The Mission Continues

by Debbie Vanaman

I know you probably have heard this at least a million times this year already, but 2020 has been quite a unique year. Operation Christmas Child is no different, but their mission still continues to spread the name of Christ and his salvation through the power of a simple shoebox. These shoeboxes are being distributed globally to children most of whom have never received a gift created just for them. This gift is also accompanied by a booklet called “The Greatest Journey” that tells them all about Jesus and how they can ask Jesus into their heart and many, many children have done just that. This then spreads to their families and villages and out from there.

We here at FBC have been involved in OCC for over 20 years and I am already preparing for who I hope will be a phenomenal collection week in November. For the month of September, I am asking for hairbrushes and combs. I need enough to fill 100 shoeboxes and currently have less than 20. So let’s help make this child feel beautiful on the outside with your help as well as inside with the name of Jesus in their heart. Please keep this this ministry in your prayers as they continue to spread the name of Jesus.

The children of the world need to hear the name of Jesus.

Children all over the world need to hear the name of Jesus and Operation Christmas Child has been doing just that for over 25 years and this year is no exception. A nation-wide goal has been set at 11 million shoeboxes and while that may seem like an outrageous number in these epidemic times, nevertheless if we don’t reach for what seems like impossible, we will never know what we can do once God’s people take control of a situation.

I want to thank you for your prayers and support of this ministry over the 20 plus years that First Baptist has been involved. Thousands and thousands of boxes have been received during those collection weeks and without your support, this task would not have been accomplished.

Summertime is usually when the school supply sales start and this is why I always ask for school supply donations during July and August. With these uncertain times even as far as starting school in the fall, I am still asking you to browse through the school supply sale ads for pencils, pens, crayons, erasers, and small note pads for our shoeboxes. If you feel uncomfortable going into the stores, which I totally understand, I will be glad to do your shopping for you. Just mail or drop a check by the church and be sure to make a note that it is for shoeboxes in the memo line and I will take it from there.

These are trying times and even Samaritan’s Purse has had to make adjustments in our collection efforts to try and keep everything safe for our volunteers. As always, please keep this ministry in your prayers as they continue to spread the name of Jesus to children around the world one shoebox at a time.

What about shoeboxes this year?

by Debbie Vanaman

I’ve been asked several times recently about what’s going to happen to shoeboxes this year – will we be collecting, will they be processed in Boone or Charlotte and ultimately will they be distributed to children around the world. My answer to them is “God willing – things will go just as they have in the past “. So I am going on that assumption that, with possibly some modifications, our collection week will go on as scheduled in November.”

With our morning worship hopefully getting back on track this month, it’s time to restart our collection effort for our shoebox effort here at FBC. Just last week OCC had a virtual conference which is usually done in person and this conference shared story after story of how something as simple as a shoebox filled with personal items and that special toy helped change a child that changed a family that possibly changed an entire village in a small county halfway around the world. That’s what this ministry is all about – sharing the love of Jesus and how that love impact a child who gives their life to Jesus.

So let’s get this project back on track and start with soap and washcloths. This is one of the things that really excite the children is the smell of that one bar of soap. As you start to get back out shopping, please remember these children and how a bar of soap and a washcloth is part of the personal items that we need for our shoebox project.

Please keep this project in your prayers as we struggle to deal with the impact that COVID-19 is having on the effort to help spread the name of Jesus through something as small and simple as a shoebox. God bless you and thank you for your support and prayers.

Christmas Seems So Far Away

As the world deals with this Coronavirus Pandemic and the thousands of people who are affected by this, it seems like Christmas is oh so far away. But to the children around the world who receive a shoebox, Christmas not in December but in March, July and September and the rest of the year. These boxes are filled with things that we take for granted like pencils, crayons, toiletry items and that special toy that was bought just for that child. Samaritan’s Purse celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year and Operation Christmas Child is a vital integral part of that ministry.

We’ve been collecting various items since the beginning of the year and for that I thank you. You’ve given us a great start on filling our boxes in November but in these uncertain times, I don’t want you traveling to a store to buy something for our shoeboxes. Yes, I said that – believe it or not. What I am asking you to do for the month of April is donate towards the shipping of these boxes. The cost is $9.00 a box and that goes for the transportation and delivery of these boxes as well as the printed material called “The Greatest Journey” which is included in each box. We will be sending out, hopefully, 100 boxes in November so that means we need $900. While that sounds like an awesome amount, each dollar you donate adds up. You can drop this off or mail it to the church until we resume services.

Too Early to Think About Christmas?

I know most people think it’s way too early to think about Christmas, but in the word of shoeboxes it’s never too early to start purchasing items to put in your shoebox. These shoeboxes, once they are delivered to the children, help spread the word of Jesus and His gospel to children and their families all around the world. These are places that we would never be able to travel to but this is just one way that the love of Christ can be spread all over the world.

For the month of March, I am asking for donations of small toys and stuffed animals. Remember these have to fit in a shoebox so small is the operative word. Collection boxes are located in Fellowship Hall and in the Welcome Center for your donations. Once again, please keep Samaritan’s Purse in your prayers as they distribute these boxes and work to spread the name and love of God.

One in 10 Million!

Would you believe me if I told you that you were one in a million? What about one in 10 million? Well you are one of over 10 million who packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child during the 2019 season. The final total of shoeboxes collected world-wide during the 2019 season was 10,569,405.

