Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Long Journey For A Little Box

I hope by now everybody has heard of Operation Christmas Child. If you haven't, where've ya been?

Let's go on a journey with a shoebox:

Shoes gets bought. The shoes are taken out and the box is thrown into the back of the closet.

November comes. You see or hear of something that reminds you it is time once again to pack a shoebox for a needy child. You dig in the back of your closet to find a shoebox. And there it is.

You load up your children and head to your store of choice. You buy a toothbrush/toothpaste, soap/washcloth, combs/brushes, crayons/coloring book, gender- and age-appropriate toys, and anything else you think will fit in the box all the while talking to your kids about the one waiting on the box.

Where do you think she lives? Is it hot weather or cold weather there? Will these socks fit? How will we know if this little pink princess shirt is the right size?

You bring all your goodies home and pack the shoebox. Wrap it in pretty Christmas paper and you're done. Your family gathers and prays for the child who will receive this box.

Collection Week. The week before Thanksgiving. You take your shoebox to a drop-off location. They receive it and pray over your box again. Then they place your shoebox in a carton with other shoeboxes and when the carton is full, they tape it up and place the shipping label on the side.

The carton containing your shoebox is then taken to the nearest Collection Center. The carton containing your shoebox is placed on an 18-wheeler next to lots of other cartons containing lots of other peoples' shoeboxes.

The 18-wheeler travels to a Processing Center. There, hundreds of volunteers will open each carton, reach in, take out one shoebox at a time, organize them into gender and age groups then re-carton them accordingly.

During this process, every few minutes, someone will come over the loudspeaker and tell everyone to stop working, pick up the nearest box, hold it tightly, and pray along with them for that particular box. Look! Someone is holding your box!

The cartons will be held there until loaded onto airplanes, etc. and taken to their final destination. (This is undoubtedly the most adventurous part of your box's journey, but unfortunately I have not personally witnessed this, yet.)

When at their final destination, the cartons are opened and one by one the shoeboxes are taken out and handed to eager children.

Look! That little girl is opening your her box! And she absolutely loves it! And now, perhaps for the very first time, she will read about God's love for her.

All because you packed a shoebox.

P.S. The little pink princess shirt fit perfectly.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Operation Christmas Child is really big up here. Franklin Graham comes up at least once a year to Alaska (that I know of for sure, probably more trips that he keeps quiet about). Samaritan's Purse has done so much for rural Alaska, where life can be really hard. It's a wonderful organization, and my girls love putting together shoe boxes each year. Such a small act, but such a big reward!