A heart that is filled with gratitude is a heart that wants to give.
It gives of its time, resources, encouragement, love.
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas are probably the two times of the year when people seem to be more aware of those around them who are less fortunate.
There are a number of ways to be a blessing to others.
~food pantry collections and distribution opportunities.
~serving meals at a local homeless shelter
~providing gifts for the elderly at nursing homes
~preparing food baskets for families who may be struggling financially
These are just a few ways to make a difference, but the list can be long if we just look beyond the walls of our homes.
One of the ways our family has found to be very helpful to others is through a ministry known as Operation Christmas Child or OCC. It is an organization that has grown immensely in the last 25 years since it first began. The founder, Franklin Graham, had no idea that the tiny seed that God planted in his heart to bless needy children, would grow into a worldwide ministry.
It is such a simple idea really. All you need is a shoebox and a giving heart! Seriously!
You simply fill a shoebox with any number of things that children in other countries are in need of. Toys, toiletries, clothing, shoes, socks, toothbrushes, hairbrushes and combs, coloring books, school supplies. A complete list of ideas is available on the website for Samaritan’s purse.
Once you have filled your box, you simply take it to a drop off center that is local to your area. Locations are listed on their website.
Our family has been a part of OCC for quite some time. Our children and now our grandchildren have been selecting items and packing boxes for many years. Children love picking out items for other children their age.
Here is the amazing part! Every child who receives a gift shoebox is also given a Bible tract with the Gospel message in their native language. They also have an opportunity to enroll in an amazing discipleship program for children known as The Greatest Journey. As a result of this ongoing twelve-week program, four children somewhere in the word give their life to Jesus every minute of the day.
Four children a minute receive SALVATION!
All because someone from another part of the world took the time to pack a shoebox!!
If you check out the Samaritan’s Purse website, you can watch or read testimonies of people who, as a child in a foreign country, once received a shoe box that changed their lives forever. Now they too are a part of OCC in various positions.
Our church is very involved in OCC. Once again, this year we have been blessed with the opportunity to be a blessing to children we may never meet this side of heaven.
These photos give a tiny glimpse into just how amazing the ministry work behind OCC really is. If you are interested in sharing the love of God and giving some joy to a child, it is not too late.
You still have time to pack a shoebox!!
Drop off sites are listed on the Samaritan’s Purse website and I bet there is one near you. Collections for the shoeboxes are being taken through November 19th!
Just one last thing while we are talking about children. I think this will warm your heart and put a smile on your face. If you go to my website, my most recent blog is filled with actual quotes regarding thankfulness by children ages three years to ten years of age. I think you will be inspired and leave with a reminder that we truly do have so much to be thankful for each day. And remember…
A heart that is filled with gratitude is a heart is a heart that wants to give!