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Monday, November 14, 2011

The Power of a Simple Gift: Operation Christmas Child

Each year in November, the ladies in my church get together for our Holiday House.  Different women offer to decorate a table and we have a nice dinner which consists of ham and yummy sided dishes and desserts provided by those who attend.  Here are some of the tables this year:
(That's my oldest daughter, Cecily.  She does the table for the youth/children.)
(Tunis and her table.)
(Wilmarie and her table.  Wilmarie and her husband Ryan work with our youth.)
(Sharon and her beautiful silver and black table.)

There were two others, but I failed to get a picture!  Sorry Karen and Leslie!

This year we had Lucy Long speak for the event.  She and her husband John are IMB missionaries in Gent, Belgium.  Our youth have adopted them as their class missionary and have committed to pray regularly for them as they carry out their work in Belgium.  Cecily (my daughter) is the class contact for the Longs.  

The main purpose for our Holiday House event (and the part of the evening everyone enjoys the best) is packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  If you are unfamiliar with OCC, it is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse.  You can read more about this amazing ministry HERE.  
I wish you could experience the excitement in the room when it is time to begin packing the boxes!  It is so encouraging seeing the joy everyone takes in such a simple task.
One thing that always strikes me at this event is the way these simple boxes unify such different people.  You have older ladies packing boxes beside youth girls and children.  Imagine a room full of ladies focused, not on outfits and handbags and shoes matching those handbags, but on preparing a box full of simple gifts that will be the delight of some child somewhere in another country.

One thing that OCC has made possible in packing the shoe boxes is a way of making personal contact with the child that receives the box you pack.  Mostly our children and youth do this.  OCC provides a paper where the person packing the box can write a little about themselves even including a picture if they want along with their address.
I was so excited to have a next door neighbor to me and her daughter attend Holiday House with me this year.  Anna and her mom Sandy worked on one of these personal contact forms together for Anna to include in the box she packed.
Anna and her Operation Christmas Child Box.
I didn't notice this particular detail about the picture above until I was uploading it for this blog post.  But do you see it?
"Blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven"
That's what makes the task of packing these shoe boxes take on such significance.  We are blessed to be forgiven of our sins by a compassionate and long suffering Savior.  These boxes and the potential impact they have on a young life is just the beginning of many ways we can share with someone else about this amazing gift of grace that we have freely received.

If you have about 5 spare minutes, please watch this video.  It tells the story after the box and God can use a simple gift:

Blessings on you and your family this Thanksgiving and Christmas season,