They gathered in a big circle.  They had just finished Bible school where many of them understood for the first time what the blood of Jesus meant and the power of His love.  Now in front of them stood a huge pallet full of beautifully wrapped gifts.  After a few songs and a prayer, we began to hand out the gifts one by one, trying to guess their age as each package was labeled with a boy or girl sticker and an appropriate age.  We counted down and when we reached zero…they began to unwrap that pretty paper to find boxes full of toys, toothbrushes, candy and clothes.  Having never seen some of these things, my husband knelt down and showed one boy how to fly his new toy airplane and another boy how to tie his very first tie!  And I went from one child to another trying my best to capture on my camera what was happening before me.  Even now as I write this, it seems like a dream – one of those surreal experiences that didn’t really happen to us.  But it did.  In 2012, my husband and I were on a trip to Liberia visiting one of our dearest friends, and we were able to help with an Operation Christmas Child shoe box distribution.

Operation Christmas Child is a program run by one of my favorite organizations, Samaritan’s Purse.  In short, Operations Christmas Child is a program where people grab their old shoe boxes and fill them with gifts for children all over the world!  They can be gifts from soccer balls to new shoes to toothbrushes and toothpaste.  These boxes are then shipped ALL over, and I mean ALL over the world and handed out to children who have probably never received a Christmas gift before.  Pretty awesome right?  But what’s even cooler about these shoeboxes is that they are just a part of what Samaritan’s Purse does as an organization, and together these shoeboxes can truly be the key to helping them unlock unreached communities to share with them the amazing love of Jesus.

These shoe boxes have a history in our marriage, starting all the way back on our wedding day.  Instead of wedding gifts, we asked our guests to bring Operation Christmas Child boxes.  In the flurry of the wedding day we weren’t even able to catch a glimpse at the gift table but later when we returned home after our honeymoon, we found almost 70 boxes waiting for us!  With joy, we loaded up the car and dropped them off at our local collection site.  Every Christmas since, we have continued the tradition of going to the basement, grabbing a box, and heading to the store.  As we wander the aisles looking for the perfect gift, it’s hard not to remember that circle of children and that pallet of boxes and wondering who will open our box this year?  This week is collection week and we wrapped up our boxes last night.  They sit on the kitchen table ready to go!  May the love of Jesus go before these boxes and continue to overwhelm the hearts of children throughout the world.


Creatyd Blog - Northwest Iowa Photographer


If you want to pack a box or want to learn more about Operation Christmas Child click HERE.