The Journey of a Shoe Box Gift
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountain are the feet that bring good news.”
Thanks to the leadership of Shelly Maxwell, TCCC has participated in the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, for the past 18 years. This year as a congregation we prepared 226 shoe box gifts! The journey of our boxes began as the Deborah Circle transported them to the Bluegrass area collection center at Porter Memorial Baptist Church. A gentleman greeted us in the parking lot, helped us unload our gifts, and then led us in a time of prayer. We prayed for each box, for those who packed them, and for the children that would be receiving them. His prayer reminded us that God had a child in mind to receive our gift before we ever packed it. Tractor trailers sat ready at the center to transport crated boxes on the next leg of the journey to one of nine OCC processing centers.
During Thanksgiving week, we had the adventure of following the boxes and working for a day at the Atlanta processing center. We worked alongside volunteers from Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, and another team from Paducah, KY. After a video greeting by Franklin Graham, orientation, and a brief training, we walked out into an enormous warehouse full of cheerful volunteers. We were in awe of the enormity of the space, the volume of shoe boxes processed daily, and the wonderful organization at work. Our work was interrupted periodically to pray collectively over the boxes and the children who would receive them. We were instructed to retain the integrity of each box, so that the child would receive the box just as it was packed. Our day was spent inspecting and taping boxes designated for a “closed” country. The destination was not disclosed even to us in order to protect the individuals willing to face persecution for accepting and delivering the packaged boxes. Again, we were standing in awe of God’s plan for each box.
Every shoe box delivered by Operation Christmas Child is a tangible expression of God’s amazing love. The box is just the beginning. It presents an opportunity for church partners in the receiving countries to invite children into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. This is possible by a 12-week Bible study course guiding the children through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ. It is an introduction to relationship building and a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship.
By mid-December, boxes are ready to be shipped out by air and sea to over 100 countries. If you gave a shipping donation online and used the special label provided, you will receive notification of which country received your box. Your box may travel the last of its journey by yak, elephant, jeep, or canoe to be presented to the child you have blessed. Thank you TCCC for sharing your love for Jesus to children around the world!
Martha Bugg & Becky Child