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.

Over 20 years and growing!

by Debbie Vanaman

As a drop-off center here in Beckley for over 20 years, I’ve seen this program here at First Baptist grow from 700 shoeboxes received back in the late 90’s to over 3,000 for the past two years and for this I give thanks to God for giving me the opportunity to watch this mission grow and expand beyond my wildest dreams. Countless numbers of children and their families have been given the opportunity to learn about Jesus and his love not to mention the joy that each child feels as they open a box prepared just for them with what we would think as everyday items such as a toothbrush or a brush and comb or that special toy. Seeing pictures of those faces is what keeps me going year after year just warms my heart. We had an awesome speaker here at First Baptist in August who shared with us first-hand how she received a shoebox as a child and she has come full circle now as a speaker for Operation Christmas child – what a blessing.

Collection week will be November 18th through November 25th and I will be needing lots of volunteers to staff our collection center. So keep that week open and I’ll be in contact soon to set up the schedule.

For the month of September, your donations of colored pencils, small coloring books and small toys is what we will be collecting. These donations can be left in the boxes located in Fellowship Hall or in the Welcome Center.

Please keep this program in your prayers as all year long shoeboxes are delivered to children around the world and the name of Jesus is shared all through something as simple as a shoebox. God bless you all.

20+ Years and Going!

by Debbie Vanaman

First, I want to thank all of you who have supported Operation Christmas Child over the past 20 plus years that FBC has been involved in this great mission program. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been touched by your generosity in sharing the love of Christ through the power of a shoebox filled with toys, personal items and school supplies.

Now that summer has officially begun, the back to school rush will begin soon. For the months of July and August we will be collecting school supplies such as pencils, erasers, pens, crayons and small coloring books and note pads. There are donation boxes in Fellowship Hall and in the Welcome Center for your convenience. As always keep this program in your prayers as they continue to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to children and their families around the world.

It’s Amazing!

by Debbie Vanaman

In the 25 years that this program has been in existence, countless numbers of children and their families have heard the name of Jesus for the first time and imagine how it has changed their lives. There are more and more children who are now adults coming forward and sharing their stories on the Samaritan’s Purse website about how that one shoebox in a tiny town half-way around the world made such an impact in their lives. Some of them have even come to the United States and are now spokespersons for Operation Christmas Child. Imagine the changes that have taken place over 25 years. IT’S AMAZING.

Anyway, down to some numbers. This year a huge goal has been set for 2019 and that goal is to collect 11 million (yes I said million) shoeboxes this year in both the United States and around the world. This goal can be attained first and foremost through prayer. Prayer is a vital part of the mission of Operation Christmas Child and has been the cornerstone of its success so far.

Also equally important is your support of this mission. We have been collecting items so far this year and for that I thank you. We will be hopefully building 100 shoeboxes in November with the items you have been donating. For the month of June, I’m asking that you dig into that little pocket of “mad” money that I know we all have and contribute towards the shipping costs of these boxes. The shipping cost for each box is $9.00 so you do the math – that’s $900.00. Checks can be made out to First Baptist Church and just put the word “shoeboxes” on the memo line.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support of what has grown to be a phenomenal ministry.

20 Plus Years

by Debbie Vanaman

Over the 20 plus years that Operation Christmas Child has been in existence and he name of Jesus has reached literally millions of children and their families through what starts out as an empty shoebox. Most people would just toss out this empty box not realizing the impact that it could have. What started out right here in West Virginia with a lady named Mary Dameron going up and down her little holler collecting whatever she could has grown into a huge effort with millions of shoeboxes and countless workers in all phases of this program striving to share the name of Jesus to children who have never heard of our Savior.

We’ve been doing shoeboxes here at FBC for over 20 years and each year it still amazes me how people love to reach out and make a child’s life just a little bit better though this ministry. I sincerely thank you for your prayers and support of this mission project.

For the month of June, we will be collecting girl’s hair brushes, girl’s hair accessories and boy’s combs. Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and also in Fellowship Hall. Your financial contributions are always welcome as well. We hope to pack 100 shoeboxes in the fall with what we’ve collected and each box needs $9.00 to cover the shipping of that box. Checks can be made out to the church with the word shoeboxes on the memo line.

Just remember – YOU CAN CHANGE A CHILD’S LIFE THROUGH THE POWER OF A SIMPLE SHOEBOX!!!