Operation Christmas Child March Update

by Debbie Vanaman

As I was sitting down on February 20th to write my March shoebox article, it came across the radio that Rev. Billy Graham had passed away.  He is now in heaven and is resting in the arms of our Lord Savior.  Please keep his family in your prayers as they are very much involved in the ministry of Samaritans’ Purse and Operation Christmas Child.

In coming up with a presentation for the Lizzie Lewis Circle on Samaritan’s Purse for their March meeting, I decided to share with them the ministries of Samaritan’s Purse. So I thought I would give you a snapshot of what I will talk to them about.   They don’t only do shoeboxes.  They handle disaster relief, both in the US and around the world.  They were in Greenbrier County when we had the devastating flooding back a few years and were there for months and months.  Samaritan’s Purse is also heavily involved in meeting the medical needs of people less fortunate around the world along with educating them on disease prevention and the proper ways to purify their water.   These are just some of the ministries that reach around the world to help spread the name of Jesus to families who are desperately looking for something to reach out to.

Now, onto shoeboxes.  The 2017 totals are in and in excess of 11 million (yes I said million) shoeboxes were collected from the U.S. and around the world.  These shoeboxes are currently being shipped to countries all around the world and will eventually find their home in the arms of a little girl or boy and that’s how Jesus’ name will reach not only the child but their family and their community as well.

For the month of March, we will be collecting small toys and coloring books.  Please make sure these coloring books are small enough to fit in a shoebox.   We are well on our way in our collection and your continued support and prayers, as always, are greatly appreciated.

Operation Christmas Child 2018

by Debbie Vanaman

The last decorations have been put away from Christmas (finally) and the cold winter of January is behind us (hopefully) and now it’s time to start thinking about shoeboxes and Operation Christmas Child again.  Every day or so I get a Facebook post showing a child somewhere in the world who received a shoebox and the smiles on their faces is priceless.   We here at First Baptist have been involved in this ministry for more than 15 years and every year it amazes me that you give so generously to help spread the name of Jesus to children and families around the world and it all starts with filling an empty shoebox.

For the month of February, I will be collecting soap, washcloths, small hairbrushes and combs.  Donation boxes will be in Fellowship Hall and in the Welcome Center.   As always, I ask that you keep this program in your prayers as the shoeboxes collected last year continue their journey around the world and may God bless each and every one of you.

A Final Word on Operation Christmas Child 2017

Well, shoeboxes for 2017 has come to a close and what a year we had. We started collecting items in January and items were gathered all year long. Items such as crayons, soap and washcloths, small toys, coloring books and school supplies. Each month I emptied our collection boxes and the pile began to grow. Then came November and our youth gathered one Sunday evening and packed 100 shoeboxes with the items that you donated.

Collection week started in a huge way with over 1,100 boxes collected on Monday. The rest of the week went along and each day we collected shoeboxes from all over the Beckley & Raleigh County area. Saturday morning, we gathered, along with some help from the men of the Fellowship House, and we packed a truck and a church van and down to Princeton we traveled. Praise God we got there and back safely. But that’s not the end of the story.

We collected more boxes on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday and I made my final trip to Princeton with this precious cargo (along with the paperwork) which is the part of the process that is not my favorite but anyway when all was said and done, we not only met our last year’s total of 3,151 but we topped it and just in case you haven’t heard, our final total was 3,440.

I would like to thank each of you for all your help this year. Whether you packed a shoebox, brought in some items all year long, worked in the collection center, helped load a carton or just prayed for this project, you are all truly awesome. We could not have accomplished this enormous task without your help. Please continue to pray for these shoeboxes as they start their journey and eventually find their home in the hands of a child somewhere in the world who will learn firsthand the name of Jesus Christ. May you all have a blessed Christmas.

It’s Crunch Time

It’s November and it’s crunch time.  At a meeting I went to recently November was referred to as the Super Bowl of shoeboxes.   It all comes together starting the week of November 13th when hundreds and hundreds of shoeboxes will be coming in from churches, organizations and individuals in the Raleigh County area.

