Monday, November 14, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a program organized by Franklin Graham through Samaritan's Purse ministries.  Churches and other organizations ask their members to participate by taking a shoebox (or using the box they provide) and filling it with trinkets, toys, toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, bar soap), and candy.  These boxes are then sent to children around the world who might otherwise not receive a gift for Christmas.  The children who receive the gifts are also presented with the Gospel.

Our family decided to put a box together this year.  Brian and I wanted Addie to be very much a part of everything.  At 3 3/4 years old, she, like every other preschooler, loves receiving.  We wanted her to learn how to give as well.  We went out to dinner and explained to her that after we ate, we were going to go to the store to buy presents for a little boy or girl (we ended up doing a girl so Addie could relate better) who was not going to get presents for Christmas.  We shared with her that God had blessed her, and because of that, we needed to bless others.

I have never seen so much excitement from someone so young!

At the restaurant, Addie told our waitress that we were going to buy presents for "the boys and girls!"  The waitress assumed she was talking about "Toys for Tots" and said how nice it was that Addie was doing that.  We just smiled. 

As we left the restaurant, Addie kept making sure that it was time to go the store to buy presents.  We got to the store, and I wanted to cry from pride and joy as I saw the most giving, selfless little heart of my daughter shining through. 

"Mommy, I think the little girl will like this!"

"Oh, she needs this hat!" (A huge, yellow fireman's hat!)

"Let's buy this (huge toy that was four times too long for our shoebox) for her!"

Some things were tossed into our cart before we realized she had put them there (checkout was interesting!).  If she could have, she would have put the entire store into our little shoebox!

At one point, we passed some 2 liter sodas. "Oh, we can get this for her Daddy!"

Then as we passed some notepads, "We can get this for her Mommy!"  (I found it hilarious that she was picking out gifts for the "parents" based on what she sees from her own parents.)

Towards the end of our shopping trip, a store employee came up to us smiling.  "I have been listening to her since you walked in here.  She has made me smile.  I love hearing her talk!"

Brian explained to the woman about the Christmas boxes, as Addie's voice in the background continued, "She needs these erasers.  These markers are a great idea!  Mommy, she needs this dinosaur!" (The dinosaur made me laugh out loud!)

At the checkout the woman asked me if Addie went to Sunday school.  It turned out that she was a believer as well.  "If she (Addie) were in my Sunday school class, I would look forward to her coming every week!"  That made me so happy.

When we got home, Addie wanted to put our box together immediately.  Brian was trying to arrange everything in the box so it would fit properly.  However, when he was trying to find the next thing to put in the box, little hands would put some of the gifts inside throwing off his arrangement. 

This year, rather than enclosing our check to cover the cost of shipping, we decided to pay online so we could track our box to see where it ends up.  In years past, we never knew where our box went (not that Addie was old enough to understand), but this year, I think it will mean a lot to Addie to see where her little shoebox ends up.  We also filled out a worksheet that tells the little girl a little bit about Addie.  Brian sat with her while I was feeding Ian, and together they filled out the worksheet.

This Mommy's heart was so proud of her little girl.  I pray that she grows to be a giving person, not tight fisted or selfish.  Operation Christmas Child was a perfect place to start.


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