On 6 May 2017, Tabernacle Baptist Church on Broad Street in New Bern, NC hosted an Operational Christmas Child Workshop. It was well attended since over 50 people were in the auditorium. There was plenty of food that was available as well. The workshop had one main session with many breakout sessions to enable each person to focus on the area that most interested them. The purpose of the shoebox ministry is to “introduce people to God through a simple gift” – a quote from Franklin Graham.
Stephanie Seymour, Eastern Carolina’s Regional Coordinator, kicked off the workshop and said that one of her goals is to engage more churches – more churches means more shoeboxes. Also, she wants people to transition from “what if we packed one more box” to “what if we gave a gift to one more child to about Jesus”? While on a distribution trip, she was amazed how grateful people were to have a simple gift and to hear the Word. The Carolina’s last year were responsible for giving over 900,000 gifts last year, which accounted for 10% of the shoe boxes given by the United States (9.1M). There were over 11.4M boxes given last year and there were children still that did not receive a box! So, the new goal for the Carolinas this year is to give 900,060 boxes to try and reach more children.
This year toothpaste, candy, and other such items will NOT be allowed in the shoeboxes. Customs in various countries are objecting and making it more expensive, if not almost impossible, to get the boxes to the children. Stephanie said her husband is a dentist and if he had to choose on a deserted island between a toothbrush, toothpaste, or dental floss, he’d choose the dental floss every time. How much does dental floss mean? On one trip, a child got the dental floss. He thought Americans were strange with their candy and used the entire roll, thinking it was the greatest gift of candy he’d ever received! Something so simple.
There is a new online site that Operation Christmas Child has that enables you to follow your shoe box. The suggested donation for shipping is going from $7 to $9 this year but when you think of how much it pays for the increase is really not much at all. The ministry accepts all shoebox gifts whether or not the shipping donation is included. The ministry asks each person packing a shoebox to pray for guidance and honors the shoebox as it was packed (although forbidden items, such as war toys, will be removed).
For more information, visit SamaritansPurse.org/operation-christmas-child/follow-your-box/.
There are two more workshops scheduled. One workshop is in Goldsboro, nearby, on 19 August from 0900am – 1200pm. The other is July 15th in Richlands First Baptist Church from 0930am – 1200pm. This is such a blessing to hear and learn how this simple gift impacts those that receive and how much you receive by giving one, or more, shoe boxes. For more information about this please contact:
Stephanie Seymore – Goldsboro Workshop, OCC Regional Area Coordinator, Lower Eastern NC & Goldsboro, Operation Christmas Child/Samaritans Purse at 252-349-8261
Linda Worrell – Richlands Workshop
At the workshop, some of the quotes heard are:
“This is a very simple way to share the gospel. Everyone in the family can participate. Not everyone can be a missionary and travel, but everyone can be a missionary by sharing the gospel through a simple shoe box. The entire family, from youngest to oldest, can participate in this ministry”
“I would say that you get more from giving a shoe box than you give – giving this simple gift is its own reward.”
“All around the world many children cannot go to school so packing a box with school supplies so they can go to make sure they get an education and learn about Jesus and have some fun things as well is what I would say.”
Submitted by: Patti Mason