Just think of the impact that these shoeboxes will have on the children and their families all around the world.  Most of these children have never even heard the name of Jesus and are given the opportunity to learn about His love for them.  Just think that this miracle all starts with an empty shoebox.  Our youth will be filling shoeboxes with what you’ve brought in all year on November 5th and I am certainly grateful for that help.  It’s a fun evening for them and a chance to learn something about missions.   We hopefully will pack 100 shoeboxes that night.

Recently I asked 30 people to donate $30 to cover the shipping for these boxes and I’m still a little short.  As of October 22nd, I had $420 of the $900 that I need to cover the shipping for the boxes the youth will be packing. Thank you to all who have donated so far but if my math is correct, I still need 16 people.  So if you could find a few extra pennies sometime between now and the 17th of November, it would be greatly appreciated.

Gearing Up for Collection Week

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s October and Operation Christmas Child is gearing up for collection week next month and this is where I put my faith, as always, in God that he will provide whatever is needed to make this program the great success it has been for over 15 years here at FBC.

You’ve been very generous during this past year in donating whatever is asked for so that our youth can build our shoeboxes in November but now comes the hard part.  Our goal is to build 100 shoeboxes to go along with whatever we as a church collect.  To go along with those shoeboxes, a check for $9.00 a box has to be given to help with the fuel to carry these boxes around the world as well as the labor charges once they get to their destination to get them to the area that they will be distributed in.  In case you’re no good at math that’s a whopping $900 that is needed by the middle of November.

Now what I’m asking is this.  It takes one donation of $900 or two donations of $450 or 10 people give $90 or maybe 30 people giving $30 and remember you have until the middle of November to do this.  That means six weeks at maybe $5.00 a week.  Maybe take that one out to lunch day and make that your donation every week and before you know it you’re done.  I know it’s hard because it seems like everywhere you turn someone is asking you to contribute to something but this is an important part of the shoebox ministry and it’s what gets the boxes to the hands of children all around the world.  So do what you can and that’s all I can ask of you.

I will also need your help during collection week from November 13th to the 18th.   So don’t wait for me to track you down – volunteer to work a two-hour shift and I will be eternally grateful that I don’t have to hunt you down and beg for your help.  Last but certainly not least if you have any empty shoeboxes, we can use them as well.  They can be left in the church office.

Again you’ve been great in the past with your prayers and help in this vital ministry to spread the name of Jesus around the world to children and families in need.

Your Shoebox can Change a Child’s Life

by Debbie Vanaman

Something as small as a shoebox has the power to change a child’s life and it all starts with you.  OCC has been here at FBC for over 20 years and it has grown tremendously in those 20 years.  From collecting shoeboxes in what is now the choir room to the now demolished TCI building to the basement of the Wilkes Building to our current collection site in our Welcome Center thousands of shoeboxes have passed through our doors on their journey to children around the world.

Our collections during the year have been great and we just have a few more months to go until our youth will be filing shoeboxes with what you’ve donated.   During the month of September, we need girl’s hairbrushes and boys combs.  We also need small coloring books, markers and colored pencils to finish out our school supplies. You’ve been great in supplying these needs in the past and I am confident that you will continue with your donations. Collection week this year will be Nov. 13th through 17th and I’ll need your help during that week as well.

Just one final thing – due to rising costs of airplane fuel and transportation costs, the amount that is needed for each shoebox has been increased from $7.00 to $9.00.   If you are unable to pack a shoebox or wish do make a monetary donation, this would be a great way to share in the blessings that shoeboxes bring to children, some of whom may never heard the name of Jesus Christ.  Please keep this project in your prayers year-round as these shoeboxes travel around the world and spread the name of Jesus Christ to these children and their families.

Summer is Officially Here

The year is half over and summer is officially here.   Summer is a great time to relax, possibly go on vacation or just lie around the house drinking a cool glass of sweet tea.  But lying around the house is not something that I do very well so here goes.During July and August, it’s also a good time to find those back to school bargains so we will be collecting school supply items such as pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, colored pencils and markers and small note pads.    Many children who receive these shoeboxes cannot start school because they don’t have the proper supplies so these things are very important.

