It’s that time of year; many of you are packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. If you haven’t picked up a shoebox yet, we still have some at OCC. They are due back by November 19th. There is something very attractive about the shoebox model. It is simple, it allows the whole family to participate – teaching children valuable lessons about generosity and the results are easy to see and to appreciate.
There is much more we can do. A shoebox with some inexpensive gifts is a great way to start to be aware of the bigger picture. The graphic to the right shows which countries Canadian shoeboxes will be going to. Last year, over 3000 shoeboxes were collected in Orillia, over 664,000 were sent from Canada.
Let me encourage you as you pack your shoebox to be praying for those who will receive a shoebox [you can pick up a prayer bookmark from the Operation Christmas Child table]. Tuesday’s prayer is “that God will use shoebox gifts to reach boys and girls as well as their friends, families, and communities.”
Let me stretch our vision… shoeboxes alone are not enough. When we reflect on our response to the Incarnation of the Son of God, let’s remember that:
- Today, 85% of the worlds Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus do not know a Christian believer.
- Even though the church is growing rapidly around the world, the population of the planet is growing even faster. In percentage terms, the Christian church is losing ground.
As we approach Christmas we remember that we are sent into the world to announce the Good News in the same way that the Father sent Christ to us.
- So yes, we can pack shoeboxes, knowing that Samaritan’s Purse will be involved with those children and families and communities to announce good news.
- But, we also want to take steps to ensure that the unreached people of the world, those who currently have no opportunity to hear about Jesus, can share the wonder of the gospel.
- This is why we pray and give and learn about the “A” people in eastern Ethiopia. Now 250 believers among the almost 2million people. There is now a monthly prayer guide for the “A” people… if you would like one, let us know.
- This is why we pray for and create opportunities to bless Carlos and Emily in Guatemala as they work with Casa Hogar, Manos de Misericordia, Jalapa, Guatemala.
There are many other things we could be and are considering launching in the near future. Short-term, inexpensive projects are good and helpful. But let’s keep the bigger picture in mind of seeing lives transformed, especially in those places where God has connected us to… places like Guatemala, Ethiopia and Uganda.