Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a nationally recognized ministry opportunity that was started by Franklin Graham through his role as President of Samaritan’s Purse (https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/about-us/). The mission of OCC is to provide God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with local churches worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. I want to explain to you the history of OCC so that you can understand why this ministry is so important in doing God’s work.
History of OCC
In the summer of 1993, Franklin Graham received a phone call from a man in England asking if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. Franklin agreed, but since Christmas was months away, he eventually forgot about the promise. Around Thanksgiving of that year Franklin received a call back from this same man asking about the gifts. Realizing he only had a short time to fulfill his promise, Franklin recruited the help of a pastor friend and his congregation who, after just a few short weeks, had filled 11,000 shoeboxes. With additional gifts from Canada, Samaritan’s Purse was able to send 28,000 shoeboxes to children in the Balkans that Christmas. This is how Operation Christmas Child began and since 1993 more than 186 million children in more than 160 countries and territories have been blessed with an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. Beginning in 2009, a follow-up discipleship course entitled The Greatest Journey has been taught to children who receive the shoeboxes. Since that time, 26.5 million children have enrolled in the program and more than 12.5 million of these boys and girls have decided to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Ways You Can Be Involved
You can help support this ministry in many ways, from shopping for items to making items to providing monetary donations. The opportunities are endless! Garage sales, thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, and store sales are just a few of the great ways to purchase items for the shoeboxes. Dollar General has great sales at the end of every season/holiday and are usually 50% – 70% off the original price. These specials are rarely advertised publicly but can be found by shopping at the store – just look for the orange clearance tags.
Suggested List of Items to Include in Shoeboxes
Here is a non-inclusive list of items that can be included in the shoeboxes: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/what-goes-in-my-shoebox-suggestions/.
There are a few items that cannot be sent: candy; toothpaste; gum; damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
List of Items for Just As I Am Cowboy Church Shoeboxes
Just As I Am Cowboy Church is planning to fill 300 shoeboxes this year. Not everything on the item list provided by OCC must go into the shoeboxes. Below is a list of items that I would like to include in our shoeboxes. Items with an astrisk are items that I would like to include in every box, therefore we would need 300 of that item. All other items are just fillers that do not need to go into every box.
∗WOW item (can be a ball, baby doll, stuffed animal, clothing, small musical instrument)
∗Toothbrush w/cap (this item has already been provided)
∗Bar of soap (preferably Ivory soap as it floats, but we will accept any brand)
∗Plate, bowl, and blunt-edged utensils
∗First Aid kit (adhesive bandages, cotton balls, Q-tips, alcohol wipes)
∗Crayons and coloring book
∗Beanie Baby (these have already been provided)
Hair bows, barrettes, scrunchies, headbands
Comb or hairbrush
∗Hats and gloves
Shoes, flip-flops, socks
Jewelry – bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces
∗Clothing (one outfit per child)
∗Small Toys (cars, yo-yo’s, marbles, small frisbee, plastic tools, plastic animals, etc.)
Flashlight – solar or battery-operated
Personal hygiene kit for 10-14 girls (nail clipper, file, deodorant, compact mirror, lip balm)
Sewing kit for 10-14 girls
Fishing kit for 5-9 and 10-14 boys (these are being provided by the Fishers of Men group of JAIA Cowboy Church)
Contents for Kits
Sewing Kit – rather than purchasing all of the items individually, I have decided that we could purchase a sewing kit already prepared and then add to it any item that is missing. Dollar General has a small kit for $1 that includes thread, needles, needle threader, scissors, and a pin cushion. We can add safety pins, straight pins, measuring tape, etc.
First Aid Kit – I would like to see a first aid kit to include cotton balls, Q-tips, alcohol wipes, adhesive bandages (Band-Aids, gauze, etc.), clippers. This can be put into a ziplock bag or a pouch of some sort.
Personal Hygiene Kit for Girls – sanitary pads, wet and dry pouch, nail clippers, file, chapstick, compact mirror, deodorant
Collection Dates and Packing Parties
Collection of items will be year-round, and I am hoping to have a packing party around the middle to end of October. Once packed, the shoeboxes will be taken to Centralia First Baptist Church where they will then be transported to a processing center and prepared for international shipping.
The Most Important Part of Packing A Shoebox….
If you feel led to be involved in this ministry in any way, please contact Lisa McCubbins at 573-473-7480 or by email at [email protected]. She will be more than happy to visit with you about this wonderful opportunity. There is also a Facebook page specifically for this ministry. It can be found at Just As I Am Cowboy Church Operation Christmas Child Ministry https://www.facebook.com/Just-As-I-Am-Cowboy-Church-Operation-Christmas-Child-Ministry-101385765318873. Follow this page for updated information on sales, purchases, and items to make. Feel free to post any of your purchases, questions, or comments.
It’s cool outside but the sun peeking through the clouds gives just enough warmth to make one wonder if they need a jacket or not. Trucks with boats attached are sitting in a row awaiting drivers to guide them to their appointed destiny. Poles adorn each boat with lines stretched tight with their ends slightly bend as if bowing in honor of their majestic leader yet to appear. Suitcases are packed, essentials are loaded and the final word is passed among all present to load up, it’s time to role. It’s March 14th 2021 when the 3 hour Journey to Climax Springs Missouri begins. This is the day members of Fishers of Men have been waiting for, as the next day is opening day for snagging. Each vehicle is filled with laughter and bragging stories that make the 3 hour trip seem short. The caravan rolls into the Lazy Dayz Resort in Climax Springs about 4 pm with fishermen anticipating snagging and shoppers looking forward to a festive day of shopping. The first glimpse of the lake, with its clear blue water, leaves onlookers speechless. The accommodations are exactly what the Fishers of Men members had in mind. The unpacking begins; meals are prepared and sleep for all will round out the evening. Opening day of snagging holds the promise of giant spoonbill and fellowship for the fishermen. Carl starts the day with a big spoonbill while others follow with several more that definitely make it a prosperous day. The total number for the first day was 12 in all. The first day was topped by the 80 pounder caught the second day. Pastor Steve got his spoonbill, funny, never saw Pastor Steve smile like that before. Oh yes, let’s not forget, the ladies had a ball shopping for items that will fill the boxes for the ministry, Operation Christmas Child. I believe it was rumored that the Dollar General Sore inventory was depleted. Maybe that was just a rumor, not really sure about that. The kids and a few adults, enjoyed time in the swimming pool and the hot tub. By the end of the second day a total of 26 spoonbill filled their coolers. All members were excited about their successful snagging trip. Everyone was hungry, happy and ready for sleep. The third day was hampered by rain so an early departure was planned. The trip was a resounding success and a future trip has already crossed the minds of everyone. They say Christians can’t have fun but for those who accept this scenario, I say the answer is in the trip. I do and have always believed that Christians should be the happiest people in the world. God loves those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior and I believe He blesses them richly even with a snagging trip.