The Greatest Gift
Junior Jennie Endersby explains the importance of Operation Christmas Child to her and to those that the program impacts.
On Reading Day Eve, a group of Davidson students and supporters of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Methodist College Fellowship spent four hours at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Charlotte. This trip was the culmination of several weeks’ work of preparation and packaging. Yet this type of work was a fun and refreshing break from the end-of-semester studies.
Operation Christmas Child is a Samaritan’s Purse organization that distributes gifts to kids across the globe who otherwise would not receive presents for Christmas. These gifts come in the form of shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene products, and other small items. In addition to the boxes, the kids receive “The Greatest Gift” booklet in their language that narrates some principal Bible stories. These kids can then choose to embark on a twelve-lesson Bible study, where they have the opportunity to learn about and accept Jesus as their Savior and receive a New Testament upon completion.
Personally, I have enjoyed packaging boxes for Operation Christmas Child ever since I heard about it three years ago. I respect that OCC is so meticulous, informed, and organized. At the processing center, every volunteer’s job is specific and necessary, from taping closed each box in an assembly line to bagging candy in a special station. In addition, each evening, the boxes in the center are prepared for two countries. Consequently, each box can be specifically inspected with those two places in mind. For example, boxes for some countries cannot include anything pig-related, such as a Winnie the Pooh toy, or anything bearing an American flag or the name USA. In general, food and chocolate, liquids, army-related toys, and money are taken out of boxes in order to protect the box and the child. However, I appreciate that these items are not thrown away but rather sorted and given to local shelters and charities. The money goes towards shipping the boxes. Moreover, one of my favorite parts of preparing for this event was shopping for boxes, putting them together, and personalizing each one with my own selected items for a specific gender and age. So I appreciate that rather than removing the specified articles, the inspectors must keep each box as they found it.
However, more important than the gifts themselves, these boxes instigate kids’ curiosity to discover the greatest gift of Christ’s sacrifice for humankind. As a result of the change in these kids’ lives, many of their friends and parents also start coming to church and eventually accept Christ. To know that each box has been made with love, prayed for, and knowledgeably inspected gives me faith that the box will bring nothing but good news to the child on the receiving end. I realize that our role in preparing these boxes is only the first step of this journey, but I thank God that I and other Davidson students and OCC volunteers can play any part in transforming not only these kids’ lives but possibly our own.
If you have any questions about the former article, contant Jennie here. For more information about Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse, visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/.