It’s hard to pack everything you’d like to give to a child you’ve never met into a small shoe box. Balancing needs and wants can be difficult when deciding what goes in and what has to stay behind. But when that shoe box is full, and you’ve sent it on its way, a wave of satisfaction hits you.
For those who’ve never heard or participated in Operation Christmas Child (OCC), it’s a wonderful program that uses gift-filled shoe boxes to children in need around the world to demonstrate God’s love. Anyone can take a shoe box or a small container, fill it with things that a child might need/want and take it to a drop off location to be sent to children in more than 150 countries and territories.
When I lived in Wyoming, I was employed by a medical office where the owners were actually the coordinators for OCC in that state. Every year, we would have a packing party! This involved changing all of the exam rooms into “stores” with different themes. You would start in the lobby, grab a box, put the essentials like soap, toothbrush, and washcloth and then pick an item or two from each room as you went the length of the building! It was AMAZING! My children were involved and enjoyed packing for kids they never met.
As Peyton, McKenna, and the other participants would pick up a box, they would pray over it; pray for the workers and volunteers touching it, pray for the child receiving it, their families, and the village and country that it would affect. Packing those boxes is truly a moment of being the hands and feet of Jesus.
And don’t even get me started on volunteering at the distribution center! I’ve had the privilege of working at the Denver location twice. The THOUSANDS of shoe boxes you see being packed into shipping containers is nothing short of astounding.
It’s been several years since I’ve been a part of that, but this year Peyton and I decided to pack our own boxes. We chose to fill on boy box and one girl box for the age group of 10-14 since that tends to be a harder box to fill. We pored over selections at Hobby Lobby, the Dollar Tree, Walmart, and Michael’s to make sure we could get everything we wanted. It still makes me smile to think about Peyton, with gritted teeth, look at me and say, “I WILL make this all fit in this box. It WILL close!”
Not only was this time spent with Peyton cherished mother/daughter time, it was an opportunity to remind Peyton and myself about keeping ourselves busy doing the Father’s work. It’s never done. Whether it’s a conversation with someone about Jesus or filling a shoe box with gifts for children who might not otherwise get a gift, it’s what God commands us to do:
Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
There’s still time to fill a shoe box if you’d like to participate in Operation Christmas Child. National Collection Week is next week, November 12-19. You can get more information on what can be packed and where to find your closest drop off location by clicking here.
Share below if you’ve packed a shoe box for OCC before!