It is now March and Christmas should be a distant memory to me but you know what? Christmas never really leaves my mind, the whole year through I am thinking about and planning for the next Operation Christmas Child shoe box collection. All those party bag toys and duplicate presents that the kids receive go into a cupboard and get kept ready. When I am shopping and I spot the supermarket has a pack of biro's on special for 20p I pick up 10 packs and I save them. This kind of awareness is what saves me money and means that I can easily make at least 5 boxes from just our family.
I do fully realise that this charitable initiative is one that people either seem to love or hate and you know which camp I stand in. As a Christian Mum I want every child in the world to know that Jesus loves them and to feel the joy at receiving a shoe box full of small gifts that might be the only thing they receive for a very long time.
Each year I co-ordinate a collection at my kids school and I pray this year will be no different. I loved the development last year that OCC now email you to advise you where your box has been delivered to and you are even able to watch video or live streaming of the children receiving those shoe boxes. The last collection made from our school was delivered to Swaziland and knowing this in advance meant we could pack the parcels with country appropriate items such as sun hats and no jelly sweets. Take a look here to see when the boxes arrived with the children in Kaphunga.
I hear so many objections from people in regard to OCC shoebox deliveries and normally they fall into two categories; the first being that people do not like that Samaritan's Purse is a Christian charity which does not hide its aim of delivering the gospel as well as gifts and the second is that why would we in the UK buy cheap toys that were produced abroad and then package them and send them to a different country again.
I think Nikola's story answers both of these objections. Firstly, many of the children receiving boxes are already part of the Church and are not being forced into Christianity as I have heard insinuated before and secondly those toys which we disregard so easily make the world of difference to a child that literally has nothing else.
Pay it forward is one of my most favourite concepts and Nikola is living proof that OCC helps those who once had no future offer hope and joy to others.
OCC aside, If we all looked for simple ways that we could give back for the blessings we have received life would be much better, don't you agree?