of a young child like Ajay.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

the WHAT, WHERE, WHEN of Operation Christmas Child

Whether you are new to OCC and packing shoeboxes or a veteran, I wanted to post some of the basics for everyone.  

What? Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse. The idea is simple: fill a (wrapped if possible)shoebox with a mix of practical items like toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and washcloth, school supplies, and maybe clothing items like a tshirt or hat or gloves.... fun items like a stuffed animal or doll for the child to love, toys, a bag of hard candy... a letter and/or photo... and prayer.

(Do not include any liquids or lotions, toys related to war, or anything dangerous in the box. Please bag soap and candies and anything else that either could melt or scent up the box.)

The box will go to a child in need in one of over 130 countries. To a child in poverty, in war-torn areas, in orphanages, in areas ravaged by disease or famine or drought. It will go forth with a booklet sharing the gospel. (In some areas it is simply offered, such as in Muslim nations.) Boxes are packed in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Spain, Finland.... and in other nations to go to children around the world who are in desperate need of a bit of joy and God's love. Some nations have different requirements about what can go in the box because of customs. Check your nation's site to get the details.  

When? (Here in the US) Collection Week is November 12-19, 2012. If your church or group is participating, they may ask for you to turn in your shoebox before these dates, but this is the time when they are collected across the United States.  

Where? If your church or group participates, you know the where... but if you are doing this on your own, you can easily find a drop off location by you and the hours of operation at

WHY??? Because this simple gift makes SUCH a HUGE difference! Check out the Impact tab to read stories of the shoeboxes or to watch videos. Such a little thing... with such an eternal impact!! Share the love of Christ today!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

From One Community to Another

Oh my.. this video from the UK is amazing... what a difference we can make.. what an impact this ministry makes! Most of us get involved because it is a way to help children.... and it DOES. But, it is MORE. If you have ever wanted to have impact... If you have ever wanted to partner with churches around the world as they minister to their communities. If you have ever wanted to take part in the Great Commission... Watch... and be inspired. Catch the vision.

Barefoot in Minus Five Degrees

Read this blog to see another insight from a distribution.... this time from rural Romania......

Friday, October 5, 2012

Washcloth Animals

How about adding a bit of whimsy to your boxes? With just a washcloth or baby washcloth and some hair elastics or rubber bands, you can make some cute little animals.. bunnies, chicks, teddy bears.

What to learn how?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Operation Christmas Child? "Because the box speaks more than words."

Why Operation Christmas Child????? "Because it starts with a shoebox and ends up with a child with a Bible in their hand knowing Jesus."
Watch this amazing video and read the story of what God is doing through Operation Christmas Child, through a simple shoebox, to change a child's life, and a whole community, in Papua New Guinea.

The Message Behind the Gift

An Operation Christmas Child shoe box touches a father’s heart and helps transform a community
Tena Kemoti’s heart sank as he watched the old pickup truck carrying his wife and 5-year-old daughter disappear among the trees on its way to a hospital in Port Moresby, nearly two hours away.

Christian had been sick for days, but the rural village of Kuni was miles away from medical care. Tena and his wife, Lucy, were grateful when a visiting pastor named Magi insisted on taking their daughter to the hospital.

Tena worried and waited for several days until his wife and daughter returned. He was relieved to see that Christian was well again, and Lucy couldn’t stop talking about the wonderful people they had met.

Women from Pastor Magi’s church had cared for Christian and Lucy, showering them with the love of Jesus. They gave Christian an Operation Christmas Child shoe box, explaining that it was an expression of God’s gift of eternal life that can be received through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Tena listened intently as his wife told him about their adventure, and the message of the shoe box gift touched his heart.

“When I saw the things in that shoe box, it really blessed me,” he said. “It started me thinking and I decided to give my life to God. It opened my mind to come to know Jesus Christ.”

Tena not only gave his life to Christ, but felt called to lead others to Jesus. He became the pastor of the Foursquare Church in Kuni.

When he began leading the church it had about 150 members. Remembering the powerful effect that the Operation Christmas Child gift box had on his life, Tena helped organize local distributions.

