Well I can't believe that 12 months has already rolled around again so quickly - where has the time gone?!! We are at that time of the year when we start to prepare our Shoeboxes full of gifts for Operation Christmas Child.
This has become a yearly event our family is always involved in and we love putting together boxes full of gifts for children who live in places around the world where they don't have much at all. For us it doesn't necessarily come easy financially to be involved in this venture, it is a sacrifice. We have a large family and it is expensive just to provide for the needs of our own children, but we look beyond this to the opportunity this experience provides as a valuable teaching lesson to our children. We need to be thankful for the things we have and reach out to help those around us. It encourages the spirit of giving at Christmas, rather than having kids only focus on what they want to receive. As many of you know, the gift of giving actually brings you a greater sense of joy within yourself - for me it has been such a blessing to see my own kids understand this.
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.
To learn more about Operation Christmas Child you can visit their website here.
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.
It has been fun throughout the last 12 months, shopping for this project. We do watch the stores for sales and buy up a lot of the supplies for the boxes then - for example, back to school sales are a great opportunity to get lots of school supplies cheaply. By stretching our dollar, while still providing quality items, we are able to actually put together a few extra boxes than we might have been able to do otherwise. My kids are so in tune with the whole concept of Operation Christmas Child that when they see things on sale throughout the year that are on our lists for the boxes, they are very eager to buy them and put them away for when we are ready to pack the shoeboxes in August.
Last week we pulled out our containers of supplies. I store everything we purchase throughout the year in large plastic containers to keep them all clean. My younger girls sorted all the supplies into separate piles to make it easy to collect what we needed for each box and then we began the task of packing the individual boxes. It was very exciting and lots of fun for the kids. They get so much enjoyment out of putting together a box of supplies for a gift for another child somewhere in the world. Last on the list of things to add to the boxes is a photo of the kids, to make the gift a bit more personal for the recipient, so they know somebody made this parcel for them and cares for them.
Our church family all get involved with Operation Christmas Child and the church is a local collection point for people to be able to drop their packed shoeboxes off to. It is amazing each year to see a massive wall of boxes which are all donated by the generous people from both our church family and our local community. The school where our children go is also involved in this project, so we have opportunities to be involved each year by donating items for the school students to pack boxes. The school then sends a team of senior students overseas on a mission trip to help with the distribution of the boxes - truly a life changing experience!
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend getting involved - contact Samaritan's Purse for more details of how to do this in your local area.