The Final Operation Christmas Child Report for 2015

by Debbie Vanaman

When all was said and done, our relay center had a record year.  With the state of the economy here in Southern West Virginia, I expected our numbers to be somewhat down from last year’s total of 2,958 which incidentally was all-time high for our relay. Well, that was so not true. The total number of shoeboxes collected from churches, schools, businesses and individuals was 3,103 shoeboxes!                                                                   

Yep, that’s right. It was up, and up quite a bit.  But it would not run as smoothly as it did without the help of a great group of volunteers who manned “Shoebox Center” in the Welcome Center that week.  You guys and gals were great.  And let’s not forget the Saturday morning loading crew who loaded 185 cartons in under an hour.  A truly awesome task.

As the time creeps ever closer to Christmas Day, just remember children around the world who during the coming months will receive a shoebox filled with a toy or a stuffed animal, pencils, crayons and other personal items.  Some of these children have never received a gift before and imagine the looks on their faces when those boxes are opened and these items are shared.  They also will receive a booklet called “The Greatest Journey” which tells them about Jesus and how they can accept Jesus into their heart.

Just remember – it all starts with one shoebox and you can help change the world one shoebox at a time. Stay tuned for some shoebox changes in 2016.

Operation Christmas Child

by Debbie Vanaman

More than 15 years ago, FBC partnered with Samaritans Purse and got involved in Operation Christmas Child for the first time.   Hundreds and thousands of shoeboxes have been collected during that time and for that I am truly grateful.  These children, most of whom have never had a present before in their lives, received a shoebox filled with school supplies, small toys and hygiene items.  Many of them had to wait in line for what seemed like hours for a young child just to receive this box.  The joy and smiles on their faces as you see pictures of boxes being distributed will melt your heart.   With every shoebox that is given out, the word of Jesus goes with it to that child’s home and eventually to their village or town that they live in.  This also has an impact on the families who often have never heard of Jesus and ultimately through their child, give their hearts and lives over to Jesus.  Yes it takes a bit of time and some money, but the reward is immeasurable.  Just one shoebox in one small town halfway around the world can have an extremely positive impact.

Collection week this year is November 16th through 20th.  This is when shoeboxes from churches and organizations in our community return their shoeboxes to be packed in cartons and start their journey.  Helpers are needed during that week but also on Saturday, Nov. 21st when these cartons have to be loaded and taken to Princeton.   The time for this is not definite – so keep an eye on the church bulletin for that info.

As always, I ask you to keep this program in your prayers throughout 2016 as the shoeboxes are delivered  around the world.   Remember – it’s a simple shoebox but it has the power to change the world through your gift.

Operation Christmas Child News

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s not enough to do something … it’s time for us to do something … and now is the time.  Children around the world need to know that someone cares for him or her and we here at First Baptist have done a great job in the past.  Operation Christmas Child is one way the gospel of Jesus is spread around the world by giving a child a shoebox filled with all kinds of goodies, school supplies and hygiene items that they can use and often times share with their family.

During the month of October, you are being asked to bring small toys such as dolls, balls, flashlights, hand-held games and personal hygiene items such as soap, wash clothes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs and hairbrushes but remember nothing liquid.  There are collection boxes both in the sanctuary and in Fellowship Hall.

Collection week in November is quickly approaching and I will definitely need help that week.  Due to my recent surgery, I can’t do some of the manual work that goes along with collection week.  So if you can help, please call me in the church office.  Your help, as always, is greatly appreciated.  Please keep this program in your prayers as we gear up for another great collection time.

Operation Christmas Child 2015 (aka It’s THAT Time Again!)

The pencils and crayons are bought.  The kids are back in school.  So now what are you going to do with all that “spare” time?   One suggestion might be to start shopping for your Operation Christmas Child boxes.  School supplies are on sale all over and you can get some really great bargains.

Even though our collection week last year was one of the best we’ve ever had, there’s always room for more boxes.   Each child who receives a shoebox also receives some gospel literature in his/her own language as well as a book called “The Greatest Journey” which tells them about Jesus and explains the road to salvation.  This not only impacts the child, but his family as well.

For the month of August/September we will be collecting school supplies as well as soap and washcloths.  October and November we will be asking for other personal items and small toys.  There are collection boxes in the sanctuary as well as Fellowship Hall for your donations.  Our youth will be packing your donations into shoeboxes right before collection week in November and they had a really good time last year doing this.    If you don’t have the time to go shopping, a donation is always welcome.

As we look at the state of children around the world and the poverty that some of them are living in as well as in the war-torn areas of the Middle East, Samaritan’s Purse takes these shoeboxes to children in these areas and shows them that someone clear around the world cares enough for them to pack a shoebox full of “presents”  just for them.

So, let’s get going and see how many lives we can change.   See Debbie Vanaman if you need any further info.  My all-time favorite shoebox saying is ….


Operation Christmas Child 2015

I know you’re thinking it’s way too early to start thinking about this but truly it’s not.  In August, every store in the area will be having school supplies on sale and it’s a great time to purchase those items and start filing your shoeboxes.

This project has grown and grown over the years and truly has been a blessing to the millions of children around the world who receive a shoebox in countries where Christianity has never been shared.  It costs around $20 to fill a shoebox plus the $7 shipping but what an impact this has.  The items along with the literature placed in the box by Samaritan’s Purse called “The Greatest Journey” may be the only “gift” a child has ever received and to have that gift share the name of Jesus is truly an awesome way to spread the name of Jesus around the word.

So, let’s get started early and see how many shoeboxes you can fill this year.  While it’s not all about numbers, it’s about changing lives and reaching out to children and their families showing them the love of God and it’s all done one shoebox at a time.  We can change the world through the power of Operation Christmas Child but it all starts with you.

