What does the number 12,800 mean to you? How about adding a personal connection to that number? 12,800 people — lives — potentially about to be changed, each due to a simple shoebox. November, all across the country, means Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection time, and in Allen County, the 2017 goal is 12,800 boxes. Hundreds of churches, families, and individuals are taking part, and there’s one area church that’s been working on their shoebox project all year: Union Chapel.
Operation Christmas Child: A Year Long Mission
Pastor Mark Bayliff is pastor of Union Chapel Missionary Church. He says the church members divided the needs of the boxes into 12 individual months. Each month church members would bring a specific item, like school supplies or toothbrushes. One month was designated to donate the money needed for the shipping costs.
That 12 months of planning culminated into one night of high energy packing. The entire gymnasium was filled with everything from the “Wow Toys” to clothing items. But also, something much more than just material items: dozens of people participating in the act of giving back, giving out, helping someone who has a need by packing simple items into shoeboxes.
Getting Kids Involved
Tucker was one of the many kids who took part in the packing party. He said the idea of giving to kids who don’t get gifts inspired him to be involved.
Mikaya enjoyed realizing she was making the life better for someone her own age.
Ella spent part of her evening writing a letter to her shoebox recipient, and looks forward to receiving a response.
The Most Important Thing
Toys, soap, school supplies, personal letters, all filled box after box. But one more very important item was packed inside each box: prayer.
“We can pack the boxes and send them off,” said Union Chapel OCC Event Coordinator Jamie Horn, “but only God can connect the right child to the right box and we pray for that very thing to happen.”
To the members of Union Chapel, prayer was so important that several times the packing routine came to a halt. The entire group gathered together in prayer, asking God’s blessing, guidance, and influence on those who would receive these gifts.
Making a Difference
Union Chapel’s shoebox goal this year was 1,000 boxes. That’s one thousand children, in line to receive special gifts, including the opportunity to accept the gift of eternal life.
5 things we get by serving others
Jesus instructs us to lead through servant leadership. When we obey His commands there are things that we get out of it. Learn what those are in our free guide.Download our guide here