Happy Week Before Thanksgiving!!
Where has this year gone?!?! It seems like we just moved to Arkansas and 9 months have already passed! How does that happen?!?!
Ok, before I get on topic, I feel compelled to get some random thoughts out of my head.
1) What was up with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniforms today??? Most of you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but think football player disguised as a bumblebee and that’s what I saw on TV today. I’m on the only NFL watcher in the Bluebird house, so I’ve been dying to have this conversation with someone all night. You’re the lucky someone.
2) Have you ever heard someone talk about their best self? I think that was a phrase made popular by Oprah – your best self. Well, I’ve found my best self and wanted to share with you . . .
My best self – tall and skinny. . . or at least skinnier than my real self. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and have been dying to share it with someone. I haven’t even let The Bald Eagle see it . . . but then again he already knows I’m crazy, so it would be lost on him.
I think those are the only things I’m dying to share, (I realize I used that phrase for both of those odds thoughts – probably not the most accurate choice of words :)). Except of course, for the actual topic, which is one of my favorite seasons of the year. Halloween is but a memory, and I lived through yet another birthday (stop them please!). Now we’re quickly sliding into Thanksgiving, but this week before Thanksgiving is a really cool week.
“Is it the beginning of duck hunting season?”, Khaki wants to know.
No! It’s National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that’s very dear to us in the Bluebird house. Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1993 with the help of individuals, churches and other organizations in 10 countries, OCC has sent over 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes all over the world to children age 2-14 desperate for hope. The shoebox is just the beginning. This simple gift enables missionaries across the globe to share the story of Jesus with children that may never learn of His saving grace if it wasn’t for these shoeboxes. I’m not going to use this space to preach, but it’s an amazing ministry that you can learn more about here – Operation Christmas Child
If you want to pack a shoebox this week, it’s this easy:
1. Get an empty shoebox or a plastic storage box the size of a shoebox that you can buy at most stores. You can wrap it if you want to, but it’s not required. If you do wrap it, please wrap the lid separately.
2. Decide if you want to pack your box for a boy or girl ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.
3. Fill the box with new gifts, such as school supplies, toys, stuffed animals, hygiene items, hard candy, gum, mints, T-shirts, socks, flip-flops, hats, sunglasses, hair clips and toy jewelry. If it fits in the box and you think a little kid would like it, pack it! DO NOT include used or damaged items, war-related items like toy guns, knives or military figures, play money, chocolate or food, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, aerosol cans or breakable items. You can find help on what to pack and what not to pack here. Gift Suggestions
4. Go to this website Follow Your Box to pay the suggested $7 per box donation to help the box get to its destination country. Through this link you can donate on-line and print out a bar code that will track your box so you know what country it goes to. The site is secure, but if you don’t want to donate on-line, you can simply place your donation check in an envelope in the inside of your box on top. Checks are recommended over cash and should be made payable to Samaritan’s Purse with Operation Christmas Child in the memo line.
5. If you didn’t choose to donate on-line, you still need a label for your box with the gender and age category marked so it gets to the right child. You can download your label to print here. How to Pack a Shoe Box If you don’t have access to a printer, you can get a label at your drop-off site.
6. Find a drop-off site convenient to you here Drop-off sites. Most drop-off sites are open until 11/25 – times and dates for each site are published at the drop-off site link.
If you’re simply too busy to shop, fill and drop off a shoebox right now, for a suggested donation of $30 you can pack a box online here – Build a Shoebox Online You choose from a menu of times what you want your box to be filled with and Operation Christmas Child volunteers will pack the box for you. Simple as that!
I’m now a year-round volunteer for OCC, and we’ve also volunteered several times at the processing centers where these boxes go after the drop-off site and before they go to their destination countries, and I can absolutely say:
1) The contents of the box do have to be inspected so there are no issues with customs, but OCC strongly believes that what you meant for the receiving child to have in that box should stay in the box. Nothing is taken out of or added to your box unless there’s something from the DO NOT INCLUDE list in your box. I’ve seen boxes with baby dolls in it yet the box is marked for a boy. That box stays marked for a boy and is given to a boy because we believe God knows what the child that’s going to receive that gift needs, and we’re not going to let human logic get in the way. We’ve heard amazing stories of how things you would never think a child needs ended up in a shoebox and made its way to a child who really desperately needed those items. It’s a God thing!
2) 100% of the children that receive these boxes love them. Our children are often so spoiled we can’t image how a jump rope, some crayons, coloring book, toothpaste and a toothbrush can change a child’s life, but for children in orphanages and villages that have absolutely nothing, this is a gift of hope and love that’s indescribable. For some children, just to have something colorful in their very dark, dirty world is amazing. Never underestimate the power of the small things you’re putting in this box.
3) The candy will be eaten and the toys will wear out, but the message of God’s love that was given with that shoebox will stay with that child forever. They will also receive a storybook about Jesus’s life in their language when they receive their shoebox. Many people include a picture of their family and a letter in the shoebox. Let your kids draw a picture and put it in the box. Include your name and address and you just might get a letter back from the child that received your box.
Last thing I’ll share is this video ( Warning – you may need tissues). Sorry for the long link – youtube is kind of difficult to link to – but if you click on it you should see the video. If not, go to www.youtube.com and search for Operation Christmas Child A Lot Like Christmas and watch the first video that comes up.
Shoebox season or not, I hope you all have a very merry Thanksgiving next week! Don’t eat too much turkey!
Baby Bluebird – aka Dayna