It’s much more than a pretty package. Each box that is donated to Operation Christmas Child is a gateway to the gospel for a child in need. OCC demonstrates God’s love by providing gift-filled shoeboxes to impoverished children around the world.
A few years ago, members of Watermark's External Focus team traveled to a remote village in Ecuador to get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens when kids receive their boxes! It was great to see exactly how our participation can spread real hope to children.
Here’s what we learned:
- Building relationships. Boxes are delivered to churches with ongoing relationships with Operation Christmas Child. In Ecuador, the local pastor we met had been persecuted for his evangelistic work, and many villagers were fearful of his church. OCC was a valuable tool in breaking down barriers between the church and the community.
- A little box is a big deal! Celebration, singing, and dancing began as 70+ kids greeted the Operation Christmas Child team. At every OCC event, children hear about the grace available to them through Jesus Christ.
- “5…4…3…2…1…” The kids count down and cheer as they open the packages. Each child receives a shoebox filled specifically for their age and gender.
- The personal touch. Many kids were excited to get personal notes and photos from the person who sent the shoebox. Another favorite: gifts sent in a plastic box (often the only toy box the child will own).
- Introducing the greatest Gift of all. The Greatest Gift, a book presenting the gospel in the child’s language, is placed by OCC in each Box. Afterwards, a 12-week discipleship class for kids begins. In addition, OCC also trains local pastors in discipleship.
The Watermark team came away with a deeper appreciation of how God can use something as small as a gift box to change a life. OCC delivers boxes throughout the year to remote places where few have ever heard the gospel. Since 1993, more than one hundred million boxes have been delivered.