Everyone loves to hear 'good news'. And do we have good news for everyone! We are in the midst of packing hundreds of shoe boxes, filling them with all kinds of kid-friendly supplies, toys and suggested items. Each year we do this for boys and girls in over 100 countries at Christmastime. The Franklin Graham Ministries have been doing this for years.
Each year the excitement swells. From November 14-21 (noon), we are receiving boxes from many churches, schools, civic organizations and individuals, 'stuffed' for these poor children. Last week, we prayed over some 300 boxes as we packed them in an assembly line.
We will receive nearly 2,000 shoe boxes, stuff them into larger boxes (about 20 per box), seal them off and transport to the kind folks at First Baptist Church, Bossier City. They will "18-wheel" them (Roadway Trucking) to Atlanta. The boxes will be inspected, repacked and air-lifted to hundreds of countries for distribution. Throughout 2012, we will see clips of the boxes being placed in the hands of nearly a million children, and witness the POWER OF A SHOEBOX!
I know the power of a shoe box from personal experience. As a kid, each fall when shoes were bought, we would be very careful to keep the box safe until Christmas. We never hung stockings; Mama and Grandma didn't have enough extras and Daddy's socks had too many holes in them for seven children! So we'd line up the shoe boxes on Christmas Eve in hopes that something would be deposited by that fat jolly fella that was coming by. And sure enough, magic happened while we were sleeping, dreaming of snow that never came. On Christmas morning we climbed out from under those heavy quilts and ran to the 'front room' where the fire was ablaze! We were reminded of the power of that shoe box. It was full of special items few child likes to get (but are so practical, our mama said). There were socks, shoe strings, or handkerchiefs. Sometimes maybe an apple, orange, banana or hard candy was included. Maybe a cluster of dried raisins too! Oh, a toy from Morgan & Lindsey's! Yep, they were all stuffed into that one little shoe box. It was loaded with power!
So I am reminded of this each year when we begin collecting for the Operation Shoe Box Ministry. I know that if a poor kid here in America is overwhelmed by this, there is no comparison to to those in other countries when they open the shoe box stuffed just for them. There are age-appropriate toys, supplies, soap, toothbrush/paste, etc. In Atlanta (and 8 other processing centers around the country), salvation booklets in the language of intended children are placed on top before closing the lid. Some folks include a note or photo, asking the children to write them. And when those notes come back, we realize what a rewarding blessing this is.Many, through the years, have made commitments to Jesus and their lives have been changed through the 'power of this shoe box'. The $7 tucked in each box covers processing and shipping cost. We don't dare forget that! What a great blessing it is to minister is such a small way. Great blessings often come in small packages – even shoe boxes.