Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries around the world, and this Sunday, November 19, First Baptist Church hopes to collect another 500 shoeboxes to add to that number. If you’re unfamiliar with this program, I want to help encourage you to participate by sharing some information from Samaritan’s Purse about what your simple gift can accomplish.
Shares the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As shoebox gifts are distributed, local pastors or church leaders present the gospel in a fun way designed for kids while family and friends listen in. Along with their shoebox gift, children also receive The Greatest Gift, a colorful presentation of the gospel in their own language.
Blesses children with joy, hope, and love.
Their shoebox is the first gift many children have ever received! The treasures and personal letters inside communicate that someone cares about them and gives them an opportunity to experience the love of God.
Gives a church an effective outreach tool.
Local churches use gift-filled shoeboxes as a tangible inroad for evangelism. The shoebox gifts allow them access to places they might never be welcomed otherwise.
Makes disciples through the local church.
After receiving shoebox gifts, boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program. They learn from trained local volunteers what it means to faithfully follow Christ and share their faith with others.
Multiplies as children share their faith with friends and family.
Even before The Greatest Journey course is over, students begin witnessing to others. Then at graduation, the gospel is shared with their friends and family again. The graduates also receive a New Testament to use personally and in communicating their faith to others.
Grows congregations and plants new churches worldwide.
Through the efforts of local believers, entire communities are being evangelized as shoebox gifts are delivered. Some of these areas do not have any existing church.
But none of this can happen without believers like you taking the time to lovingly fill a shoebox, knowing that it will be used as a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship to reach children and families throughout the world. To read stories from children who have received shoeboxes, see how to pack a box, and get age-appropriate gift ideas, go to www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child. I look forward to seeing you — and your shoebox — this Sunday.
— Josh Hall