Operation Christmas Child is well underway at Hope Church. Truth be told, it’s a ministry that operates year round to bring the joy of Christmas and the Gospel to those who might never have a chance to experience it. Right now it’s crunch time as we get our final preparations together for this year’s shipment. It’s hard to describe what this ministry means to the children who receive the boxes, to the people that pack them and everyone in between, but we’ll try.
How did you first hear about Operation Christmas Child and why did you decide to get involved?
I believe it was actually 6 years ago. I was at church and heard the pastor announce the mission. It must have been kick off Sunday. It really bothered me to think about how terrible it must feel as a parent to not be able to give a gift to your child. I felt guilty that just moments before this announcement, I was going through the Sunday newspaper, looking for ideas for cool things to get my then 2 year old for Christmas. That year we started with packing 2 boxes and now were up to 35+ boxes every year.
How long have you been involved in the ministry?
We’ve been packing boxes for 6 years. This will be the 4th year we’ve been active with the OCC team and packing party at church.
What difference has it made to you and to your family?
Getting my family involved in OCC and packing the shoe boxes at our house has made us aware of opportunities to give up things for ourselves so we can give to others. The kids willingly hand over their Happy Meal toys to include with our shoe box packing items. My husband and myself gave up exchanging Christmas gifts for a couple years so that we could do more for OCC. We both find it much more fulfilling and rewarding to give than receive.
What would you like to say to encourage someone who has never participated before?
It’s such a great ministry to get your family involved in, no matter how old your kids are. If you’re unsure how to pack your own shoe box, start off by joining us at the packing party or packing a box at the OCC store. (The store will be back next year.) Also, you can go on the OCC website and watch some of the videos of the kids receiving these gifts.
You can’t help but feel good when you see these beautiful children enjoying the happiest days of their lives – not only because of the gift items but also because this is in most cases their first introduction to Jesus Christ.
We’re grateful to Carrie, her family and all the volunteers that make Operation Christmas Child happen here at Hope. There’s still time for you to get involved in the ministry this year. As Carrie suggests, you can attend a packing party! There are two opportunities on Saturday, November 11th. (Get the details here.) Follow Hope’s Facebook page to see what OCC is up to next!