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Churches of all denominations spread Christmas cheer

♦ Operation Christmas Child

(L to R) Donna Miller, Ann Pierpont, and Glenn “Russ” Pierpont pack boxes.
Photo by Rick Tobin

Pastor Bob Craig of Jacksonboro Baptist Church and members of his congregation were busy last Wednesday, November 20, packing shoe-sized boxes with toys, school supplies, and hygienic items into larger shipping crates so they can be shipped to other countries to give to children less fortunate than most of the youth within our country.

“This year, we collected 1,787 boxes, a 20% increase from last year; some churches have gotten more gift boxes than last year, and some have gotten less. You just never know.”

Since the Operation Christmas Child gift-giving program began in 1993, close to 100 million children from over 130 countries have been the happy recipients of the shoebox gifts put together by devoted supporters across the country, just as they were within Craig’s church in lower Colleton County. In addition to the people who pack the gift boxes for shipping, tens of thousands of volunteers serve in various roles to prepare the gifts for shipment overseas.

Each box given away is an opportunity to tell boys and girls about the greatest gift they can ever receive, the gift of receiving word about Jesus Christ.

Individuals, mission groups, Sunday school classes, civic organizations, and church groups were able to participate by simply filling a shoe box full of toys, school supplies, soap, wash cloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, or any other helpful items.

Hundreds of thousands of children have been given the opportunity to embrace Christianity through Operation Christmas Child. After the gift boxes have been given out, churches in those areas invite the children to attend a 12-lesson Bible study. The sessions provide colorful illustrations, Scripture reading, enjoyable activities, and engaging stories to help the children understand the concept of Christianity. Many of the children revert to Christianity afterwards, and also share the concept with their peers and relatives.

The very simple plan was introduced in the early 1900’s, and has since grown through Franklin Graham’s “Samaritan’s Purse” organization. Graham said, “If your heart is broken by the desperate plight of millions of children around the world, whether they are refugees of civil war, survivors of a natural disaster, or victims of extreme poverty, these little ones need to know that they are precious to God.”

“This is the time of year that we focus our attention to this special project. Last year, Colleton County residents collected a total of 1,498 shoe boxes, coming from 35 different groups. Jacksonboro Baptist Church has been the “Relay Center” for the county for the past two years,” Pastor Bob Craig said. He added that members plan to continue this tradition.

Rick Tobin, Editor (434 Posts)