Sunday, June 14, 2015

Christmas in May?

For many years our children were involved in a program organised by Samaritan's Purse called Operation Christmas Child.  In October or November we would pack a shoebox filled with items that would be shipped to developing countries around the world.  The goal is that as children receive a gift box they will hear the story of God's greatest gift Jesus. As we celebrated Christmas together we often pictured a child opening a box we had sent and wondered what that might look like.
It came as somewhat of a shock a few weeks ago to see a truck on the road loaded down with Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  How funny we thought it's April!  Then a few weeks later I was asked to help with the distribution of boxes that had arrived for our church.
As we planned for the event I learned a few important lessons.
  • All that dollar store junk is still dollar store junk when it reaches its destination
  • When they tell you not to pack soft candy they really mean it.  Sticky caramels melted all over a box of crayons is not a pleasant thing
  • Those small bouncy balls in bright colours can be easily mistaken for gumball candy.  Not a good idea
  • Play dough, while a fabulous educational activity for preschoolers, is likely to be mistaken as a food item for hungry children.  
  • a clothing item (shirt, shorts, dress) is an excellent idea
  • flipflops or sandals are another very practical well received gift
  • a ball is a universal toy everyone enjoys 

For me the most moving part of the experience was listening to one of our staff members hear pray with a grateful heart for the people who had blessed 'our' children.  "Thank you for using those people to give us an opportunity to share about God's love."  The next day Uncle Bosco did indeed use the opportunity to share with over 200 children the story of God's love.

1 comment:

  1. Some important lessons there for shoebox-fillers Cathie, glad though that over 200 children in Uganda were blessed in this way.