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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Back in the saddle again.....

Ahhhh........
It's good to be back!

Thursday a week ago, I accepted the volunteer position of Birmingham Area Coordinator (previously held by my own Andy) for Operation Christmas Child.  I have personally been volunteering with OCC for 13 years, beginning at my church, Calvary Chapel, in Albuquerque, NM in 1997.  When we moved to Birmingham in 2000, we noticed that the project needed more help to get the word out, so we, with our church's permission, volunteered to be relay center coordinators.  Then an area team system was forned and I became the Community Relations Coordinator, telling MOPS groups, christian schools, hoards of women at the Southern Women Show, and well....pretty much anyone who would listen to me- about OCC.

WHAT?  You don't know what OCC is, you say? Well.......
 
OCC is a project overseen by Samaritan's Purse, an organization run by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's eldest son.  OCC delivers millions of shoeboxes around the world each year to precious children, who have likely never before received one gift- let alone a full box of them!  Along with this priceless cargo goes the gospel of Jesus Christ, delivered to over 5,500,000 (yes, million!) children last year!  Afghanistan, Trinidad, Romania, Japan, Haiti...name a country and they likely received a shipment!

Where do these shoeboxes come from, you ask?  Well, YOU silly!  Here, I'll break it down for you....
What should you put in them?  Ooooooooo, lots of FUN stuff!  Dolls, stuffed animals, matchbox cars, legos, hairbows, jewelry, hygeine items, art supplies........... you get the idea!  But let me tell you what you should NOT put in the box: bubbles, liquid soap/shampoo, chocolate, war toys or toys that are weapons.  You don't want to put anything in the box that may compromise the contents in transit...and sometimes they sit in shipyards in Africa for a looooooong time!  The war toys and weapons are obviously a bad idea when you see the list of the countries these boxes go to.  We want to bring the joy of Christ with these boxes, not remind some of those little ones of the atrocities happening outside of their front door.  Oh, another important thing to put in your box is a small donation to help cover shipping.  That helps the ministry to not have to absorb so much of the shipping cost and they can put those resources towards trying to get more boxes!

So are you excited about this at all?  I am PASSIONATE about this ministry.  I have children who have been made into international missionaries by the packing of a shoebox.  There is no better verse than this theme verse for the Connect Conference I just returned from yesterday:
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
                                                               Romans 10:14-16

There's good news for you, you don't have to wait until Collection Week in November to start packing your shoeboxes!  Start now!  Invite your friends over and pack some together!  Every shoe box is a gospel opportunity!

I look forward to my new role with OCC.  I'm excited to serve those children who don't have a tenth of what my children have.  I'm thrilled that I can serve as a missionary right here, right now.  The conference this week was so encouraging and inspiring- hearing from Afghanistans who had to flee the country for their lives because they chose to speak of Jesus, skyping with local contacts in Trinidad who distribute shoe boxes, listening to a Romanian who had received a box as a child and produced the contents which she had saved!  It was all amazing and affirming in the call to serve alongside OCC.

So, I'm back in the saddle again...... and I have a lot of work to do!  There's still children out there who haven't heard........

1 comment:

snapdragon said...

I did 12 shoeboxes last year- my mom did 50. It's such an awesome program!