It won’t even be Advent yet, much less Christmas. But on November 10, we’re going to be getting in the Christmas spirit at All Saints Church…because some presents have a long way to travel before December 25!
Chances are that you’ve heard of Operation Christmas Child. If you’ve been around All Saints for long, you probably have even packed a shoebox or two. I have participated in or led an OCC project for lots of years now, so I’ve read all about it and watched hours of video testimonials and packed hundreds and hundreds of boxes. But when I read this new testimonial this morning about how one orphan of the genocide in Rwanda found his way to forgiveness in part because of OCC, I was overwhelmed afresh by the amazing impact of this project. I’ve read lots of stories about OCC in lots of countries, but hearing about its impact in Rwanda brings it that much closer to home.
Sit for a minute with The Gift of Forgiveness in Rwanda. (Watch the video, but take a few extra minutes to read the whole article. I promise you won’t regret it. And if you’re anything like me, make sure you have the tissues nearby.)
He can still picture the box, along with many of its contents. Small, multi-colored candies—Alex thought they were medicine—a comb, and his favorite: a red and white striped stick shaped like a “j.” He couldn’t figure out what that was, so he stuck it in his mouth. As he bit through the plastic wrapping, a sweet cooling sensation filled his mouth. Alex had eaten his first candy cane.
“Just having something that we could call our own, that could take our minds off of what happened during the war, reminded us that someone out there cared for us and we still had hope,” he said. “I started to see that God had to have a plan for my life too, that He had been there all the time,” Alex said. “I started to see all the things that He used to save my life not as a coincidence, but as part of His bigger plan.”
What an amazing opportunity we have for the sake of the Gospel–and it can be as simple as sending a candy cane. Will you help us at All Saints as we share God’s precious, simple love with hundreds of children around the world again this year? There are so many ways to get involved.
- Pack some shoeboxes! Stop by the table in the lobby on Sunday to pick up all the materials you’ll need to pack your shoeboxes at home. You can use your own shoeboxes or plastic containers (lids wrapped separately, if you wrap them), or you can pick up one of the limited number of preprinted boxes we’ll have to give away.
- Mark your calendar, and plan to join us in the Annex after church on November 10 as we pack boxes together as a church. We’ll have all the supplies ready to go; we’ll just need your help putting it all together!
- Donate supplies for the party. Look at this list online for ideas for shoebox gifts: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/. Next time you’re out running errands, would you consider picking up a few items to donate to our party?
- What would a Christmas party be without treats? Would you be up for baking a few batches of your grandma’s special Christmas cookies a little early this year? Does everyone rave about your fudge at the office party every year? The more treats, the merrier!
- Help with setup and cleanup. Are you a lover of Christmas decorations? Come help make the Annex merry before the party! Or are you the engineering type? These boxes have lots of “insert tab A into slot B” type instructions–we will need your help constructing them! Do your kids love sorting and cutting and taping? Help us get the supplies all ready for the boxes! Help set up and break down tables, clean up trash, load boxes in my van–many hands will make the work light the day of the party.
- In lieu of Children’s Church on November 10, we’ll have a special OCC project for our elementary children. We’d love to have your help that morning as we share this special project with our kids.
- With a month to go, there are bound to be more ways to help. So stay tuned!
Don’t wait a month to get involved. Let me know now how you want to help! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. –2 Corinthians 8:7