Raising kids in a self-absorbed culture is hard work. I’m an imperfect mom who sometimes has great ideas and sometimes struggles with my own selfishness. One of the best ways to keep us all focused on what matters – loving God and love people – is serving others.
Thankfully, there are ways to do that and existing ministries to partner with. We don’t have to reinvent anything here. We just have to be willing to come alongside those things we are called to be part of. Of course, what I believe I’m called to be part of may not be the same thing you’re called to do – and that’s okay.
But I wanted to use my blog space today to share one way you can serve, if you’re looking for an opportunity to give to others.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, demonstrates God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, shares the Good News of Jesus Christ. We collect and send simple shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to children affected by war, poverty, disaster, famine, and disease. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children in more than 150 countries and territories.
My two big kids are 9 and almost 7. They’ve been packing shoe boxes each fall for long enough that they know when we buy extra toothbrushes and school supplies what’s happening. I like creating that kind of tradition with our family and community.
Serving others helps us focus beyond ourselves. Operation Christmas Child is one way to do that.
Our church has long been a supporter of Samaritan’s Purse – both through packing and sending shoe boxes as well as other relief efforts. But this year we are doing things a little bit differently. One lady is our church has become more involved with Samaritan’s Purse and has shared many create ideas, including collecting items for shoe boxes well in advance of the November packing party we’ve traditionally had. During recent months, we’ve focused on collecting on particular thing. August was for school supplies. In September, we brought in “wow” items, like soccer balls and dolls. Most recently, we’ve collected plastic bowls and cups along with silverware.
National Collection Week is Nov. 14-21. You can find a list of where shoe boxes are collected in your town right here. If you’ve never packed a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child before, here are some helpful links to get you started …
How to pack a shoe box
The Greatest Journey follow-up study
Coloring/info sheets to include with boxes
We have a packing party planned at the beginning of November. Typically it’s been organized chaos and we’re shooting for a little more organization this year with stations for each of the types of items and then people – including kids! – can move around the room and fill their boxes for boys and girls who will receive necessities, toys, and a gospel message.
Have you packed shoe boxes before? How do you incorporate giving into your family life?
Speaking of giving, I have something to give two of you! I’ve got two copies of Crowder’s new “American Prodigal” CD plus a signed vinyl of his “Run Devil Run” single. You’ve got through tomorrow (Thursday, Oct. 13) to enter to win, so come on over to do that! Be sure to subscribe so you can stay informed of fun stuff around here.