Samaritan's Purse is my favorite mission field. I became more aware of it when my good friend's son and family worked for the organization in a hurricane devastated area in Louisiana.
I became hands-on with the organization when our former church began to collect shoe boxes in Sunday School and would head to Dollar General with the kids and have a shopping spree. The idea being that the boxes would be packed with practical items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, underwear and socks, clothes, and fun items like dolls, cars, balls, games, colors and coloring books. These boxes are then collected locally and shipped to the headquarters where hundreds of volunteers work each year going through the boxes, adding lesson material to teach the gospel message to the children in their language, and sending the boxes to many different countries throughout the world.
Since then I have used OCC as a fun project with my family and of late, my granddaughter Elaine who is now nearly 11. Every year in November I let her choose a boy or girl to buy for and an age range. This year she chose a 2-4 year old girl and a must-have for each box is either a sweet little doll or a soft cuddly stuffed animal.
Today I introduced the idea to my preschool/kindergarten Sunday School class. It always amazes me how although they are children themselves and what child doesn't want something new, they never ask for a gift to keep. There is something about showing them the video of where some of these kids live and telling them that these children get NO gifts that brings out the sweetest little need to give. I always ask them, "How many Christmas gifts do you think you will get this year?" And I usually hear the normal 5 or 6 or 20! Then I explain that these boxes we are packing are the FIRST and ONLY gift that many of these children will get.
This year - even though we will miss this year's pick up deadline - I am taking two OCC Shoeboxes to my daughter's house for Thanksgiving and as a family I want us to shop for an older boy and an older girl.
If you are interested in this great tradition - check it out on www.samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child.
This year - Operation Christmas Child has a new fan! Duck Dynasty's Robertson Family are sponsoring OCC and even Uncle Si has a great message to share on the importance of this ministry!