The Christmas season is upon us. It has always been my favorite time of year. I have always loved the lights and sounds, spending time with family and friends and of course shopping for everyone. It was the time of year I felt the most alive. I felt more loving and more generous than any other time of year.
It’s no wonder when I learned about Operation Christmas Child, I was immediately drawn to it. It was 5 years ago while at a conference that I learned about it. I saw red and green and Christmas and immediately went over to the Samaritans Purse table. I quickly learned that by filling a shoebox with gifts, we could share God’s love in a tangible way with hurting children around the world.
At that time in my life, I was really just beginning to know and understand God’s love in a very different way than I had known before. I wanted these children to know God’s love too. So I brought Operation Christmas Child to my Women’s Harbor Bible study group and suggested we support this ministry for our service project.
We filled 100 shoeboxes that November! I was excited! So excited that I started noticing things on sale in December and January and throughout the year that we could put in the shoeboxes the following year. But I wasn’t the only one excited. Others were also getting excited about this project and they began shopping throughout the year too. Word of Operation Christmas Child began to spread and more and more people have gotten involved over the years.
This past November, Harbor filled 300 shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene products and toys. With the help and support of many, we were able to raise enough money to send these boxes on their way. The suggested donation / box is $9. That amounts to $2700. God has given me the privilege of seeing the generosity in our community through this project over the past several years. Not only did we raise the $2700 to cover shipping and other ministry costs, but we also were able to donate $600 toward The Greatest Journey which is a 12 lesson Bible study that each child has the opportunity to participate in after receiving the shoebox. That $600 sponsored 100 children. And this financial support doesn’t cover the cost of all the donations that went into the boxes. Thank you to everyone for your help and support!
We had 35 people that came out on Saturday, November 4th to help fill the boxes at our annual packing party. Not only did we have women participating this year, but we also had men, young adults and kids helping pack the boxes. It was so much fun!
The most amazing thing in all of this for me, is that since I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior in 2013, every day now feels like Christmas! I have Joy in my heart and I feel alive like never before…not only during the Christmas season, but all year long! May you know God’s love and Jesus’ saving power! I'm praying God fills you with Joy, Unspeakable Joy, during this Christmas season and always! I love you, Harbor! Merry Christmas!