While that’s an awesome number, it doesn’t come close to the number of children in the world who still haven’t received a shoebox. They may not have heard the name of Jesus or felt His love through the simple gift of a shoebox.

We have been doing this ministry here at FBC for almost 20 years and every year, even though we may have bumps in the road during collection week, it amazes me to see the people showing the love they have for children they have never met. This ministry is just one small way that we here in Beckley, West Virginia can be a missionary without leaving the comfort of our homes. We can spread the name of Jesus to children and their families in places on the other side of the world fulfilling Christ’s commandment that we share His gospel to the uttermost parts of the world.

Now down to how you can help in a small way. For the month of February, we will be collecting toothbrushes, hair brushes and combs. Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall. Thank you for your continued support and please keep this ministry in your prayers as they spread the name of Jesus to children around the world.

Where did our shoeboxes go?

Through the marvels of modern day technology, we have been able to track the final destination of the shoeboxes that were packed in November to the small country of Burundi. Now you ask where is Burundi?? I had to look it up myself. Burundi is a small country in south-eastern Africa. Samaritan’s Purse began distributing gift-filled shoeboxes to this nation’s children in 2008 and launched The Greatest Journey, our follow-up discipleship program, here in 2013. Imagine that something that you purchased from a dollar store here in Beckley, West Virginia made it half-way around the world to a small country in Africa – how amazing.

Now it’s time to start thinking about shoeboxes 2020 and what can be accomplished if we come together as a church and help spread the name of Jesus to children around the world. This all starts with a bar of soap and a washcloth – something simple that we use every day but children around the world are not so fortunate. So let’s start the 2020 shoebox season with a “clean slate” with soap and washcloths. Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and Fellowship Hall.

As always, please keep this program in your prayers as these boxes find their way into the hearts and homes of children who may have never heard the name of Jesus. Remember – you can change a child’s life with a simple shoebox.

Operation Christmas Child Final Report

When asked how many shoeboxes I want to have each year I always say one. That way I’m not disappointed when I don’t reach my goal and that’s just the way I look at this project. Each shoebox is a blessing to a child and in turn to his or her entire family. It shows that someone cared enough to stop what they were doing and put together a small box of things that most of us take for granted every day.

First I would like to thank all of you who packed a shoebox, donated money for postage, worked in our collection center or helped load our truck. Without you, this project would never get off the ground. Thank you so so much for your continued prayers during collection week. We hit some bumps in the road but all in all it was a huge success.

Last but not certainly least, our final count of shoeboxes collected from the area was 3,420 blessings. Each one of these boxes will travel to far off countries and villages and end up in the hands of a boy or girl. Although we had some major hiccups at the last minute, God who was always in control of the situation solved the issues and all of those blessings were delivered. What a joy this will be when that child open that box and see that special toy bought just for them!!! It was an awesome collection week. In closing, remember it’s not about what gifts we get this Christmas but the love of a God who sent his Son into the world this Christmas season as a baby as a gift to us all.

Huddle Up!

by Debbie Vanaman

Well to use a football analogy, this month is Operation Christmas Child’s Super Bowl. This is where it all comes together and things really start to move. All of the items you’ve donated throughout this year will be placed in a shoebox by our youth, packed in a carton and begin their journey to eventually end up in the hands of a child who, for the first time, may receive a gift and learn of the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Collection week is Nov. 18th through Nov. 25th and if I haven’t already “drafted” you into working that week, I could always use more hands. We will be collecting shoeboxes Monday through Friday from 10:00 until 2:00. Saturday morning, Nov. 23rd at 9:00 a.m. we will pack our shoebox cartons into a truck and they will be delivered to Princeton. I need strong muscles that morning. It only takes about an hour and coffee and doughnuts will be provided.

Please keep this program in your prayers as the love of Jesus is spread to children around the world one shoebox at a time.

Fall Has Officially Arrived

by Debbie Vanaman

Well now that fall has officially arrived, I don’t know about you but this time of year brings thoughts of how blessed I am to have a roof over my head, enough food to eat, a great job and a super family. Yes, God has truly blessed me.

Each one of us needs to count our blessings daily and thank God for each and every one of them. Children all around the world unfortunately don’t have it quite so easy. The children that Operation Christmas Child reaches have never heard the name of Jesus and some of them live in orphanages just waiting for a place to call home.

We had a speaker back in August who was one such young lady. Her testimony truly touched each person who was there to hear her first-hand account of receiving a shoebox and how her life was eventually changed for the better and now she’s a speaker sharing her testimony.

Shoebox collection week will be November 18th through November 25th. That’s when your shoeboxes need to be returned to the church so they can start their journey to eventually reach a child who will see how much someone they don’t know loves them to pack a box just for them. I will be needing help working that week and I will be in contact with you to find out when you can help.

For the month of October, I still need about 50 small hairbrushes and small toys. The dollar stores around town are a great place to shop for these items. Donation boxes are in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall. I will also be needing donations of money to cover the shipping for the 100 boxes that our youth will be putting together next month. These donations can be put in with your regular offering and just mark shoeboxes on the memo line.

As always please keep shoeboxes in your prayers as they are daily finding their way into the hands of children around the world. REMEMBER – one shoebox can change a child’s life. Thanks and God bless you.