During July and August, it’s also a good time to find those back to school bargains so we will be collecting school supply items such as pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, colored pencils and markers and small note pads.    Many children who receive these shoeboxes cannot start school because they don’t have the proper supplies so these things are very important.

Donations can be left in the Samaritan’s Purse boxes located in the Welcome Center and also at the top of the ramp in Fellowship Hall.    This program goes year-round so your prayers are always needed.

When it’s warm, it’s hard to think about Christmas

by Debbie Vanaman

As summer is now upon us and the weather is turning warmer by the day, I know it’s hard to think about Christmas and shoeboxes but this need goes on around the world 365 days a year.  Children who live far from Beckley, West Virginia every day are learning, some for the first time, about the love of God and the name Jesus.  We here at First Baptist have been involved in this program for well over 10 years and most of you I would say are very familiar with the name Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child but just on the off chance you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the short version.

You take a trip to the dollar shore and you pick up pencils, pens, crayons, coloring book, personal hygiene items such as hair brushes or combs, soap, washcloth, a small stuff animal and a small toy.  Then you find an empty shoebox and put all these things in them and the week before Thanksgiving you bring it back to the church with a shipping donation this year of $9.00 (this is an increase from previous years due to shipping costs rising dramatically) and that box will eventually find its way around the world to a child.  You have a second option of checking the bulletin or this newsletter each month that tells you a particular item or items that we are collecting.   Then the beginning of November our youth gather all of these items and they fill empty shoeboxes on a Sunday evening.  They really get a kick out of doing this.    Last year we collected enough items to do 100 shoeboxes.  This year I hope it’s more.

Anyway, that’s what Operation Christmas Child is all about.  Please consider being a part of this ministry to spread the name of Jesus around the world to children and eventually to their parents, families and the towns that they live in.  It’s one small way to bring love to a child.

Remember – you can change a child’s life through the power of a simple shoebox.

Operation Christmas Child – Growing for 15 Years

by Debbie Vanaman

This ministry has grown in the 15 years that we here at First Baptist have been involved.  In our first year we took in roughly 700 shoeboxes and we were excited about that.  For the last two years, we have received over 3,000 shoeboxes and excited doesn’t even begin to express how we felt and for this, I am extremely grateful to the people of Beckley and the Raleigh County community who gave a shoebox.  The need worldwide to show the love of Christ through the power of a shoebox grows each year.

We here at First Baptist have been collecting items on a monthly basis so that in November our youth can share in this ministry on a Sunday evening and create these gifts for children around the world and this seems to be working well.

For the month of May, we will be collecting small hairbrushes, combs and girl’s hair bows for our shoeboxes.  Donation boxes are located in the Welcome Center and at the top of the ramp in Fellowship Hall.

Please keep this ministry in your prayers daily as shoeboxes are distributed around the world spreading the name of Christ to children and their families.

Operation Christmas Child 2017

by Debbie Vanaman

As you are reading this article, children all around the world are receiving a shoebox, perhaps one that you packed, and learning about the love of Jesus for the very first time.  As they open up their boxes, they shout for joy at the contents and that someone whom they do not know thought enough of them to pack a shoebox and show the love of God.

We here in the southern part of West Virginia last year packed over 16,000 shoeboxes and that was a record for our area.  The grand total world-wide last year topped 11 million and there still isn’t enough shoeboxes to fill the demands that Samaritan’s Purse receives each year.  Thank you so very much for your support and prayers for this project.

For the month of April, we will be collecting school supplies such as pencils, pens, crayons, markers, small note pads or notebooks, erasers and pencil sharpeners.  Donation boxes are located in the Welcome Center and at the top of the ramp in Fellowship Hall.   Again thank you so very much for your prayers and donations as we strive to carry out the Great Commission to spread the name of Jesus to every corner of the world.