“When we started distributing shoe boxes in the area, it gave me an opportunity to meet the children’s parents and develop relationships,” he said. “That’s how our church began to grow. Now we have almost 300 members. When we distribute shoe boxes and talk with people about the Word of God, they listen.”

The new church had a powerful effect on the rural community. Kuni had a reputation for being a place where criminals went to hide from the police. No one there felt safe.

But as the church grew, people got to know their neighbors and began to look out for each other. Together, they found courage to let criminals in the area know that they were not welcome and worked with the police to clean up the community.

“Now, people can move around freely here and not be afraid,” Tena said. “Our church brought people together. We never had a church like this before.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Honduras native relates Operation Christmas Child miracle

This article is another beautiful story of God working through Operation Christmas Child! Please take the time to read the full story about what our Lord has done!

Here is just an excerpt of this great article:

The youngest boy of 10 children — which he insisted was a moderately sized family by Honduran standards — Perdomo said his family was very poor. His mother worked as a Christian pastor and midwife in the village, and only four of his siblings were able to go to school. When it was time for Perdomo himself to attend school, his family couldn’t afford the required school supplies: one pencil and one notebook.

“My mother said, ‘Don’t worry about it; we will pray,’” Perdomo told the crowd. “‘We will ask God to find a way for you to go to school.’ And I remember every night, every day praying, asking God.”

He said one day, someone came to the church where his mother preached and announced that the next day missionaries would arrive to hand out free stuff.

“I remember they came and handed me the box,” Perdomo said. “And I couldn’t believe it, what I had in my hands. We never celebrate birthdays, we never celebrated Christmas because we didn’t have the money and somebody gave me a free — free — gift. I was like, ‘Amazing, this box is so pretty.’ I didn’t want to open it.”

Perdomo said he didn’t want to tear into the beautiful box because he didn’t want to break it. Finally someone urged him to open it.

“Guess what was inside the box?” he asked his audience. “School supplies. I just kept pulling stuff out and pulling stuff out. Finally I was jumping up and down. It was five pencils, a notebook, crayons, a coloring book and a pair of scissors.”

Making it all fit

I know that when I pack a shoebox I am always trying to get as MUCH as POSSIBLE into that shoebox! I want the child who opens the box to have a FULL box because for many of these children it will be the only gift they have ever received. To that end, the wonderful Canadian Operation Christmas Child blog, Packing Boxes of Love, has written an awesome post on filling the shoeboxes. Check it out.

There are many ways to fit in lots... I often arrange and rearrange it all to get it all in. If you are like me, you do too. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

4H joins with Operation Christmas Child

For years my children participated in 4H.. in fact, the first time I packed shoeboxes as a group was with 4H. I love the program for all its wonderful benefits, for all it teaches, from basic skills, to communication, and leadership.. and because it also focuses on service. So I rejoiced when I read the news that 4H is officially partnering with Operation Christmas Child this year!! Here is the announcement:

“We are thrilled to announce that we have just formalized a new partnership with 4H. 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization. With more than 6 million youth, 540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni, the 4-H movement supports young people form elementary school through high school with programs designed to shape future leaders.”
2012 Partnership will include:
  • National endorsement
  • Presence at National 4-H Extension Agent Conference in Orlando Oct. 21-25
  • Presence at National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, GA Nov. 23-27
  • Social media outlets

If you participate in 4H, please bring this to your leadership! Operation Christmas Child fits in perfectly with the goals of 4H, and is a short term project that can fit so well into the meetings.

A group can have a packing party, focus on making sewing kits or sewing projects for the boxes (or use other skills in 4H for the boxes), collect donations, help at the relay centers,  or promote OCC in their community. So many opportunities to get involved and to uphold the 4H pledge through this project.

101 Ideas for a Shoebox

Kelly, over at Faithful Provisions, was one blessed blogger who went on a shoebox distribution this last year for Operation Christmas Child to Ecuador.. and I am SO happy to see all the ideas she has for the shoeboxes! Go check out her post!

These shoeboxes make SO much of a difference! What is your favorite thing to put in a shoebox?

Mine??? I can't pick just one thing! They need the basics.. every box has to have something to love in it... but I love real harmonicas or recorders to bring music into their lives.

Receiving Letters from a Child

It is what we ALL hope for.

