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Remember all those shoe boxes we were packing last summer for Operation Christmas Child?  I do!  And if you recall, I’ve already purchased  a majority of my items for my boxes to donate this year!  Well, we received a update from OCC in the mail and we have had so much fun reading the stories of how God was able to use all the gifts and money donated last year.  8.17 MILLION shoe boxes were distributed to all over the world!

Here is a note from Operation Christmas Child- it really explains in detail what they are all about.

“Dear Friend,

Immanuel-God with us- that’s the ultimate message of Christmas.  Jesus came down from heaven over 2,000 years ago to bring redemption from sin and hope to those living in despair.  As the Gospel of Luke proclaims, “The rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (1:78b-79 NLT)

Operation Christmas Child is one way Samaritan’s Purse delivers the Gospel message to boys and girls around the world  who face difficult and heartbreaking circumstances.  Over the years, we have had the privilege of handing out shoe box gifts to children in over 130 countries.  Some of these youngsters have been traumatized by war, natural disasters, and loss of their families. The gift boxes serve as a reminder that God’s presence, and His everlasting love and comfort, are real and available to them.

Every boy and girl is precious in the eyes of the Lord, and we want children to know how much God loves them- so much so that He sent His Son Jesus- His greatest gift of all- to be their Savior.  Through our shoe box ministry and the follow-up discipleship program, millions of kids are coming to faith in Jesus Christ and experiencing transformed lives.  On behalf of these little ones, thanks to everyone who participated in Operation Christmas Child and helped make and eternal difference for the kingdom of heaven. Sincerely, Franklin Graham”

Wow, exciting isn’t it???  We are able to make an eternal difference in a child (or several children!) life by our deals and filling our boxes!  It makes me want to figure out a way to raise a lot more money and fill many more boxes before November 15th of this year…. yep, just might need to figure out a way to make that happen!

And if you are still with me, here is a story of just one of the young girls who received a shoe box.

“When a child’s life is turned upside down, moments of true delight seem rare and fleeting.  So when 11 – year old Amaica Clement recently received an Operation Christmas Child shoe box in Haiti, she welcomed having a reason to rejoice.

‘I never received anything like this before,’ she said.  ‘I was so happy because everything I had was destroyed in the earthquake.’

Amaica and her family lost more than their home and possessions in the quake that devastated Haiti last January.  Amaica’s sever-year-old sister was killed.  The grieving family was forced to live in a tent, sleeping on donated blankets, until Samaritan’s Purse built is first group of 50 wood-framed shelters, wrapped with the distinctive blue plastic sheeting that gave the community its nickname, the Blue Village.

The young girl joined hundreds of excited children who filled the sanctuary of Second Baptist Church in Titanyen for an Operation Christmas Child distribution in December.  Amaica’s box was filled with treasures. She received an orange jump rope, school supplies, hair ribbons and a stuffed animal.  The jump rope was her favorite gift, but she was also drawn to the colorful Gospel booklet she received, titled The Greatest Gift of All.

The illustrated booklet shares God’s plan of salvation, told by a father to his children, Nikola and Karin.

‘I like the stories because they teach me how to do things the right way, according to the Bible,’ she said. ‘And I like the story of Nikola, because he accepted Jesus, like I did.’

Amaica’s love for the Lord is an encouraging sign for Haiti, demonstrating the importance of child evangelism and reminding of us Christ’s words: ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ (Matthew 19:14, NIV)

She was among thousands of Haitian boys and girls who received Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts during the holiday season.  The gifts brought comfort and hope to these hurting children.

The shoe box gifts, now totally more than 85 million since Samaratin’s Purse launched the project in the United States in 1993, have been delivered to children in over 130 countries around the world. For many thrilled boys and girls like Amaica, the boxes are the first Christmas present they have every received!

Most importantly, these tangible expressions of God’s love open doors for us to introduce boys and girls to the real meaning of Christmas.  Millions of children have become faithful followers of Jesus and are encouraging their family and friends to journey with Him, too.”

Wow.

Anybody else excited about this as well?  Makes cruising down the Walmart clearance aisles a little more exciting to know that some of my frugalista finds will bless a child somewhere!

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