Tuesday, September 20, 2016

When you are packing a Christmas box in September......

I know that Christmas seems like it is very far off, but this is where my heart has been for the last few days.  I have been assembling items to pack in my Operation Christmas Child gift boxes.  I know that I recently blogged about this organization in my blog  Sometimes they don't need a coat!  You can click on that link to read my thoughts about these boxes and also there is a link in that blog to some great videos about the children who receive these boxes.  

My family decided last year to do these boxes in honor of Lucas, my grandson who died in 2014.  It is such a wonderful way to honor his life by thinking about another little boy who will get great joy from some very simple gifts.  The most important thing in these boxes is the chance to hear about Jesus.  And that truly is the greatest gift of all.  Our family is especially looking forward to doing our boxes this year because of this very exciting letter and picture that Ellie received in the mail.....
Ellie was one of the very lucky ones (and very few) that got a response from the child that received her Operation Christmas Child box!  Her box went to Guyana, South America and this sweet little girl (who has a twin sister and a brother) responded in a letter of thanks to Ellie.  Ellie is so anxious to respond to this girl and hopes that they can become friends.  What a blessing this was for Ellie and for all of us - to see first hand how much these simple gifts mean to someone in another part of the world.  I know that this a lesson that all of the kids will not forget.  Gwen and Tim took the kids to the stores to choose all of the items that they included in their boxes. I asked Ellie what she put in her box last year.  Ellie remembers that she included a Barbie doll (since this is one of her favorite things to play).  And she included markers and paper.  Also hair bows and hair ties.  And apparently the Barbie was a big hit with the little girl, according to her letter! What a powerful lesson this is about the small things that we can do to make a difference for Jesus.  And we don't have to even leave our home.  Ellie has this photographic proof that she is a missionary and that she has followed the command of Jesus to go to the nations with the Good News! 

I have been following Samaritan's Purse and the Operation Christmas Child Facebook page and also their emails and have seen that the most wanted item - no matter what country - no matter the age of the child..... is a soccer ball.  That is evidence of just how popular soccer is around the world.  Of course you also need to send a pump since you have to deflate the ball to fit in the box!  So this year, all of my boxes will include a soccer ball and pump.  It might seem strange to send this for a little boy, but everything that I read says that this will make a small boy very happy!
All of my boxes will include a soft stuffed animal also.  What little one doesn't need something to hold on to?  And this year, I have also included a collapsible water bottle in each box (something I didn't think about last year).  You can see that I found some really neat tape that looks like a road and the box can be deconstructed and then used with the small cars I have included.  Each box also has a tee shirt and a Bandana (I guess these are used around the world for many different things).  I included soap and a washcloth, toothbrush and combs.  Pencils, markers and scissors.  A couple of fun little toys (whistles and tops) and a squishy ball.  This year I found flip flops for under a dollar at an end of summer sale, so each box has a small pair of those!

The interesting thing about these boxes is that somehow - it has to be Jesus - each one of the children who receive these boxes get exactly what they needed and/or wanted!  I am sure that there are some who might be unhappy with not receiving what someone else did, but it seems to happen very seldom.  The villages and towns that receive these gifts are often without any extra things.  So every little gift is important.   Often it is the first gift that they have received.  So it really doesn't matter what is in the box - it is the wonder of having something just for themselves.   I have been praying for each of these little boys who get one of these boxes.  And I will continue to pray for them over the coming year.  Imagine how much difference it will make as we pray.

Yes, this is a great way to, like Ellie, see yourself as a missionary.  And you don't have to leave home to reach the world.  There are so many children out there and I know that Jesus loves them all.  Recently at my Sunday evening meeting, we sang "Jesus Loves Me".  This is not your typical adult worship song.  But what a wonderful reminder for all of us...........

Jesus loves me, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong.  They are weak but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  The Bible tells me so.

This is a fitting song to end this blog.  Jesus loves me.  Jesus loves you.  And Jesus loves all those little ones.  Won't you join me in blessing one of those little ones through Operation Christmas Child?
Send a box in honor of a child.  Or in memory of a child.  Or just to bless a child.  You will be blessed in the giving!

Jesus, thank you for loving us all.  Thank you for the Bible that tells us of your great love.  Give us courage and boldness to share your love with the world.  Thank you for opportunities to reach the world via cyberspace - like this blog and with tangible gifts.  Bless Samaritans Purse and all that they are doing around the world. Bless the sweet family that Ellie's box reached.  Amen

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