Thank you to the citizens of Thompson – 154 shoeboxes were filled for Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization which is based on the Good Samaritan story in the Bible. Recently Samaritan’s Purse has been providing supplies to the Ukraine — winter items such as blankets, food, solar lighting, tarps and plastic sheets to cover torn roofs and broken windows. In Canada, they offered support in the Atlantic provinces during the hurricane.
Thompson First Baptist Church has been the collection centre for Operation Christmas Child for a number of years. We have had the privilege of knowing people in our congregation who have given out boxes and received boxes in their home countries. Several have participated in checking boxes in Calgary and many have taken part in our annual “packing party” where we turn the church kitchen into a store and pack as many boxes as we can. Each box contains some hygiene items, school supplies and fun things – a puzzle, a ball or a stuffy. Each box will be a gift for a boy or girl and will bless them with much-needed hope.
This year, Canada’s boxes are going to West Africa and New Guinea. When a child is given a box they are given an invitation to attend a 12-week discipleship class. Many choose to come and it is life-changing for them. There are wonderful stories of gang leaders becoming youth pastors and villages starting churches — all because of a simple shoe box.
My favourite story is of a girl in war-torn Bosnia. She was to go to a party at school but did not want to go because her shoes were torn and her dad had wired them back together. She did go and was standing at the back of the classroom when her teacher called her to the front and gave her a shoebox. She opened it and looked at the items inside and at the bottom of her box was a new pair of running shoes in her size! “Who gave me this box?” she cried. “Jesus did” her teacher replied. Now this girl is grown and circumstances have changed. She packs shoeboxes with her children. We are called to be Jesus’ hands and feet and this is one way to help.
Operation Christmas Child in Thompson is very grateful for its partners CHTM and the Thompson Public Library for being pickup and dropoff locations, and to Maple Bus Lines for picking up and transporting the boxes to Winnipeg free of charge. These partners have been helping for years and often contact me before I get to calling them. We are so grateful for their continued promotion and support of this program. Without them, Operation Christmas Child could not be successful.
Next year, pack a box and, if you want to be more involved like having a pickup/dropoff location, contact Laura Carter at 204-677-8965.