To See a Child’s Face Light Up

by Debbie Vanaman

Well hopefully most of the ice and snow by now will be behind us and spring is just around the corner (hopefully).  Despite the word Christmas in its title, the program distributes shoeboxes to children around the world all year long.   Last year over 10.6 million shoeboxes were collected worldwide.  WHAT A BLESSING.   To think it all starts with an empty shoebox.

To see a child’s face light up when he or she gets that special new toy that someone packed just for them is why we do what we do.  Another blessing is the school supplies that are packed.  Many children can’t go to school because their families can’t afford something as simple as a pencil or a box of crayons.   And on the personal hygiene side of the box, toothbrushes are a big hit. I’ve heard stories of as many as six children using the same toothbrush and for a child to have their very own just makes their day. 

And to top it all off, they get to share in the stories of Jesus and how his love reaches even to the uttermost parts of the world right into their towns.  The book is called “The Greatest Journey” and it walks the children step by step into who Jesus is and that he died on the cross for them.  Many, many decisions have been made and countless families have been impacted by this program.

Now it’s time for you to help.   We will be collecting SMALL stuffed toys for the month of March (and I do mean small.)  Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and Fellowship Hall.  Your prayers are also appreciated as Samaritan’s Purse continues to spread the love of Jesus around the world through the power of a shoebox.    God bless you all. 

Operation Christmas Child 2019

by Debbie Vanaman

Well the month of January certainly was a snowy and cold month.  So for the month of February we will continue to collect bar soap and washcloths.  Collection boxes will be in Fellowship all and the Welcome Center for your your donations.

Once again, as always, I ask you to keep this mission in your prayers as they continue to spread the love of Jesus Christ through something as simple as a shoebox.  God bless you all.

It’s 2019 Already?

by Debbie Vanaman

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s 2019 already and it’s really hard to think about Christmas 2019 because it seems so far away.  This past shoebox season was a huge success all because of the generosity of people just like you.  We packed and packed and packed so many boxes that came in from churches and organizations until I thought we could pack no more.  So many children will be blessed by these shoeboxes and will learn first-hand of the love of Jesus Christ.

Now it’s time to start to plan for our 2019 season and it all starts with a bar of soap and a washcloth which is what I am asking you to bring during the month of January.  Collection boxes will be in Fellowship Hall and the Welcome Center for your donations.

Once again, as always, I ask you to keep this mission in your prayers as they continue to spread the love of Jesus Christ through something as simple as a shoebox.  God bless you all.

Operation Christmas Child 2018

by Debbie Vanaman

The month of November is the culmination of an entire year of shopping for your shoebox items.   The youth will be packing the shoeboxes with what you’ve donated all year and getting them ready to go on the first leg of their trip to Princeton and then onto Charlotte, North Carolina.  From there they will be distributed to children around the world who, for some, will hear the name of Jesus for the first time.   They will hear the stories of Jesus and hopefully give their heart to him and then spread the word to their families and villages.  That’s’ why we do what we do – to spread the name of Jesus around the world.

What I will need from you this month is an hour or two of your time.  The week of November 12th is collection week so I will need volunteers to work in the Welcome Center receiving shoeboxes from 10:00 to 2:00 pm.  This is where the ladies (or gentlemen) can help out.   Then on November 17th we will hopefully load up and take all that we’ve collected down to Princeton and that’s where I need strong arms to help.  This is hard work so I need some strong men to meet me in the Welcome Center that morning.  Times to be announced soon.

Please pray for collection week around the country as well as distribution of shoeboxes around the world.  Your help and prayers are greatly appreciated.

Shoeboxes is Celebrating a Birthday

by Debbie Vanaman

Twenty-five years ago this year a very small lady from Ikes Fork, West Virginia got the idea to go up and down the hollers of her community and collect items to be put in shoeboxes and  then to take those shoeboxes to the children in countries like Bosnia and Kosovo.

Well since that time over 150 MILLION shoeboxes have been distributed to children around the world and through this effort, countless numbers of children and families have heard the name of Jesus Christ and many have given their hearts to the Lord.  Some of those children now even working for Operation Christmas Child sharing their testimony of how that one shoebox has changed their lives and the lives of their families.

We here at FBC have been involved in this program almost since the beginning and every year your support and giving to this ministry truly blesses those children.  Even in these troubled times, you share your blessings and help a child who literally may have nothing more than the clothes on their back with a shoebox that contains things like soap and a washcloth, a toy, a book, some personal items and maybe some school supplies.

For the month of October, what I am asking you for you don’t have to go to the store to buy.  We are pretty much set on everything we need for our youth to fill the 100 shoeboxes that they will be putting together next month.  What I am asking for comes from your checkbook.   What is needed is $9.00 for each shoebox that we fill and if you do that math that’s $900.   Now that might sound like an awful lot of money but if 100 people gave only $9.00, it would be done.  Or if 50 people gave $18.00, it would be done.  While I know we have support from people who have donated throughout the year for the shipping costs, still more is needed.   So if you write a check, just put shoebox postage in the memo line and place it in the offering plate on Sunday mornings or mail it to the church.

