In Acts 8, Luke tells the story of Philip the Apostle’s encounter with an important Ethiopian government official. Philip helps the Ethiopian understand what the Scripture he’s reading says about Jesus Christ. Philip, as the story goes, was simply being obedient to Christ’s call to share his story with everyone he encountered. Philip took advantage of the opportunity to be bold that was presented to him.
In the same way, Watermark’s holiday Give & Go initiative again includes the opportunity to be part of our Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection. However, our work with OCC this year is far different from past years. There are small changes (like the color of the box) and big changes (like what you can - or can't - put inside).
We’re changing the model this year because our holiday theme for 2016 centers around connecting the Watermark body with the larger world. Yes, this means considering the thousands of immigrants from all over the world who are coming to our church and living in our city. But we also want to connect our body with some of the millions of people who will never make it to the U.S., by providing a small box of gifts for children in some of the darkest areas of the world.
The boxes this year are going where you and I cannot go and will reach people that you and I cannot reach, and they will do it in places that are especially difficult. Because it takes courage to go where there boxes are going, we’ve taken to calling them “Fearless Boxes.”
So, you might ask, what do I need to know to be part of this new version of Operation Christmas Child? Here you go:
- Where can I get a box, or can I use my own? This year everyone needs to use one of the special yellow boxes ("Fearless Boxes") available at Watermark. You can get one or more during all the worship services through December 4th. Because of these boxes' special mission, they can't be Christmas-colored and must be easily identified.
- When will we be collecting Fearless Boxes? In Dallas, Fearless Boxes can be dropped off anytime through Tuesday, December 6th. In Plano and Fort Worth, please bring your boxes no later than the worship services on Sunday, December 4th.
- Where are the boxes being sent? Because of the security of this particular mission, we can't write much online. But feel free to ask us at the booth when you pick up or turn in your box! But you can know that your box is going to some of the darkest areas of the world.
- What can I pack in the box? Please look at the brochure that is handed out with each box at Watermark for a list of items that can be included and cannot. There are a variety of items that can not be included in these special boxes, so please make sure to read the brochure carefully.
- Do I still need to pay the $7 shipping cost, how should I pay it, and where should I put it? There are costs of processing and shipping the Fearless Boxes, so there is still a requirement of a $7 donation with each box. Please place $7 in cash or a check made to Samaritan’s Purse. Please include your payment inside the boxes when dropping them off. Boxes cannot be tracked this year because of where they will be delivered, so there is no need to pay online. But if you do pay online, please place the receipt in the box so we’ll know you’ve paid for shipping.
- Can I post on social media? You can only talk in general terms about Watermark’s work with Operation Christmas Child this year. Talk about the “unique opportunity Watermark has” to send boxes to “places that we cannot go” and to “serve people in dark places.” Use our Operation Christmas Child page as a guide.
- Can I include letters or pictures? If you include a picture or letter it must not have any references to Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, the United States, etc., and pictures must not have any symbols for those things listed either. But rest assured - these boxes are being used to build relationship in the countries where they go.
- How do I learn more about OCC, or disciple my family through this opportunity? We have great guides for you! Find everything you need - including a Family Discipleship Guide - at our OCC page.
Watermark has committed to providing at least 5,000 Fearless Boxes this Christmas season. Please join us as we reach the world where we cannot go, just as we reach those from around the world who have come to our table here.
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