As the year-end holidays approach, we gather together with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks for the past year. An annual tradition for Christian Evangelical Church in Livingston during this season is to participate in Operation Christmas Child which is an outreach ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, a non-profit organization headed by Rev. Franklin Graham.
Our tradition started many years ago by two new members of our church who wanted to look beyond our front doorsteps and make an impact, however small, in the world. Coming across a flyer from Operation Christmas Child, the two members presented our church with the idea of packing shoeboxes for children in need with necessities and small toys. We were able to collect about 10 boxes that first year.
Fast forward, to November 2019, our church came together once again to participate in Operation Christmas Child and we packed and collected a total of 174 boxes! The process started with children from our Christian Service Brigade (our Teen ministry) who put together the actual boxes by folding and stacking the empty boxes neatly so they’re ready for filling. They also helped cut and tape labels onto the boxes for identifying the age group and gender of the box to be filled. Members of our church throughout the months of October and November, brought in items such as toothbrushes, combs, wash cloths, soap, pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks, stuffed animals, hair accessories and small toys. We had a great time forming an assembly line to fill the boxes. Adults, teens and even young kids helped out and were filled with excitement seeing the empty boxes get stuffed with the donated items. When we were done, we could see the abundance of boxes we put together by the huge stacks in our main sanctuary.
Before delivering the van load of boxes to the drop-off location, we prayed over the boxes. We asked for God to bless them and use them not just in providing children with some needed material items but also to provide them with a way to hear the good news of the love of God. This tradition started out small but through the years, it has become a joy to see God’s provision and blessing not just in the Operation Christmas Child ministry but also in our home church in Livingston. We will continue this annual tradition and pray for others to come and share the wonder of giving through this ministry.
For more information on Christian Evangelical Church in Livingston, please visit our website at www.ceclivingston.org.