“The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to show God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ” (www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child)
Started in 1990 by Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child has shown God’s love to more than 146 million children in over 150 countries, through the power of a simple shoebox full of gifts!
When I discovered that my local church was collecting shoeboxes to children send to children around the world, I was super excited and Jenny agreed to help me out! We got our flat pack shoebox ready, checked the website for what gifts we could and couldn’t include and chose our age group: a 5-9-year-old boy!
One sunny Saturday, Jenny took me on a wonderful morning adventure to Sainsbury’s, ASDA, WHSmith and Wilkinson’s. For toys, I found some lovely mini plastic dinosaurs and farm animals; for school supplies, I bought a notebook, a selection of biros in different colours and a set of coloured pencils; for hygiene I bought a set of yellow flannels, a toothbrush and toothpaste and a roll-on deodorant. I also found a nice woolly hat to add in.
An important thing that Samaritan’s Purse recommend you include in your shoe box is a “Wow” item – something that a child will immediately love as soon as they open their box. For this I knew just the thing (or penguin!) – I have a very fluffy blue little penguin cousin who would love to go travelling and make a child very happy this Christmas!
I sent him a message via Amazon and over he came. It was very, very sad (mostly for Jenny) to see him go but we’re praying that his new family will love him just as much as we do!
The final thing to include in your shoebox is a photo of yourself, with a handwritten note to the child who receives your gifts – showing them who this has come from. Me and Jenny took a great selfie and she wrote our names and where we’re from on the back (it’s hard to write when you have flippers).
Just before you finish, you also have the option to make a donation of £5 per shoebox to help Operation Christmas Child cover the costs of the project – this donation enables a local church or group overseas to receive shoeboxes, project materials and training to lead a safe, well-organised children’s event where your shoebox will be given to a child in need. When you make this donation, you will be given a barcode to print off and put inside your shoebox. Wherever your shoebox ends up, your barcode will be scanned and you will receive an email letting you know where in the world your shoebox has been delivered. We are SO excited to find out where Blue Arnold ends up – and will let you know when we receive this email!!
I believe that Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful opportunity to show God’s love to children in need across the world through a personal Christmas gift, and would strongly encourage anyone to get involved next year – you can even send a pre-packed box online if you don’t have time to do the shopping yourself!
Please also be praying for the child who receives the shoebox that I sent, as well as all the others receiving a shoebox this year – that it will bring them joy and laughter and that they might know God’s love!