Shoeboxes shipped to children in more than 100 nations bring them Christmas joy and delivers the Gospel.
Since 1993, gift-filled shoeboxes are the centerpiece of Operation Christmas Child. The outreach of Samaritan’s Purse is in the midst of its annual November 16-23 Collection Week.
Led by Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse for nearly three decades, its volunteers have delivered gifts to more than 157 million children.
From remote bush regions of Liberia to the Pacific Islands and Peru, shoeboxes stuffed with Christmas presents keep coming. People and churches supporting the non-profit ministry in Boone, North Carolina make it possible.
It’s a fall activity that Mississippi College students, faculty, and staff have embraced for years. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the activity didn’t fall victim to the health emergency.
Volunteers are masking up and practicing social distancing as they fill shoeboxes. Donations of $9 each will help ship the shoeboxes.
The boxes are packed with soccer balls, school supplies, stuffed animals, and hygiene items, along with prayers to spread the Gospel to children.
The Blue & Gold family is impacting the world. Mississippi College boxes will go to processing centers in cities like Atlanta and Dallas for shipment to distant nations.
Mississippi College staff member Lori Bobo is spending her 5th consecutive year supporting the Operation Christmas Child mission.
“This small act of generosity is an opportunity to spread the love of Jesus around the world through the simple gifts housed in a shoebox,” says Bobo, a Clinton resident. “The sheer joy on the faces of the children who receive these boxes is worth every moment dedicated to shopping, packing, and distributing the boxes.”
Each year, Lori spends a few days at the Dallas distribution center to process and pray over thousands of shoeboxes. The gifts are bound for children “whose hearts need Jesus,” says Bobo, coordinator of events with the Christian university’s public relations office.
The Brilla Boys soccer team, led by Coach Thomas Bobo, an MC graduate and Lori’s husband, recently filled boxes for the ministry. Each player from the squad in Clinton decorated the inside of the box, provided a soccer ball with a pump, and furnished the shipping fee. The Bobos gave the team shoebox filler items.
Franklin Graham began the ministry 27 years ago when a man in England telephoned him to enable children in war-torn Bosnia to receive Christmas gifts.
A member of First Baptist Church Clinton, Lori Bobo, is getting help with the project from a good friend. Amy Rowan, executive assistant to Bill Townsend, the MC vice president and general counsel, is once again supplying a helping hand. A member of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Amy is spending her sixth year volunteering with Operation Christmas Child.
Mandy Phillips, director of MC’s Baptist Student Union, is delighted to participate. “As our family prepared a box this year, it was a great teachable comment for our six-year-old son, Jack,” she said. BSU staff encourages students seeking to participate in connecting with their local churches. “Several churches in Clinton do a great job of facilitating this important ministry.”
Having lived and worked in West Africa, Mississippi College accounting professor Billy Morehead has seen children’s reactions to Christmas gifts in shoeboxes. “The joy on these kids’ faces (and those of their parents) is amazing!.”
More information about the Christian ministry can be found at www.samaritanpurse.org/