Operation Christmas Child Begins October 19
By Karla Rosenkranz, OCC Volunteer
In 2013, my daughter Danielle, who was then 4, suffered a concussion from a fall off her bike. We ended up taking an hour-long ambulance ride to the nearest hospital. Once she was stabilized, our caring paramedic gave Danielle a teddy bear which she quickly befriended. I was so grateful for that teddy bear—a simple gift that calmed our situation and helped us through a very difficult time.
This made me think a lot about the parents of the children who receive shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child. The parents of children who now had school supplies and now attend school, their own toothbrush and face cloth, a teddy bear to cuddle and the love and prayers from a stranger. How overwhelming it must be for these parents and caregivers!
Fellow CrossRoader and OCC volunteer, Peggy Kingott, participated in the distributing of love-and-hope-filled shoeboxes to children in need in Uruguay in February 2013 and was able to witness the reactions of those on the receiving end.
Peggy personally gave her shoebox to a teenage boy named Matias whose smile grew and grew after each little gift he discovered. Out of all of the Canada-themed gifts from his box, his favorites were the red hat, Canada flag and the toy Zamboni. Peggy also recalled a story about another boy who had received a comb in his box, and he could not stop combing his hair.
Six hundred boxes were given out over 8 distributions within 6 days during her mission trip with Samaritan’s Purse. Peggy described the distributions as, “a celebration day! “It’s a party with songs, sharing about Jesus and then the countdown…3….2….1…OPEN YOUR SHOEBOX! There is so much laughter and joy.”
Although each distribution is a little different, the story of Jesus was always shared in this country where the Christian population is just six percent.
The story of Jesus was depicted with colored, heart-shaped papers. Black meant sin, green for hope, red for Jesus’ blood, gold described the streets of heaven, and white hearts meant being cleansed.
The children can also accept a beautifully illustrated booklet called The Greatest Journey to learn more about Jesus’ love for them. Local leaders are trained to continue sharing the gospel within the community after the volunteer team has left.
Each shoebox is definitely a gospel opportunity, and that’s why every single shoebox matters. There is always a very special child on the receiving end who needs to know they are loved, especially by Jesus.
CrossRoads’ Operation Christmas Child kick-off will be October 19th, and November 16th will be our final day of collection.
* Brochures will be available at the OCC table and will have everything you need to know about how to best pack a shoebox. There will boxes available as well if needed.
* For more information on packing a shoebox or about this Samaritan’s Purse ministry visit: http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/operation-christmas-child/
* To connect locally, please join the Facebook group ‘Operation Christmas Child- Central Alberta’. You can also call Peggy at 403-342-1227 or email Karla at firstname.lastname@example.org