Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Churches in Georgetown County are gearing up for another season of collecting items for Operation Christmas Child boxes.
These shoe boxes filled with toys, clothing accessories, hygiene items, first aid items, school supplies, snacks and more will be delivered in November to poor children in third world countries as part of an international Christian mission.
In addition to delivering the gifts, missionaries, coordinated by the parent organization Samaritan’s Purse, offer the children and their families a 12-week program including Bible studies in their native language.
Then the children are given the opportunity to accept Jesus as their lord. Carol Rogers, director of a relay center at Ringel Heights Baptist Church in Georgetown, said she is passionate about this mission and works all year to create boxes for the children.
“I grew up in poverty and experienced it first hand, so I know the hurt and disappointment and the need,” Rogers said.
“I start in January, checking sales and buying in bulk, especially after holidays when stores have sales.”
She has already packed 400 boxes with help from members of the church.
She starts by including toothpaste, a toothbrush, a bar of soap and a wash cloth for each box and then adds things like T-shirts, combs, brushes, toys and candy.
She said the Coastal South Carolina region’s goal is 18,000 boxes.
The goal for the entire Operation Christmas Child mission is 10 million boxes.
Kenny Johnson, pastor of Ringel Heights Baptist Church said he is proud that his church is so involved with this mission.
“This is so worthwhile that if we only did this one thing we would be responsible for sharing the Gospel with thousands of people every year,” Johnson said.
“It is exciting to have this ministry here to help get these boxes in the hands of the children who need them.”
He added that the boxes always seem to find the child who needs what is inside the most.
Wil Bradham, director of missions for the Southeast Baptist Association, has been involved with Operation Christmas Child for eight years.
His first experience with the mission was in Romania when he saw the shoe boxes being delivered to the children while serving as a missionary there.
“The children were elated,” Bradham stated.
“I don’t think any of them had received something like that before.”
After that experience, he decided to get involved with Operation Christmas Child.
“It is not just a shoebox gift, it is an opportunity to share the Gospel with the children and to give them the greatest gift, the gift of Christ,” Bradham said, adding that he would love to go and distribute the boxes and take part in the mission.
Diane Hutto, coordinator of the Coastal South Carolina Area for Operation Christmas Child, had the opportunity to participate in the distributing of boxes in the Philippines in May 2014.
“It was an incredible week of working alongside our Filipino brothers and sisters in Christ to deliver shoe box gifts,” Hutto stated.
“Our team participated in five distributions, handing out shoe box gifts to around 700 children. As expected, we were met with smiles, squeals, laughter and hugs!
“I experienced every emotion imaginable during this trip, but more importantly, I experienced the presence and the power of God. A total of 7,000 shoe boxes were distributed during the week by our teams.”
First Baptist Church of Georgetown will host a Coastal South Carolina team countdown celebration in the church’s gymnasium from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 27.
Rogers said they will provide information about preparing shoe boxes and there will be children’s activities.
National collection week will be from Nov. 17 to 24.
To find out how to participate locally, call Carol Rogers at 843-344-5947.
For more information on Operation Christmas Child please visit: www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.