Thursday, September 4, 2014
First Baptist Church in Murrells Inlet is one of many churches in the South Strand working to pack gift boxes for needy children overseas for Operation Christmas Child.
Chris Spires, pastor of the church said it is a great program.
“It takes a very physical gift around the world and allows people to share the story of Christ,” Spires said.
“It is a unique way to do ministry and it gives people a very tangible way to be part of something globally, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.”
His church is one of the drop-off locations for boxes filled with toys, clothing accessories, hygiene items, first aid items, school supplies, snacks and more.
They will be delivered in November to poor children in third world countries as part of an international Christian mission through Samaritan’s Purse.
In addition to delivering the gifts, missionaries 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.
The goal for the entire Operation Christmas Child mission is 10 million boxes and everyone is welcome to participate.
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 First Baptist Church in Murrells Inlet at 843-947-0847.
For more information on Operation Christmas Child please visit: www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.