COMMUNITY CONNECTION: SPREADING THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS WORLDWIDE
WRITTEN BY: KATE HUFFMAN
There’s no denying that this year has been a difficult one for many, and the world desperately needs the love of Christ. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, charity organizations across the world are ramping up for what promises to be one of the most challenging Christmases ever.
One such organization is Operation Christmas Child, founded in the United Kingdom in 1990 by Dave and Jill Cooke. In 1993, they asked the president of Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, if he would be willing to contribute shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. With the help of Pastor Ross Rhoads and his congregation at Calvary Church of Charlotte, over 11,000 shoeboxes were packed in a matter of weeks. But thanks to additional gifts from Canada, over 28,000 shoebox gifts were shipped to Balkan children that Christmas!
Since then, Operation Christmas Child has continued to grow every year. In 2019 alone, more than 10.5 million Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts were collected throughout Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Since 1993, more than 178 million children in more than 150 countries have received a gift box through the project, which delivers not only the joy of what might be the first gift the child has ever received, but also a tangible expression of God’s love.
The ROP Shop and Outdoor Concepts recently had the privilege of participating in this wonderful program. On Thursday, November 5th, employees teamed up in shopping groups as part of the company-wide paid event, purchasing gifts which we then packed in boxes Samaritan’s Purse provided. Some of the items we packed included inflatable balls, air pumps, colored pencils with sharpeners, notepads, knitting or sewing kits, yoyos, playing cards, and essential clothing. Together we were able to fill 140 boxes!
It’s amazing to think that such a simple gesture can make a lasting impact in the life of a needy child and humbling to realize how many children have been reached by God’s love through us. However, many, many more children still need our help to be told the Good Word. Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child are extremely accessible charities across the United States. If you’re interested in sharing the light of Jesus across the world to children who might not receive it otherwise, please consider contributing. You can discover the many ways to get involved by visiting Operation Christmas Child.
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