Operation Christmas Child 2020

Every year we’re blessed enough to be a part of Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan’s Purse. This year, we were able to send out 20 shoeboxes with the help of a few of our family members. We sent out nine girls, three of each category (2-4, 5-9, 10-14), and nine boys, three of each category (2-4, 5-9, 10-14). Well, actually, we did 5 10-14-year-old boys.

Because each box needs a 9-dollar shipping fee to get all around the world, we always try to deduct that from the initial cost of the box. When we do shoeboxes, it may be just a little different than other people. As many of The HoldToHope Family members are located outside of the U.S., we buy the gifts on behalf of them. First, we total up how many shoeboxes each person wants to do. Then we wrap and pack the shoeboxes for them and send them out. So, we let them know when it’s shoebox time, when the money is due, and the amount of money due. We found that 30 KYD (36.58 US) per shoebox was a perfect sweet spot to include the 9-dollar shipping fee, which left $27.58 for the gifts.

After we buy everything needed for the shoebox, anyone who wants to pick out the items for their shoeboxes video calls us, and we pack the shoebox together. After everyone who wants to choose their items for their shoebox, we then choose our items for our shoeboxes. Then finally, we finish packing all of the shoeboxes and buy all of the labels.

This year our shoeboxes included two WOW items, some underwear and socks, hairbrushes and hair clips for the girls, a little bag they can hold all of their stuff in, a cute little cup, a few tiny toys, and school supplies. We also have each person choose a verse to send to the child in their shoebox as well as a photo of them. Each shoebox also included an envelope for the picture and verse, as well as a poem that one of our family members found last year, and we decided to include one in every shoebox ever since.

Lately, Operation Christmas Child has been getting some heat because, along with the shoebox, they give the children the hope of Jesus. I find it interesting that telling children who are hopeless that there is a God in Heaven who loves them and died for them is offensive, wrong, and no longer belongs in our society. Newsboys released a song in 2015 called Guilty. In the song, they wrote these lyrics:

When did it become breaking a rule
To say your name out loud in school
When your name’s the only one that sets us free
When did it become incorrect
To speak the truth about life and death
When your life gave us all eternity

I thought those lyrics really captured the world today. They continued writing:

If serving you’s against the law of man
If living out my faith in you is banned
Then I’ll stand right before the jury
If saying I believe is out of line
If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life
To show the world the love that fills me
Then I want to be guilty

This year has shown us that times are coming when we can no longer be neutral. We can no longer be lukewarm. Time is coming when we have to choose who we’re going to serve. More and more, the world has tried to take away our right to worship our God and share the love of God with others. These aren’t just shoeboxes filled with material things; these shoeboxes are filled with hope in a hopeless world. One day will come when those lyrics that Newsboys wrote will be our reality. If we can’t share the love of God with people while we’re free, how will we be able to share the love of God with people when we’re no longer free?

Don’t just give a shoebox to someone filled with material things, because those things won’t last. Give someone a shoebox filled with hope and the everlasting love of God. We’ve chosen whom we serve, have you?

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