OCC Boxes on their Way to Children around the World
A total of 854 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes were brought in by HCA and Grace Baptist families during the past two weeks, and a total of 3,477 processed by the relay center on the Grace campus.
Operation Christmas Child is an international project organized by Samaritan’s Purse with the mission of providing gift-filled shoeboxes for children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease. Shoeboxes are filled with small toys, school supplies, and hygiene items, as well as booklets that share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoebox gifts to over 135 million children in more than 150 countries.
Highlands Christian Academy, along with Grace Baptist Church, has participated in collecting shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child for many years. Preschool, elementary, junior high, high school students, and their families fill shoeboxes with gifts for boys and girls in another country. There is excitement in the air as students arrive at school in the morning with their shoebox gifts, and then as they walk across the campus to chapel where they have the opportunity to add their shoebox gift to the huge “mountain” of other shoeboxes on the stage.
Elementary Principal Dawn Utz says, “Operation Christmas Child is a special time of year. This program gives our students a chance to learn about other children around the world and how they can positively impact the lives of those children in need. The shoebox gifts our students pack can help meet not only physical needs of children in faraway places, but it can also reach them and their families with the gospel of Christ.”
Grace Baptist Church has the privilege of being a drop-off relay center where area schools, churches, and individuals bring their shoeboxes to be carefully inspected and made ready by volunteers for overseas shipment. Many of the shoeboxes collected at HCA and GBC this year will be sent to children in Haiti. Included in each shoebox is The Greatest Journey, an introduction to the gospel presented in the language of the child who receives it. Approximately 80,000 volunteers around the USA serve each year preparing shoeboxes for their trip to faraway countries.
The staff of Highlands and Grace ask you to pray with them that God will use these shoebox gifts to help bring children and families around the world to faith in Jesus Christ.