My son Jack remembers doing this at his grandfather, Pastor John Osborne’s church at Lake Buchanan, Texas some years ago.
“It is a good memory because we were gifting and sharing the Word of Jesus Christ with children around the world who may have never had the opportunity,” Jack recalls. “Plus it is good to experience and share goodness in this tough world.”
Today, we are proud of Dodie because she is sharing duties of organizing this annual outreach box packing event at First Baptist Church of Medina nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
Led by Jo Walters, with Dodie, the small community is pitching in to help. Even the Medina Library is donating age appropriate books for the boxes.
In the summer of 1993, Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham received a call from a man in England asking if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. Franklin agreed, but figured Christmas was months away. He forgot about the promise until he received a call back around Thanksgiving asking about the gifts.
Franklin asked his friend, the late Pastor Ross Rhoads of Calvary Church of Charlotte to see if he could help with the need. A Sunday shortly afterward, Pastor Rhoads demonstrated for his congregation how to fill a shoebox with simple gifts and encouraged them to include a letter to the child as well. Within weeks, the church had 11,000 shoeboxes lining their hallways.
Due to their generosity and additional gifts from Canada, Samaritan’s Purse sent 28,000 shoebox gifts to children in the Balkans that Christmas.
Through these gifts, they communicated to children and their families what the angel said to the shepherds about Jesus’ birth: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people”
(Luke 2:10, ESV).
Every year since, Samaritan’s Purse has collected shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for children around the world. Since 1993, more than 198 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. The project delivers not only the joy of what, for many kids, is their first gift ever, but also gives them a tangible expression of God’s love.
Tens of thousands of volunteers from local churches around the world partner to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ at festive outreach events where children are surprised with these shoebox gifts.
Over the years they trained over 1.5 million volunteers from these congregations to teach The Greatest Journey, our dynamic follow-up discipleship course for shoebox recipients.
Since 2009, 30.9 million children have enrolled in this 12-lesson program to learn how to follow Christ and share Him with others. More than 14.9 million of these boys and girls have made a decision to accept Jesus as their Savior during the course. Many are now praying for and sharing their faith with family and friends. As a result of this ever-expanding witness, new churches are starting and communities are being transformed!
In 2021 alone, more than 10.5 million Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts were collected throughout Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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