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.

It’s Never Too Early

by Debbie Vanaman

It may seem that Christmas is far, far away but it’s never too early to start thinking about packing a shoebox this year.  This program distributes shoeboxes filled with personal items, school supplies and toys to children around the world all year long.  Many of these children have never heard about Jesus and this is their one and possibly only opportunity to learn about his love for them.

Due to the fact that I was out of the office for most of February and didn’t get my collection boxes out until the middle of February, we are going to again collect soap and washcloths during the month of March.  These boxes are located in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall.

Please keep this program in your daily prayers as they strive to carry the word of God throughout the world.

Operation Christmas Child 2017

by Debbie Vanaman

Well now that Christmas is over and a new year has begun, it’s that time again – well not really but it’s time to start thinking about shoeboxes for this year.

Our collection effort during 2017 was a huge success and a number of people told me that they really liked the way we did a different item to bring in month.

So here goes the start of shoeboxes for 2018.   For the month of February,  we will be collecting bar soap and wash cloths.  There will be boxes set up in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall for your donations.   As always, please keep this program in your prayers as shoeboxes are being distributed daily to children around the world.

2016 Final Report

by Debbie Vanaman

Well, another year is done and through your efforts many, many children will be blessed when they receive a shoebox that you packed.  After over 15 years of being involved in this project, saying thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough but it’s something that needs to be acknowledged.  To all of you who packed a shoebox, to our youth who packed 125 boxes with items that you donated throughout the year, to our collection center volunteers who packed tirelessly all during collection week and finally to our load up crew who included a bunch of young men from the Fellowship House, who loaded our cartons the Saturday before Thanksgiving, a heartfelt job well done.   A special thank you to Cliff McGlothlin who drove the truck down and back from Princeton that day.    Without each and every one of you, this project would not be the success that it has been each and every year.  Well, not only did we top 3000 shoeboxes but we passed last year’s total by 37 boxes.  Our grand total for our relay center was 3140.

I will give you the month of December off but come January, it all starts again with collecting items for our 2017 collection season.    As always, please keep this program in your prayers as it continually spreads the gospel and the name of Jesus Christ to all corners of the world through the power of a simple shoebox.

November is a Busy Month

by Debbie Vanaman

The month of November, as busy as it is with election day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, is also the culmination of a year-long effort for Operation Christmas Child. We’ve been collecting items all year long and this month the youth and children of our church will gather and pack shoeboxes for children all around the world who most likely have never heard the name of Jesus.

Collection week this year is November 14th through 18th and your help and prayers will be necessary to once again pull off this huge effort.  Last year we received over 3,000 shoeboxes from area churches and organizations, a record for the 15 years we’ve been a collection center. Saturday, November 19th, will be the day we will be loading the truck with what hopefully will be a huge number of cartons filled with shoeboxes.  Time for this day will be announced.    Don’t wait to be asked to help – contact me and say “What can I do to help.”

On a more personal note, let me take a moment to say that I will truly miss one of my best friends, Sharon Meador, who ran the office during collection week which allowed me to work alongside the collection center workers.  Sharon, you will be missed.

Last but certainly not least, please keep Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child in your prayers year round as they spread the gospel of Jesus to children around the world ONE SHOEBOX AT A TIME.

Time to Reach Out

by Debbie Vanaman

As the air turns a bit cooler and the leaves burst forth with magnificent color, it’s that time again to help spread the name of Jesus around the world through the power of a simple shoebox.  It’s been 15 years since we entered into a partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and the word of God has been shared with literally millions of children and their families through this ministry.

Our collection efforts have been great throughout the year and for that I am grateful.  Collection week this year is Nov. 14th through Nov. 18th and with your help we can make this year one of the best we’ve ever had.  I will be reaching out asking for volunteers to staff our collection center that week.  So don’t wait until I come for you – ask how you can help.

For the month of October we will be collecting small toys that will fit inside a shoebox –   a small ball, a doll, a jump rope, small cars and trucks are just a few examples.

And last but certainly not least please keep this program in your prayers as the word of God is continually spread throughout the world one shoebox at a time.

Summer is Over and School has Started Again

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s hard to believe that summer is over and school has started again.  2016 has certainly been a busy year here at FBC and the fall is going to be no exception.   We officially kicked off the shoebox 2016 season a few weeks ago with a presentation to recognize our 15 year participation with Samaritan’s Purse.  What an accomplishment.    Each year our total has topped the previous year and last year we hit an all time record of over 3,000 shoeboxes coming into our relay center from churches and organizations in the Raleigh and Fayette County area.  Praise God for all of those children who will receive the word of God, some for the first time.

Our ladies here at FBC have made some absolutely adorable teddy bears which will be going in our shoeboxes that we pack in November.  Thanks to all of you – you did an awesome job.   Our collection of items has been going strong all year but we need to do one final push in the September and October months so we can have enough items to fill the shoeboxes that the youth will be doing in November.   Our goal was to make 125 shoeboxes and your help in reaching this goal would be greatly appreciated.

For September we will be collecting toothbrushes, toothpaste & hair brushes

Finally, please keep the shoebox program as well as the entire Samaritan’s Purse organization in your prayers.  Samaritan’s Purse has been a huge help with relief efforts right here in West Virginia after the June floods and this is something that they travel around the country doing each time there is a disaster.   So it’s not just about shoeboxes – it’s about spreading God’s word and helping in a time of need.  Speaking of help – please keep collection week which is Nov. 14th to Nov. 18th open – I will be calling for help in our relay center.

Heat, humidity and…Christmas?

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s hard to think about Christmas when the temperatures are up in the 90’s and the humidity is unbearable but that’s just what we need to do. Children around the world receive these shoeboxes not just at Christmas time but all throughout the year and your contributions will go a long way towards making a child’s life just a little bit better.  Your response so far has been nothing short of over-whelming and for that I thank you.

For the months of July and August we will be collecting school supplies such as pens, pencils, markers, crayons and small note pads and coloring books (emphasis on the word small please).  Collection boxes for these items are located in the Welcome Center and also in Fellowship Hall.  Also if you have any extra empty shoeboxes, they are needed as well and can be left in the church office. 

Collection week this year is November 14th  through November 21st.   Please mark these dates in your calendar as I will need lots and lots of help during that week.  As I always ask you, please continue to keep this program in your prayers as shoeboxes are distributed to children around the world helping to spread the name of Jesus Christ.