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Friday, November 22, 2013

Operation Christmas Child.

Twelve years ago I began participating in a mission that has now become one of the most significant Christmas traditions for me, and now our family.

As a freshman in high school, I was introduced to Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child project through a volunteer service organization. I shopped & packed a shoe box, complete with a letter to an unknown child and felt so impacted by the action that I continued doing it annually as a high schooler. After going away to college, I continued to seek out the opportunity to pack my shoe box each year and send it off packed with toys, treats, and love. When Chris & I married, it became our very first "married holiday tradition". We have continued the tradition, and 2 Christmases ago when we were expecting Owen, we began packing a third shoe box. Last year Owen was a mere 10 months old, but we took him shopping to "pack" his own shoe box.

Several Sundays ago, we stayed for a few minutes following our worship service to pack shoe boxes as a part of our church's quarterly Day of Mission project. We helped Owen color a picture and select items off of a table to pack into shoe boxes to send to "friends" for Christmas. He continues to talk about "packing a box for a friend".

Last weekend we all went shopping for items to pack in our own boxes. Owen announced that he wanted to pack a "yellow car" and "play doh" in his friend's box. This past Sunday during our worship service the three of us, along with other members of our church family, walked our shoe boxes to the front of the sanctuary where we stacked them and then prayed over the boxes, the children who would receive them, and the impact that we know they will have on their recipients.

This year the mission of Operation Christmas Child has an even deeper, more personal meaning for me. It is so important to us to teach Owen the importance of serving others even at his young age. My heart was so full when I listened to him talk about sharing toys with a "friend" and watched him walk his shoe box to the front of our church. Although packing the shoe boxes may seem like a simple gesture, the impact of the love contained with in each box and the story of the greatest love of all placed in each box reaches deeper than any of us may ever know.

There are so many wonderful stories of the impact of the boxes...check them out here.

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