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Operation Christmas Child: Troy site an official 2008 collection center

Operation Christmas Child: Troy site an official 2008 collection center

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:28 pm

  Obion County residents will find it easy to bring joy to hurting children around the world this year.

For the fifth year, Troy First Baptist Church will serve as an official collection center for Operation Christmas Child, the shoebox gift ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.

Local participants will enjoy the convenience of having a nearby drop-off site for the shoeboxes they fill with toys and necessity items for children living in areas of crisis. The boxes will be transported to countries all over the world from the Obion County area.

The opportunity to help this cause locally is fast approaching. The national collection week for 2008 is set for the third week of November (Nov. 17-24). Troy First Baptist Church at 519 East Harper St. will serve as the Obion County area’s main shoebox drop-off center. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Nov. 23.

Participants are asked to bring their packed shoeboxes as early in the week as possible to ease the shipping and logistics.

For more information or to schedule an appointment time outside the listed hours, contact J.K. Jones of Troy at 335-1749.

In addition, participants may contact Dolores Brand from Bible Union Baptist Church in Martin at (731) 364-2911 if that drop-off location is more convenient for them.

Volunteers are also needed now to help prepare for the hundreds of shoeboxes expected to be donated from area residents.

“There’s no better way for us to share the true meaning of Christmas — the love of Jesus Christ,” Jones said.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed more than 58 million shoebox gifts to children in 134 countries suffering from war, poverty, famine and natural disaster.

Here’s how Operation Christ-mas Child works: Volunteers fill shoeboxes with small toys, candy, school supplies and hygiene items for needy children. Samaritan’s Purse then delivers the gift-filled boxes with Christian literature to children living all over the world.

Jones, Northwest Tennessee Area team leader for Operation Christmas Child, was invited to distribute shoeboxes earlier this year in Lima, Peru. The distributions were coordinated by a National Leadership Team in Peru. There is a team in each country that organizes the distributions of the shoeboxes, which enables teams to work effectively with local churches, orphanages and missions groups which are most in need of help.

“During the first week of February, I had the opportunity to distribute shoe boxes outside the city of Lima, Peru, in the poorest areas,” Jones said. “Most of the homes and buildings are not yet finished and much of the area does not have running water and water is brought in by truck. The local believers need our help and they can follow up with the children. The churches often grow by many members after a distribution and they are able to disciple children who 

 

place their faith in Christ.

“Something that personally touched me on my trip was to see some of the letters from the shoeboxes being read and passed around by the children. I noticed one girl named Yohana who was passing around a slip of paper to several of her friends seated near her. I walked closer and saw she was looking at a letter someone had placed in the box they had packed. A picture of a girl in a softball uniform was stapled to the letter. A lady on our team from Orange County, Calif., walked over and took the letter and translated the letter for the young girl. She read a few short details from the life of the one who had packed her box and about half way through the letter, the girl’s face changed. When she finished translating, the girl quickly but carefully folded the letter and put it in the corner of her box. It was as if she had decided that the letter was hers and not something she wanted to share.

“All together, we distributed 5,245 boxes during the trip,” Jones said. “The team I was a part of distributed 550. We were only able to send 200,000 boxes to Peru this year.  That means we only could distribute boxes to 2.2 percent of the children in that country. There is so much opportunity in each of the countries where we send boxes. This trip changed my life for the better. I am wonderfully broken-hearted because there is so much to do. I feel wonderful because I had the chance to do something.”

For more information about Operation Christmas Child or to get promotional materials for a church or group, call 1-800-353-5949 or visit the Web site at www.samaritanspurse.org.

Published in The Messenger 11.12.08

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