To receive a note back from the child who receives the shoebox. It is a rare treat. Most of the children who get a shoebox can not afford to send mail back. But it DOES happen. Some children have more opportunities to mail back.... a child in a hospital, school, or orphanage may get help writing back. Others have the means to send back a letter. Now it is growing more common to receive an email from the child.

So when you send your shoebox... DO include a photo and a note. And do include your address and your email. You might be blessed with a letter back. But no matter what, know that you will always have a tie to the child... for you have been used by God in their lives... through your gift the child has felt the love of Christ.

And don't forget you can track your package by paying online and printing out a tracking label. If you do that, you will receive an email telling you what country your box went to.

The following story about a letter and a friendship is from

March 16, 2011

Letters from Eduardo

A shoe box gift sparks correspondence and a long-time friendship between a Honduran boy and a Colorado woman
“Mom Juleen!” the handsome young man exclaimed as he caught sight of the American woman wearing a green Operation Christmas Child polo shirt. “It’s really you!”

Juleen Edwards had just stepped out of the elevator, on the lookout for him. The smiling faces that greeted hers with such warmth and affection caused her to stop in her tracks.

Here she was standing in the hotel lobby in San Pedro Sula with people she considered her Honduran family—the boy and his parents whom she had come to know and love but had never met until this moment.

Tears flowed freely as Juleen introduced herself with handshakes and hugs to Eduardo’s parents, his sister, and his girlfriend. Lastly she came to him.

“Eduardo, this is a miracle!” she said, as they gave each other a warm embrace. The eyes of the Operation Christmas Child onlookers were brimming with tears of joy too.

“Many times we wrote about our dream to one day meet each other in person, how wonderful that would be,” Juleen said. “But neither one of us thought it would ever happen.”

The God-orchestrated opportunity took place last month when Juleen, a year-round volunteer for Operation Christmas Child, was on a shoe box distribution trip in Honduras.

It was a meeting 10 years in the making, and it all started with a simple shoe box gift and a heartfelt letter of gratitude.

Penning a Friendship

This long-awaited day was the culmination of events that began in February 2001 when Juleen, a mother of four from Pueblo, Colorado, received a thank you letter in the mail from Honduras. A 9-year-old boy who lived in San Pedro Sula wanted Juleen to know how much he appreciated her shoe box gift.

In his letter he wrote: “Hello: My name is Eduardo, 9 years old, and 4th grade in school. Thank you for the gifts. I liked them a lot. I like to paint and draw. My family is big. There are 7 siblings. I am the youngest and we all live happily because we have Jesus in our hearts. Well, these are my few words, but here I send you a picture. I hope you like it.”

Eduardo used the crayons from Juleen’s box to draw pictures at the bottom of his letter. Some of the drawings included items he received in his box—a kite, a toy car, a notebook. He also enclosed a photo of himself and his father.

Juleen wrote back a few days later, and included a family photo of she and her husband Bill and their four children. The seeds of a beautiful friendship had begun to grow.

“There was something special about Eduardo,” Juleen said. “He was just a sweet little boy. You could see that in his first letter. He wasn’t asking for anything. He was grateful he got the box and wanted to say thank you. He wanted to be my friend.”

Over the past decade, Juleen and Eduardo have exchanged dozens of letters, photographs, and e-mails. Juleen has also corresponded with his parents, Julio and Trinidad, and his sister, Jazmina.

The letter that Juleen received from Eduardo in 2001 was her first response from a shoe box recipient. She continues to make it a habit to include a self-addressed envelope and a blank sheet of paper in the boxes she fills.

During the past several years, she has received letters from 16 children in Chile, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Thailand. She has exchanged letters with all of them, but it is Eduardo and his family who have remained close to her heart.

The Ties That Bind

Through their ongoing correspondence, the friends have shared news of joyful events in their lives and encouraged each other during times of adversity and sadness.

When both of Juleen’s daughters got engaged in 2001, Eduardo’s mother hand-sewed tortilla holders as wedding gifts and mailed them to Colorado. The gifts became an instant treasure to the Edwards family.

On September 11 that year, Eduardo’s family reacted with shock and horror at the news of the terrorist attacks and collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City.

“I am very sad about what happened in your country. I am praying for peace in the United States,” Eduardo wrote.

