The following post is one from my personal blog. It explains the importance of Operation Christmas Child in a way I can not duplicate. As a teacher, I am not meant to interject my faith into my teaching, so if my Christ Following thoughts offend you, you might not want to read this post. I will understand.
I have explained to my students that I would rather they buy gifts for and/or do things for others in lieu of buying gifts for me come Christmas time. In the past, I've shared different projects with my kids, and for the past two years, we've worked on Operation Christmas Child boxes.
OCC is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. It is a Christian organization, but the gifts do not only go to Christian children. In order for full disclosure, I must tell you that the organization does include Christian materials in each gift.
I understand if you choose to not take part in this project. I will be sending more information regarding this experience over the next few weeks including due dates for gifts and donations.
And, this one time, here is a post from my personal blog, published in September:
Late last summer, right at back-to-school time, I was stunned to learn of the sudden death of my blog friend's son. Jack Donaldson went out to play one afternoon when there was a break in days and days of rain, slipped into what was usually a tiny creek but now was a swiftly flowing body of water, and died.
I was debilitated by grief for my friend whom I only know via the internet. I had read all sorts of stories about Jack and his sister Margaret on their mom's blog, and I had only just viewed the back-to-school photos she posted.
Beyond prayer, I felt like I had no comfort to offer her. I needed to do something, but what?
In time, Anna asked for Jack to be remembered in gifts to Samaritan's Purse and especially to Jack's favorite charity, Operation Christmas Child. My class had excitedly put together a few boxes the previous year, and then last year with Jack in our hearts we packed up more. I did my own box, a box for an older boy. Anna guided me, when I asked, with ideas of things Jack would have liked himself or things he would have put in a box for a boy his age. In the box I included a note about Jack along with a picture of him.
Also late last summer, at the same time, my friend Jenn began in earnest her fundraising to adopt a child from Haiti. To say she has a heart for Haiti is an understatement. She very much would like to be a mom, and I helped her a bit in some of her efforts.
Stay with me now, please stay with me.
Last night, my friend Dori sent me a link to a Samaritan's Purse website, Opened this morning, it was a collection of pictures of children in Haiti receiving Operation Christmas Child boxes. She told me to scroll down to the photo of a child holding a Snoopy wrapped box. You see, at my Christmas in July party, I had covered our craft table with some blue Snoopy paper, and she thought she recognized it...
The photo from Samaritan's Purse
She was correct. It was the paper from the party, leftover from the paper I used to wrap the box I thought of as from Jack to "my" boy. (I know this is the box because I used a hinged shoebox, and you can see this one is hinged.)
I wept, I laughed, I shouted to call Brad into the office, I contacted Anna, I sent Jenn the link, I praised God! I went to school and smiled all day at the thought of it all.
Jack + OCC + Haiti = God at work. There is no other explanation.
There are links throughout this post, but this one is from Anna's blog--it's her eulogy for Jack, her beloved son who firmly believed in Luke 1:37.
With God, all things are possible.