Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Walking With Jesus

Walking With Jesus 
By Chelsea Pardue, Samaritan's Purse staff writer
(This story is from Samaritan's Purse blog, to see the original story go to

Tommie Noblett is an 81-year-old great-grandmother on a fixed income who moves around using a cane and a wheelchair. She might not seem like the most likely candidate to pack Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts.

But this year, Tommie has packed 102 shoe boxes with gifts to send to children all over the world. She puts an extraordinary amount of care into each box. Almost 75 percent of the boxes include a pair of shoes, which she stuffs with jewelry, school supplies, toys, candy, and tons of other items. She doesn’t leave out anything. She even lines the containers with old calendar pages so the children can have pretty pictures.

“They’ve never had anything, some of them in their entire lives, so they keep it,” she said. “And I want it to be something they’ll treasure.”

If Tommie can find it on sale and it seems like something a child might enjoy playing with, she’s determined to include it. Although inexpensive shoes can be difficult to find, Tommie thinks they are the most important gifts she includes in the boxes.

“Some of them have never had a pair of shoes in their life, and I just pray that they’ll walk with the Lord when they wear them,” she said.

For Tommie, the spiritual component of the boxes is the most important. She always tells people that she packs these boxes because these children need to know about Christ.

She is full of other reasons to pack boxes, too. She tries to choose the most durable shoes so they can be passed from child to child for years. She doesn’t seek only to impact the child who receives the box, but she also hopes to make a difference in the lives of many others as well.

“I think in the long-term for the whole family,” she said. “I pray that it touches many lives, and like a pebble in the water, that it will just ripple out and touch everything around it.”

It took Tommie all year to get enough money to buy supplies for 102 boxes. She said that because of her fixed income, she had thought about cutting down on the number of gifts she packs next year. But it just doesn’t seem possible for her. She has already collected 15 pairs of shoes and 50 boxes to start the year, and she’s ready to do more.

“I’m already anxious to start packing,” she said.

This is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. Find out how to join Tommie in blessing boys and girls around the world through this simple yet powerful program.

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