Friday, 17 August 2012

Samaritan's Purse - Operation Christmas Child

I do have a strong belief that by giving to others, we in turn are blessed ourselves.  We may have to sacrifice something ourselves in order to do this - perhaps with our time, or our finances or the resources we have at our disposal, but it is so worth it when you see the difference it can make in the life on another person.  This is something I have aimed to teach my children over the years and it is something I would hope they take a real ownership of and when they are grown, carry it through into their adulthood.

I know that many, many people get involved with helping others and assisting with financial aid, there are so many worthy causes out there, and people too, which need out help. 

As a family, every year we choose to be involved with the Operation Christmas Child project which is run by Samaritan's Purse International Relief.    I love it because it is something which is more hands-on in a tangible sense and while it requires more effort, it also becomes something my children take on ownership for as a result.

Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief and evangelism organization.  The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world.  Take a look at their website to learn more about this wonderful project.

The concept is to share a gift with a child by filling a box with a variety of small gifts.  The box will then be collected and distributed to a needy child somewhere else in the world. 

Throughout the year we plan for this and we buy items to fill a shoe box sized box for a child.  We always include items to wear, items for personal hygene, school supplies, something to play with and something special for the child. 

We have a large family ourselves and I do budget very carefully, you have to these days with the cost of living being so high, so I have become very adept at shopping for items on sale.  I like to economize and stretch our money as much as I can, it is something I do for us as a family on a weekly basis.  So with the Christmas Boxes it is no different.  I buy all my stationery items when the back to school sales are on at the start of the year and then pack them away for when it is time to make up the boxes.  I watch for end of season clearances on clothing and footwear too.  By shopping this way, it takes the pressure off at this time of the year, both time-wise and also money-wise. 

We like to do quite a few boxes, it used to be one for each of our children to do themselves and has grown from that.  By buying items on sale I can buy more items, still spending what I initially would have if things weren't on sale, but getting a lot more for my money, which means we are able to make up more boxes to send to children overseas.

This is a great project for children to be involved with and I love that it is teaching my children to be generous and give to others in need.   

This is one of my girls and she has a particularly generous and caring nature, she loves being involved in Operation Christmas Child.

Our church is involved in this project and the school where my children go is also involved in this project and they usually have a team of staff and Year 12 students go overseas at the end of the year to help with the distribution of the Christmas boxes.  We have watched video coverage of a community of children receiving their boxes and it was so wonderful to see the joy and excitement on the faces of the children and when we looked at their surroundings, we could see that they literally had nothing.

Operation Christmas Child is something we count as a priviledge to be involved in. 

One really neat thing is that we are even able to track our boxes and find out which country they have been sent to.  Then we can look up on a world map and show the younger children in particular exactly where that country is, it just makes the whole experience more real for them.

Thank for letting me share about Operation Christmas Child with you.  If you like the look of this and have never heard of it, or would like to get involved for your own family, visit the website to learn more.  This is a huge operation around the world and I know that we are only like a drop in the ocean when it comes to the Christmas boxes we personally prepare, we play such a small part, but every little bit helps and makes a huge difference in the life of another little person somewhere else in the world.  For this reason, we are so grateful to be involved!

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