Monday, November 14, 2011

Packing Up Hope

Hello and Happy Monday!

Today I'd like to share a wonderful thing with you that I have been so blessed to be a part of since I was a little girl. Operation Christmas Child is a ministry that my family and church have been participating in each year as a way to send hope to children living in extreme poverty and devastating conditions.

Often times these children have only the clothes on their backs and have never once received a gift in their  lives. However, this is all they know and it breaks my heart.

Samaritan's Purse started this ministry as a way to send the love of Jesus overseas through something as small and simple as a shoebox.

Thousands of people from all over pack small gifts, candy, and personal items in a shoebox, drop it off at a processing center, and from there it is packed in a crate before being shipped overseas.

When the plane lands, Samaritan's Purse employees and volunteers hand out these shoeboxes to the children and it is like Christmas for them. The one Christmas that they'll ever have.

It is so touching to see photos of these children being so ecstatic over gum, a comb, and a coloring book when children in America receive gifts year round and ask for items such as an XBox for Christmas.

This is the second year that Andy and I have assembled boxes and donated them to reach children around the world.

It is a fun date night activity and it feels great knowing that we are playing a small role in making a child's life brighter. I always assemble a box for a girl, while Andy chooses items for a boy.

I have been told by volunteers that the kid's favorite part of the whole box is a letter and photo so they can see who sent the gifts to them. One year, a girl from the Philippines actually wrote back to me and were were pen pals for a few years! It was so neat to be able to communicate with her and learn about what life is like on the other side of the world for a girl my age.

Because the boxes are not always delivered right around Christmas, there are some regulations that must be followed. Only hard candy is allowed because of melting issues in hot countries, and liquids are not allowed as they can easily spill during transport and ruin the contents of the box. You can find more information about packing a shoebox on their website.

If you would like to donate your time, a shoebox, or a check in any amount to this wonderful cause, please visit Samaritan's Purse for more information.

Ever participated in Operation Christmas Child?

All images other than the ones of our boxes are from


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