Shoeboxes 2014 – A Final Report

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away in Ikes Fork, West Virginia a lady dreamed of making life better for children around the world.   So she set out on a journey to collect items such as school supplies, personal items and a toy or two.   She walked up and down the coal hollers in her community and through the generosity of those neighbors, her collection grew and grew until her tiny house could hold it no more and thus Operation Christmas Child was born.

Twenty years later,  Mary Dameron’s dreams of making life better for children around the world has grown even more and after meeting with and partnering with Samaritan’s Purse children around the world are not only receiving a small box filled with all kinds of goodies but also a book in their own language that shares the message of Jesus Christ.

This year has had its high’s and low’s but we won’t talk about lows.   We opened our collection center last Monday morning and by 3:30 that afternoon we had taken in over 1100 shoeboxes from local churches.   Then the rain, cold, ice and snow came but that didn’t dampen the spirits of our collection center workers.   We’ve laughed and ate and laughed and ate some more and somewhere in there even managed to pack some shoebox cartons.     I want to thank everyone who volunteered last at our collection center.  You guys and gals are totally awesome.

Then came the task of loading the Helping Hands truck with those heavy cartons and boy were they heavy.  A special thank you to those strong armed men and women who helped.

When it was all said, done and delivered 2,980 shoeboxes were collected from over 50 area churches and organizations.   This was a phenomenal task that could not have been accomplished without your support and prayers.   Please keep OCC in your prayers throughout 2015 as they spread the word of Jesus through the power of a shoebox to children around the world.   Remember – it’s never too early to start buying for next year !!!

Operation Christmas Child

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s November and shoeboxes are starting to arrive here at FBC.  Even though collection week doesn’t start until November 17th, your generosity in sharing God’s love to children around the world is truly awesome.  But we’re not finished yet.  We need one final huge push to hit the national goal of 10 million (yes that’s right 10 million) shoeboxes.   West Virginia always has a huge contribution and I am confident that this year will be no different.

On Sunday evening, Nov. 2nd at 6:00 p.m. up on the 3rd floor we will be having a shoebox packing party to pack the items that you have donated into shoeboxes.    We could always use another pair of hands.

As I said collection week starts November 17th and runs through November 24th.  During this week, I may need some help in the evenings packing up cartons. (I’ll give a shout out via email and text message if help is needed.)    If all goes according to plan, we will load up the boxes that have been collected on Saturday, November 22nd – time to be announced.  This is where I need the strong muscles of FBC.  These cartons can be heavy but with enough hands,  it usually goes smoothly.

It truly amazes me each and every year how the people of Beckley and Raleigh County come together and help spread God’s love around the world.   On behalf of myself and the Southern West Virginia team of OCC, I want to thank you in advance for packing a shoebox, working the collection center, packing cartons or loading our truck.  Without your help, prayers and your support, this mission would not be a success each and every year.

You have the Power to Change the World Through a Shoebox

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s October, fall has officially begun and shoeboxes is in full swing again this year.   Your donations of school supplies and personal items were tremendous.   For the month of October, we will continue to collect personal items and will also be collecting small toys (stuffed toys, trucks, flashlights, & batteries, etc).  These can be left in the large Samaritan’s Purse cartons located in the sanctuary and also in fellowship hall

One of our OCC staff people went on a mission trip last year to Haiti and she shared a story with us.  They arrived at a local church to find over 300 children waiting for them.  They gathered them all inside, told them why they were there to talk about Jesus and to present them with a special gift.  When they started counting heads and shoeboxes, they realized they only had half the boxes they needed.  So they had to divide them into the group that would be getting a box and those that wouldn’t.  It broke their hearts to have to tell these children that they would not be getting a shoebox that day.  Luckily (or maybe how God planned it)  several weeks later after they had left a second shipment of shoeboxes came in and those children were given their boxes.   This is why it’s so important to support this ministry both with your boxes and your prayers.

A church-wide packing party is in the planning stages at this point to pack our shoeboxes – Remember I asked for 75 boxes.  I’ll keep you posted on the date. I will also be asking for some helping hands during collection week to receive and pack shoeboxes as they come in.   Don’t wait for me to ask you – ask me how you can help.   You can catch me in the church office any day or call the office at 304-253-4252 and leave a message for me.  As always, thanks for your support and continue prayers for this ministry.

This is why we do what we do

This is why we do what we do.

“After one distribution event in Lithuania, one young woman came up to us and told us that she had received a shoebox in the same place ten years ago. She hardly could hold her tears back because the event and the shoebox she received at that time made a great impact in her life. Her parents would not allow her to go to church, but she would read the booklet ‘The Greatest Gift of All’ and pray to Jesus. This year she came to the OCC event with her child and decided to join the local church.”

We will be collecting school supplies and personal items such as soap, washcloths, toothbrush & toothpaste during the month of  September.

We will use these donations to create 75 extra shoeboxes.

Last year you stepped up when you were challenged and we did 50 plus.  I know we can meet and surpass this goal.   There are large Samaritan’s Purse cartons in the sanctuary and in Fellowship Hall for your donations.

So let’s start shopping and help change a child’s life.

Putting Feet to Operation Christmas Child

by Debbie Vanaman

Your feet are needed – actually it’s the shoeboxes that I need.

While you’re doing your summer cleaning or if you purchased any summer shoes and have the empty shoeboxes, please bring them to the church office.

We’re going to have the youth wrap them and we’ll be filling them later in the year.  So clean out those closets and help spread the name of Jesus to children around the world through shoeboxes.

Also hit the back to school sales in August for school supplies.                                                     

Look for more details in the August bulletin.