In 2003, Eduardo’s father, a pastor, sent pictures of their church in its early stages of construction. Joleen and her husband later gave them money to help purchase a computer for the church office.

The two families exchange Christmas cards every year. And Eduardo, who calls his American friend “Mom Juleen,” sends her a card for Mother’s Day.

Their correspondence also has encouraged the Honduran boy to believe in his dreams. His love of drawing, evident in the very first letter, is a gift that Juleen has tried to nurture within him.

She had no idea that the crayons, colored pencils, and paper she packed in a shoe box in Colorado would end up in the hands of a child in Honduras who wanted to be an artist.

“That was all God,” she said. “When I later learned of his interest in art, I mailed him a complete art kit.”

Eduardo has mailed Juleen numerous samples of his work, usually sketches drawn with colored pencils. One of her favorites is a picture of Daffy Duck that he drew when he was 12 or 13. Underneath the drawing was the Bible verse from Psalm 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Juleen felt like a proud parent when Eduardo wrote her at Christmas with the news that he is a freshman at the university in San Pedro Sula. She was even more thrilled to hear that his major is graphic design.

The Miracle Meeting

Juleen has served in various volunteer roles with Operation Christmas Child for over 15 years, and has been the Area Coordinator for southern Colorado since 2009. In late October last year, she received an invitation to go on a shoe box distribution in Honduras.

“My first thought was, "Wow, that’s where Eduardo lives,'” Juleen said. “I wrote him a letter in November, letting his family know I was coming in February.”

The good news was welcomed with equal excitement when the letter arrived at Eduardo’s house on the morning of Christmas Eve.

Eduardo was still in bed asleep. His parents woke him up and told him he had received a letter from Mom Juleen. They couldn’t read the English-written letter, so they handed it to their son. As he read it aloud, translating it into Spanish as he went along, his mother began to cry.

“She told me later, ‘That was our Christmas present, to know that we were going to see you after all these years,’” Juleen said.

Once Juleen arrived in Honduras, arrangements were made to meet at the hotel where the Operation Christmas Child group was staying. The drive back from that day’s afternoon distribution took longer than expected. Juleen raced up to her room to clean up and change clothes. By the time she made it back downstairs, Eduardo and his family had already arrived and were anxiously awaiting her entrance.

“Eduardo was polite and gracious and soft-spoken,” Juleen said. “It was the first time I heard his voice.”

Juleen wanted to surprise him and pulled out a scrapbook filled with every letter, photograph, and drawing he had ever sent her. Chuckling, Eduardo displayed his scrapbook containing all of the letters and pictures he had received from Juleen.

They exchanged gifts during dinner. Eduardo handed Juleen nine souvenir T-shirts, one for each of her grandchildren. Then all eyes were on the small box that Juleen presented to him.

“Our friendship started with a shoe box 10 years ago, and now that we are meeting in person for the first time, I have a second shoe box for you,” she announced.

The box was wrapped and had a green Operation Christmas Child boy label on the top. Inside was a note taped to the lid, a matchbox car, a keychain, and a wallet with some cash.

Eduardo looked at the car and grinned, while tears formed in his parents’ eyes. Juleen explained that her family and friends had collected money to help him toward the purchase of a used car.

Before leaving Honduras, Juleen was able to visit with Eduardo two more times. She hopes that their next reunion will be in Colorado, where she can take him to the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center in Denver.

God has already delivered one miracle in bringing the pen pals together, and she is sure He can do it again.

“Everything about this experience has been a gift from God," she said. "It has been neat to have a friend in another part of the world, someone that I could pray for and send little gifts to as an encouragement to him. It has been fun to be a part of his life. Now he’s 19, and he’s all grown up.

“And I told him I am so proud of him.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

Toby Mac ~ Christmas This Year

Ok... confession, I have probably shown this video before. It is not new... its from last year. But I LOVE IT! And many of you may not have seen it yet.

If you have kids call them over... watch together... how will YOU share Jesus this year? How will you celebrate Christmas and what Christ has done? Consider packing a box or several boxes... and share what Jesus did for us and share His love with another child this year. Already pack boxes? Share about this ministry with others! Let the whole world know, that our Savior has come! Rejoice!