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The power of a simple gift is one of the most amazing powers there is. From China to Peru, Samaritan’s Purse has been busy sending shoebox gifts to hurting and poor children. Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has delivered more than 61 million shoebox gifts to boys and girls in 130 nations. Because of this program, children and their families all over the world are impacted and find hope through Jesus.
My church, Shelby Christian Church in Shelbyville, has participated in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Program since 1994. For 15 years, Shelby Christian Church has helped touch the lives of children all over the world including Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and the United States. Not only do the members of Shelby Christian Church fill and collect shoe boxes, but the church also serves as a drop-off location for the surrounding counties. Vicky Prewitt is the area coordinator for the Shelby Christian Church location. She said, “The way I feel knowing that some of these children have never even had Christmas before is sad. These children hardly have anything.” As area coordinator, Mrs. Prewitt is responsible for sending out information on the program, coordinating drop off and preparing the boxes to go to another location. Last year my family helped pack the shoe boxes into larger shipping boxes. The church’s student ministry loaded up the big boxes into a moving truck that took the boxes to Louisville. From there, the boxes were sorted by boy or girl and age and sent to North Carolina. They are sent to children all over the world. Last year our church collected more than 1,600 boxes! Wow! That’s amazing! I know this year we can collect over 2,000 with your help. Every year it is a tradition for me and my family to fill quality shoe boxes. Some of the items that we buy to fill the boxes are toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, washcloths, underwear, hair brushes, hair barrettes, small toys, school supplies and hard candy. In the boxes, we also include hand written letters telling the child about ourselves and how much Jesus loves and cares about them. We haven’t received a letter back yet, but Mrs. Prewitt has received a few. She said a girl from Zimbabwe wrote her a letter and said she likes to read and write and does not like people who lie and she was glad to have an American friend. Upon the research of the impact of the Operation Christmas Child program, I discovered a Serbian girl named Ivana who had had a very hard life. When she was 3 years old, her mother left Ivana and her 13-year-old sister in the care of their alcoholic father. They were taken later to an orphanage. Times got worse when Ivana and her sister were separated. She was so sad she didn’t want to talk to anyone. She was put in the hospital and received counseling and that didn’t even help. Ivana could not tell the counselor what was wrong with her because she did not know herself. She thought she was not important and she tried to end her life. Life began to improve for the broken hearted Ivana in 2000. Just a few weeks after she left the hospital, the Operation Christmas Child program came to her orphanage with gift-filled shoeboxes. Because of the shoebox delivery, she met some Christians who cared about her and became her friends. This really changed Ivana’s life and after many years, she finally felt loved and important. A Peruvian girl names Rose Marie has always dreamed of a real doll. After a really bad earthquake in August 2007, it destroyed hundreds of homes. Rose Marie received a shoebox with a doll with wavy blonde hair and stylish clothes. Rose Maria said, “As soon as I got off the bus, I ran the rest of the way home and told my mom. Now I have a real doll.” She was crying and laughing at the same time. I really enjoy packing a shoebox because I know that it will reach a needy child who has possibly been through an earthquake, left by a parent, who lives in an orphanage or much worse. These children need your help! ou may be wondering how you can help. Well, you can start by going to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/ or by contacting Mrs. Prewitt or Shelby Christian Church at 502-633-5975. This year’s collection will be Monday through Sunay, but you can start bringing in your boxes to Shelby Christian anytime. Also, if you would like to help pack the big shipping boxes, you can call the church. Remember, the simple act of kindness can change a child’s life forever. you can make a difference. Nancy Clark, 11, is the daughter of De’Anna and Alan Clark of Shelbyville.