Thursday, November 3, 2011

Operation Christmas Child {Gifts from the Heart}

Yay for Christmas!! It's on its way!! Yes, I realize it is still almost 2 months away, but there's so much to do to prepare, and it is such a magical time, I just can't wait to get started! Thanksgiving and Christmas are excellent times to reach out to those in need, both in our own communities and those far away. I feel like it's important to teach our kids that the holidays are wonderful times for food, family, and fun, but that God also asks us to be His hands and feet to minister to those around us.

One thing that I have wanted to do for severals years is to put together a shoebox of gifts for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. The idea is simple: get a shoebox, fill it with small items for a child, print a label from the website, pay $7 for shipping, and Samaritan's Purse will see that it gets to a child somewhere who would otherwise not have such items. Along with each box comes a booklet called "The Greatest Gift of All." From the website —

... But the shoe boxes don’t just offer physical items to make life better for children. The gifts also present an opportunity to learn about the Gospel.

That’s exactly what Ralph did. When he accepted his gift, he also accepted Christ. As he kicks a soccer ball to a friend, his smile isn’t just because of his new toys. Now he has found God’s love.
Ralph and his friends were offered “The Greatest Gift of All” booklet with their gifts, which explains the story of Christ and salvation through Him. Ralph said he is excited to learn more about Jesus....
Touching, isn't it? I think this will be an excellent exercise for my children. Choosing things that they would like for themselves so that other children can benefit and learn about Jesus and his gift for us all.

Last year, I was too late to get our box together - I didn't even think about it until mid-November. But this year I set a reminder on my calendar to start working on it November 1. National Collection Week is November 14-21, with drop-off locations all over the country -- we have several in NWA. So, being aware and prepared, all that was left was the shopping and packing!

Here's what we've got in our box that I'm labeling as for a 2-4 year old boy:

Lined notebook paper
Disney coloring book
2 small packs of crayons
4 stacking lead pencils
Pack of markers
Index cards
Glue stick
Scotch tape
Assorted stickers
Assorted foam stickers
Pipe cleaners (they're just fun for kids I've learned)
An unused toothbrush
A bar of mild soap (in a bag)
Enough candy for a small neighborhood
Plenty of small toys
2 small cans of Playdoh
5 small board books
We'll probably put our address and family photo in as well. 

And here it is all packed up! I could not for the life of me find a standard shoebox in my house! Sad, but I did find one of these storage boxes, and I think it works just as well. Plus, the lid is a festive green. :-)

I still need to print off, mark, and attach the appropriate label. We will be using the online payment method so that we can track our shoebox - such a cool feature!! And of course we will be praying over it before we take it to the drop-off. 

Prayers for the child receiving it - that the items he receives can be a blessing to him and his family, that he will feel loved and valued, that he can someday understand that it is the love of God for us that compels us to show love to others, and that God loves him SOOOO MUCH!! (They have a discipleship program that follows the children, not just abandoning them after a single gift.)

Prayers for his family - that through this experience and the gospel booklet they will receive they may get a glimpse of the infinite grace, mercy, and love of God, and ultimately that they will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and learn to serve him and bring up children to love him.

And prayers for my family - that God will open our hearts to people in need, that we will feel extreme compassion and a desire to pass on mercy and love to others both near and far, and that we will feel even more thankful for the blessings of health, toys, housing, clothing, and Jesus than ever before.

This year, I encourage you to be a blessing to others. Include your family and children in the process. God gives to us so that we can be His hands on Earth. Lets use what we have to share with others!

Linking up here:

Living Well Wednesdays at Women Living Well
Works for Me Wednesdays at We are THAT Family
Things I Love Thursdays at The Diaper Diaries
Proverbs 31 Thursdays at Raising Mighty Arrows


  1. We've enjoyed making the boxes in the past, and I especially love your idea of continued prayers for the child, his family, and our own hearts.

  2. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing.

  3. What a sweet and thoughtful idea! I will absolutely pass this idea on to a couple of women's groups I belong to.

  4. @Trisha - I think it's a great organization, and I've always wanted to do it. So glad I had put it in my calendar last year!!
    @Gretchen - Wonderful! Be sure to mention that the drop-off period is approaching quickly -- Nov. 14-21.

    Thanks y'all for visiting!!