Pray for the Shoeboxes

by Pamela Blankenship


Do you know that in only 84 days we will be celebrating Christmas? Christmas! In 84 days! The thought of Christmas may bring about a variety of feelings – excitement, panic, peace, hope, joy. Certainly, as a mother with a child who has already begun a daily countdown, for me, the thought of Christmas brings a bit of panic and pressure upon my shoulders, but, also, excitement. Definitely excitement. Each year about this time, we start talking about and making plans for Operation Christmas Child (OCC).


Zion’s Sunday School – ages preschool through 12th Grade – have been coming together each year for more than 5 years to pack shoeboxes for this special mission. Hopefully, you are familiar with OCC, but maybe you’re not. OCC is a ministry that delivers shoeboxes filled with gifts for children around the world. Along with the shoeboxes children will hear the message of Jesus and His love for them. Each year, shoeboxes are packed with items donated by the people of our congregation. Prior to Pack Day, donations are sorted, boxes are built, labels are made. On Pack Day, children come together, watch a video about the kids who will receive the shoeboxes, pray together and pack, pack, pack.


You may be thinking, “Why are we being asked to give donations for another collection? Why are WE doing this?”. Well, it’s a mission that I’m passionate about for several reasons…

First, when I was acting Sunday School Superintendent I searched for ways that the Sunday School children could be involved in volunteering, sharing Jesus or helping others, I found there were not a lot of opportunities for young children. But, packing a shoebox (and sharing Jesus with kids their age from around the world) was something they could do!


Second, our kids are passionate about this event! One year, when planning started too late, we had several discussions about whether we should continue with OCC. My oldest daughter was adamant that we could not give up on this mission. At the time, I offered that we, as a family, could still each pack a shoebox, but she was unrelenting in her belief that we, as a church, as a Sunday School, should come together to pack shoeboxes. She had and still has a great passion for this mission.


And, most importantly, we can share Jesus with children around the world. We can reach so many more by coming together with OCC. As someone who loves to travel and is always happy to plan a trip to just about anywhere, I can say with some level of certainty that I will never travel to Ukraine, Mongolia or Uganda. How could I share Jesus with someone in one of these locations? Operation Christmas Child is a way that I can do that. And, let me be clear, I do not want to take credit for this mission. This is God’s mission, God’s reach, God’s plan. We are just his instruments.


Our Pack Day this year is November 3rd. Donations are being accepted now and can be dropped off in the Atrium by October 27th. This year we are in need of toys, school supplies, accessories and $9 shipping costs.


Whether you make a donation or not, please pray for this mission and our efforts with it. I know it sounds weird, but each year on Pack Day we pray for the shoeboxes. We pray that each box will be filled with items that are needed by the child who receives it. We pray for the journey of the shoebox and all individuals who will have a part in getting the shoebox to a child. We pray that the shoebox will be a tool in a child hearing God’s message. Please join us in prayer.