Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shoeboxes ~ Instruments of God

“We are but the instruments or assistants, by whom God works.” -Martin Luther
I love this reality. Such a simple thing, packing a shoebox. And yet, over and over again I read stories about the amazing things God is doing through these simple gifts. I am awestruck and so I share a few with you.....

MacedoniaAt our Celebration meeting there was a girl, age 21, that I saw for a first time. She came along with a pastor from Veles. We talked about the project, and a pastor’s wife mentioned that they were distributing gifts this year to street children in Skopje. After the meeting the girl came to me and asked: “Is this the organization that gives gifts to children, even in the orphnage in Skopje?” I answered “yes” and she told me that 7 years ago, she lived in the orphanage and received a gift there, as well as correspondence course and a booklet. She received Chrisst as her savior, and, when she was 18, she had to leave the orphanage and went to live with relatives in Veles. She found a church there, and later, when she was 19, went for a year in Bible school in Serbia. I introduced her to Rule, pastor’s wife that was distributing the boxes in the orphanage at that time, and it was a wonderful meeting.

Dominican Republic:  “I have three little brothers and my parents died in an accident and there was a Pastor who came to invite us to his church where they would give us some gifts. But as my youngest brother was sick, the lady who takes care of us said that we wouldn’t go because of my little brother’s illness; there was nobody else to take care of us if we went. I went outside and sat in front of the house crying, and suddenly I saw someone approaching the home and bringing some gifts. That made cry again but this time of happiness because God sent that person to us with the OCC gifts and also with the book the Greatest Gift. Later they invited us to study at their Bible club and the lady who takes care of us also goes with us to church. Although we don’t have our mom and dad anymore we feel good because through those gifts we got to meet God Who never leaves us and also we have a family at church and many other children there whom we can call brothers, now we are happy.” Amauras Vargas, 12 yrs old 

Tajikistan: Madina, “River Of Life” church member
We took the OCC presents to the children in the Cancer Department of City Hopsital, Dushanbe. We have had the wonderful opportunity to tell those children about Jesus and to give them gifts. So much joy, and the hope returned to them – someone remembers us, someone cares…After this we have got the opportunity to pray for them. One girl from Kulob, 13 years old, has lost her sight and hearing because of cancer, and she was swollen. After some days we came back to visit her – and what a miracle! The hearing was restored, she was able to read, and swollenness disappeared.

Philippines: Hannah Ruth, is a lovely two-year old girl. I spotter her cheerfully cuddling her new baby doll from the shoebox. Then her mother told me that one day, along the street, Hannah found a ragged doll with a broken head in a garbage bag. She brought it home and used to place it beside her when she sleeps. And how happy she was when she received a brand new baby doll that just looks like the same with her old doll. Her whole family was amazed at how God answered that little desire of Hannah's heart. With this incident, they were reminded once again that truly God answers prayers. God can hear every word, thought, and desire. Even the slightest whisper of a child, He can decipher.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Gift of Individuality


The Gift of Individuality

Packing shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child helps a family share their passions with children in need

For Bryan Ledbetter, giving a gift can help him express his individuality just as much as doing tricks on his BMX bike does.

When he first started riding BMX, he never dreamed of the impact that it would have on his life. Years later, he now has a family and business of his own, and he performs Flatland BMX shows with the King BMX Stunt Team. The sport taught him motivation, determination, confidence, and self-sacrifice—all qualities that he hopes will be instilled in his three children.

One way that he and his wife, Ginine, teach their children about giving and self-sacrifice is through packing shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child. They have been packing shoebox gifts as a family for about 10 years, since their son Miles was a baby. The gifts are sent by Samaritan’s Purse to children around the world who are in need.

Miles, Tessa, and Julian all love to put items that they enjoy in their boxes, said Ginine.
“If we’re at the store and the kids see something fun, they see something that they like, I hope that they say, ‘Hey, if I get one of these because I think it’s super cool, can we get an extra one and put it in the closet in the Operation Christmas Child storage bin?’” she said.

Once, Tessa picked out a doll that she wanted for herself, and decided to pack it in her shoebox. Miles packed a hat that matched one he picked up for himself on a family shopping trip.

“In that box, you can represent what you like, what you believe in, your passions,” Bryan said. “Operation Christmas Child is just really unique in the fact that you are putting some of yourself into a box, and it is getting delivered to a child.”

Whether it’s a box of crayons that inspires a child to become an artist, or a toy stethoscope that makes a child dream of becoming a doctor, “You never know what you put in that shoebox, how it could affect the child,” Bryan said. “Just put into that box what your passions are and maybe it will spark an idea for them that they can chase after for their lifetime.”
The Ledbetters love the fact that shoeboxes are so simple to pack and send, but the boxes share more than just a few toys and other items with the children who receive them.

“That they discover the gift of Christ and what He did for us, that’s the ultimate goal,” Bryan said.

The Ledbetters were overjoyed recently when Miles decided that he wanted to follow Jesus.

