Operation Christmas Child brings good news and great joy through the power of a simple gift. What goes into a shoebox is fun, but what comes out is eternal. As children receive gift-filled shoeboxes they hear the Gospel. You can have a role in reaching millions of children with God’s love by supporting this project of Samaritan’s Purse.
In 23 years since 1993, OCC has delivered over 135 million shoeboxes to kids who often have very little and smile with joy at a free gift! Each year, these shoeboxes reach those smiling faces by plane, boat, train, truck, helicopter, dogsled, donkey — even camel and yak! CenterPoint Church has been a part of this ministry since we began in 2005! We have donated almost 2,000 boxes, held packing parties, and served as a Relay Center collecting thousands and thousands of boxes from the community and transporting them to Columbus’ main Collection Center.
A simple gift-filled shoebox delivered to a child in need can give hope, change lives, and transform communities. It is not “just” the many small gifts hidden in each shoebox: it is also the gift of a Savior to these precious children. Good Tidings of Great Joy (Luke 2:10) are found in the Gospel messages read by and taught to the children in follow-up discipleship. We know that our great God works miracles from the tiniest things: a mustard seed, a grain of sand, a box of crayons, a Teddy bear.
Whether toys, school supplies, clothing, or hygiene items, the giver seeks to pack their shoebox with as much fun and blessing as it will hold. Before closing the lid, the giver can include a note for the recipient, often complete with a photograph. The person who packed the gift then pauses to ask God to deliver the shoebox to just the right child—the child for whom the things inside will be especially meaningful or even be an answer to prayer.
After being brought to our church office during National Collection Week in November, the shoeboxes are delivered to regional processing centers where volunteers prepare them for their trip overseas. Hundreds or thousands of miles later, the boxes clear customs, entering the care of Samaritan’s Purse ministry partners who plan distribution events at churches and other locations. These distributions often begin with music or puppets and include a presentation of the Gospel that a child can understand. Then the big moment comes: each child receives a shoebox and, after a countdown, they all open their gifts at the same time. Squeals of delight and shouts of joy fill the meeting area.
What begins in the heart of someone who cares can change eternity for a child and a family. The process happens millions of times over. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 135 million shoeboxes in over 150 countries. Many who receive boxes are also invited to attend a 12-week follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. Here they learn more about what it means to follow Jesus and walk with Him for a lifetime, and how to share their faith. Receiving a New Testament at graduation, they are equipped to grow and bear fruit for Christ’s Kingdom.
You can be a part of this amazing program by packing a shoebox full of fun items for a child. Above all, pray for the eternal impact of your gifts!
We are looking for folks to join our team to make OCC a year-round ministry at CenterPoint Church. If you want to be a part of this team, please contact Jen Whisler.
See below for more information on packing a shoebox. Or follow this link to the official OCC site.