I have heard the testimony first hand of how these shoeboxes have changed lives and this ministry goes 365 days a year distributing shoeboxes around the world.  Please keep them in your prayers as they spread the name and gospel of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child: Celebrating 25 Years

by Debbie Vanaman

As fall is now upon us and school is back in session, Christmas isn’t that far away. Operation Christmas Child this year is celebrating its 25th year of collecting shoeboxes and distributing them to children around the world.  Five years ago we celebrated 100 million shoeboxes and the figure of 200 million isn’t that far off but it’s still just a drop in the bucket for the children who have yet to hear the name of Jesus or know the compassion of someone creating a shoebox just for them.  Can’t you just see the smiles on their faces as they open that box and find that precious toy or those needed school supplies – it’s heartwarming.

These boxes also impact the entire family by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through the “Our Greatest Journey” program which is a series of lessons on Jesus and how to accept him into the child’s heart and then, hopefully, the family.     This is such a moving experience to see families changed by something as simple as a shoebox.

For the month of September, we will be collecting various items.  I still need small girl’s hairbrushes, small coloring or sticker books, markers, colored pencils and erasers.   I will be starting a push for October to collect the necessary funds to ship our 100 boxes that our children and youth will be making in November.  So if you want to get a jump on it, just make the check out to First Baptist Church and put Samaritans Purse shipping on the memo line and you can cross that off your to-do list.

As always, I ask that you keep this vital mission in your prayers as we enter collection season that each box made will help to show the love of Jesus Christ to children and families around the word.

Hot Days of Summer

As those long hot days of summer are now upon us, Christmas seems so, so far away but truly for a child who has nothing, these shoeboxes are distributed every day to children around the world to help spread the name and message of Jesus Christ.

In June we were blessed to hear from a young man who as a child had received a shoebox.  This young man is now a spokesman for Samaritan’s Purse sharing his message of how that one small shoebox impacted and changed his life.

For the months of July and August we will be collecting school supplies such as crayons, markers, pencils and pens.  Collection boxes are located in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall.  Above all, keep this program in your prayers as they reach out to children and families around the world.

Alex is Coming!

Our main focus for the month of June will be our guest speaker on June 3rd at 6:00 pm here at the church.  His first name is Alex (and his last name I cannot begin to pronounce, but he is from Rwanda, Africa), and as a child in an orphanage he received a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child.  That box was the start of turning his life around.  He now is a speaker for OCC and shares his testimony and his love for Jesus Christ.    We will be having a pie social at the conclusion of his testimony so you can meet Alex and have a time of fellowship.  I ask you to make every effort to attend this special service.

For the month of June we will be collecting small stuffed animals as well as combs and hairbrushes.  Another suggestion would be children’s sunglasses.  Evidently they are one of those items that are a big hit with the children.  Donation boxes are located in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall.    

Changing Lives Around the World

by Debbie Vanaman

Operation Christmas Child has been a part of our church for almost 20 years and in all that time, there are children around the world who still have not heard the name Jesus.  Most of these children live in remote villages and towns in less than desirable conditions.

On June evening, June 3rd, we here at FBC will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from someone who as a child received a shoebox and how that shoebox has impacted his life.  I’ve heard stories like this and you will truly be blessed to hear how something that you have packed has impacted a child, a family and even an entire town.  We will be having refreshments and a time of fellowship following the service.

For the month of May we will be collecting soap and washcloths.   Donation boxes are in Fellowship Hall and in the Welcome Center.  Also throughout the year, if we feel so led, we are also asking for monetary contributions to help with shipping the shoeboxes that the youth will be making later this year.

I ask that you pray for this ministry and that its mission of spreading the name of Jesus to children around the world continue to touch young lives through the word of God.

How Can You Change A Child’s Life?

by Debbie Vanaman

Spring has arrived, at least according to the calendar, and our thoughts start to turn to the ever-changing world around us.  As soon as the weather starts to warm up, I always start to think about how the trees and flowers come to life in the magic and wonder of spring and how God brings this all back to life each and every year.

Our God has indeed created a beautiful and wonderful world for us to live in but in some parts of the world, there are children who live in less than desirable conditions and lack some of the basic needs of living.  These are the children that Samaritan’s Purse helps each and every year through Operation Christmas Child.  These shoeboxes are distributed not just at Christmas time as you might think but all throughout the year through mission trips all around the world.

You might think how can I help.  Each month we are collecting items to fill shoeboxes later this year and for the month of April, we will be collecting pens, pencils, crayons small notepads and markers.   Most children in these countries lack the basic school supplies and cannot attend school without them so this is a vital part of the shoebox ministry.  I could also use any empty shoeboxes that you might have in the back of a closet or under your bed.

Please keep these children and this ministry in your prayers as the name of Jesus is spread around the world one shoebox at a time.