Special Delivery: Love in a Shoebox

Every year through Operation Christmas Child (OCC), youngsters around the world who are often forgotten receive a special delivery. They are doubly blessed with joy and hope—the joy of receiving a shoebox gift and the hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus. This outreach is just one of the many global ministries of Samaritan’s Purse and a great example of the transformation that takes place when generosity combines with God’s generous love.

In the U.S., over 9,000 volunteers are dedicated year-round to promoting participation in OCC. Along with everyone who packs a shoebox, they are part of the great chain that delivers these blessings to children in need around the world.

It takes a massive effort to get each box into the hands of the intended child. After all the shoeboxes reach the distribution center and are shipped to over 150 countries, many local volunteers are needed to traverse particular terrains and a wide array of transportation methods are used for delivery. In Peru, donkeys can navigate the coastal plain, rugged mountains, and lowland jungle with the large boxes of precious cargo. Oxen, horses, and camels help to deliver OCC shoeboxes to children living in the mountains and rolling plateaus of Mongolia. In Malawi and Madagascar, delivery is by canoe and wagon; in Fiji, it is by foot or raft; in Honduras, it’s by helicopter. Zimbabwe’s mode of transport is elephant; in Ecuador, it’s the llama. Children in Namibia receive their gifts via camel and in Uganda by bicycle. God bless the generous people who deliver these gifts in Jesus’ name!

Last year 10.5 million OCC shoeboxes were sent around the world for Christmas. Each box contains a Gospel storybook called The Greatest Gift, and each child can participate in a Bible study course about Jesus and receive a New Testament.

According to Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, “The shoeboxes open up the door for us to be able to share God’s love with children. I want every child to know that God is real, that He cares for them.”

At First Church, this year’s campaign runs from October 4 through November 8. OCC Shoeboxes will be available at the church until we run out; ordinary cardboard shoeboxes may also be used. Your amazing response last year as a congregation allowed us to send over 1,000 shoeboxes. Let’s continue to bless the children with Good News and Great Joy! If you won’t be in the area, you can still participate and build a shoebox online ($25).

For more information, email Director of Missions Trusha Barner.

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