Each year Foothills has had the privilege of working with Operation Christmas Child (OOC). This great organization has blessed so many lives, everything from giving them hope in desperate situations at orphanages to receiving a GIFT for the first time from someone.
Through this program, Kerry Willams has been deeply involved in coordinating this project and see’s first hand what OOC does. We thought what better way than to see how amazing OOC is than to hear it from Kerry. Below are just some of the stories Kerry is sharing with Foothills.
This year there was a lady that had always wanted a doll of her own, one that she would not have to share with her sisters. When it was time to got their boxes her brother got the doll by accident instead. She had been praying for a doll and when her brother got it she felt like God was teaching her how to pray, what to pray for, and what not to pray for. When she counted the items in her box, over and over again, she was so proud and happy that someone cared enough to send her a gift even though they didn’t know her, but somehow knew a child’s desire to feel loved.
The Generous Giver
Each year, I have a lady, who does not attend our church, that brings 100 boxes. These boxes are so incredibly packed with love and goodies. Each box is wrapped with Christmas paper and on the inside has shoes, clothes, and everything to make a child extremely happy. She is a believer, but to my knowledge does not attend church anywhere. This is her ministry, collecting items all year long to go in her boxes. She has such joy about it.
Dedicating a Box
A couple of years ago, I had a mom and a little girl come in to drop off a couple of boxes. The mom seemed a bit distracted and sad. The little girl (about 5 years old) was hopping all over the place. I always ask the people who drop off boxes if there is anything I can pray for them about. The mom said, yes. “Some dear friends of ours just lost a child. We are dedicating our boxes in honor of her life, and hoping we make a difference in another little girl’s life.”
More About Operation Christmas Child
I have about 15 volunteers who help in one capacity or another at our church. Each year, some folks just drop off bags of crayons, toys, toiletry items, etc and don’t pack a box. I gather all these things together and have extra empty boxes on hand and each year God sees that these are filled to the last items. It’s all in His hands and He does a wonderful job of making sure everything works out perfectly.
Most people can’t afford to go on a mission trip across the world, but they can afford to be a missionary in a box, and spread the gospel with a simple gift in honor of THE CHRISTMAS CHILD, Jesus. God knows where each box is going and what impact it is going to have. We have to trust it to His perfect will. I think people believe these boxes are all delivered at Christmas time but in most cases they are delivered from Christmas all the way through the spring and early summer.
For the past three years, our church has operated a relay center the week of collections, nationwide. Prior to that for about 4 years, the student ministry participated. Since we became a relay center (there are quite a few valley wide) the entire church has been welcome to participate.
I operate out of the student building and people, churches, and organizations from all over the area bring their boxes to us. We get them ready for the big cartons. From here, a group of men from church take the giant cartons to Grace Community Center where they are loaded onto 18 wheelers. From there, they go to Orange County California where they are inspected and then shipped all over the world. We usually collect about 325 from our church family and a total of about 1,800 to 2,000 at our church from other organizations. Our goal for Arizona this year is 25,000 shoeboxes.