“The same joy I have of seeing my kids come to Christ, I have in packing that shoebox and knowing that I’m planting a seed,” Bryan said. “And hopefully those kids will come to know Christ.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pack Shoeboxes with My Hope America

Pack with My Hope America

Spread the Gospel Abroad and at Home

My Hope America is based on a simple biblical principle introduced by the Apostle Matthew who invited people into his home to meet Jesus (Matthew 9:9–10). You too can “become a Matthew.” The nine training episodes below will equip you to invite others to hear the life-changing message of the Gospel in your home, church, or another gathering place. Register your packing party and receive a package of videos featuring a new message of hope from Billy Graham, dynamic music, and powerful testimonies. You can also order a free Operation Christmas Child party pack, which includes everything you need to host 20 guests.

Have you ever wanted to find a way to share the Gospel with your neighbors? Family or friends? Have you wanted to share about Operation Christmas Child?? My Hope America is Billy Graham's upcoming program with a vision for sharing the Gospel in a meaningful way with neighbors and friends so that this nation is reached for Christ!

My Hope America has training videos and aids so that this is VERY doable. Sometimes this can be well outside our comfort zone.... but some things are WORTH stepping outside our comfort zone.

Visit the site, watch the videos, learn more, and pray about this. It is a huge opportunity!

Children packing Shoeboxes.... and VeggieTales

I love packing shoeboxes. I love knowing that as I put together this box, full of items picked with care, and prayed over, that I am blessing a child in need. That the box will bless them, help them, bring them some joy, and most importantly be accompanied by the Gospel message.

BUT... how I got started and still a HUGE part of my passion for Operation Christmas Child is having KIDS pack shoeboxes FOR KIDS. I started with my own children. I wanted them to care about others and WANT to give. I wanted them to be more passionate about the Gospel message.

So much of what we do as parents, Sunday School teachers, club leaders, etc in teaching our kids the value of giving is somewhat abstract to the child. Even when we share missionary stories with the children, collecting coins is not personal to the child. It is almost detached.

But packing a shoebox is PERSONAL! When a child packs a shoebox they learn that other children in the world may never have received a gift, EVER. That the child may never see a dentist and is glad for a toothbrush and toothpaste. That this child may be rejoicing at receiving school supplies and the opportunity to go to school. As they pack practical items in the ONE gift this child may ever receive they learn about their own blessings and within them grows a desire to give and share.

When they pack a shoebox, the child can't help but think about the child who will receive the gift... you can share with the child who is GIVING about how they are partnering with the local church or missionary so that the Gospel message will go with the box. You can PRAY for the child, that they would receive Christ. That God would USE their gift to bring MANY to Christ. As they write a letter or note, they can express God's love and their care.

Shoeboxes are REAL. They are such a tangible way to show God's love to the child RECEIVING the shoebox... but it is also a TANGIBLE way to give and to participate in missions.

Oh... and I mentioned Veggie Tales. Didn't I??? Well, when I think of kids and Operation Christmas Child I also can't help but think about some famous partners with OCC, VeggieTales. Once again they are partnering with Operation Christmas Child to share about the ministry of Samaritan's Purse in reaching children with the Gospel of Christ in a simple shoebox. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

FREE or better than FREE Toothbrush or Toothpaste

Head over to Rite Aid this week and get a couple of free items for your shoebox!

Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste, 6 oz $3.00
Oral-B Pro-Health Floss, 38.2-54.6 yds $3.00
Oral-B Pro-Health Toothbrush, 1 ct $3.00
Buy 1, Receive $3.00 +Up Reward, Limit 2

If you use printable coupon from or have a coupon from your paper this can be a moneymaker. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Limitless Love

One of the beautiful things Operation Christmas Child is that when you pack that shoebox, you pack it with love and prayers, it is sorted with love and prayers, and is distributed by a local church or ministry with love and prayer, and God multiplies that love with His endless love.... and the child, who receives it receives that gift of limitless love... that shows that child that they ARE loved, by you, by the local church, and most importantly by God. Love is powerful. It changes lives. It heals, it hopes, it restores. And you do that, with your simple shoebox.

Pack a shoebox. Share the love.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BACK ONLINE.. with 60 days to go!!

Well, I finally emerged from the fog that was sending my girl and partner in OCC off to college. SHE is doing great and I am ready to stop moping. LOL... so onto Operation Christmas Child!!

We are moving into the home stretch! With 60 days until Collection week, we are moving into busy season.

If you are packing shoeboxes... watch for back to school and end of season clearance items for your shoeboxes. Don't forget to college soap if you go to a hotel. And keep praying for the child who will receive your box. If you are crafty, check the tab above for ideas to make things for the shoebox, or check some of the pinterest links in the sidebar for more ideas.

If you are in Klamath, we have several upcoming events... On October 5, Saturday, at 10 am, at Calvary Chapel we will be having our Kickoff event! Our area coordinators will be in attendance and giving a presentation to us... We will also have info, items like balloons for your church or group, and some GO BOXES for you or your church to use for packing shoeboxes. As always feel free to contact me if you need support.

Also in Klamath we will be having a craft event in October. Watch here if you are interested for all the details. :) I am still working out the extras.

If you would like me to talk to your group, church, or pastor about Operation Christmas Child let me know. If you have donations of items for area packing parties, contact me. Let's make this a great year! Each shoebox makes a difference!