Posted by: Bay Presbyterian Church | March 22, 2010

Before Heading North: Pick up a Shoebox!


All year long it’s fun to think about Operation Christmas Child, as you pray for the children our 2009 boxes went to:  spiritual blessings your gifts are bringing, how much your gifts are being enjoyed, and the spiritual healing possible as children meet God by way of the printed lessons Samaritan’s Purse workers add to each box.  Maybe you’ve already begun to plan for next Christmas! 

Empty wrapped boxes are available now (did you see all the full wrapped boxes that have arrived already?!) for anyone who travels north soon, so that you can bring back the filled box next season. 

We’ll need more empty boxes, too; along with paper to pre-wrap some, and somebody to help!  Do you want to start blessing the children now, who will get our gifts later?  If you feel God calling you to be involved, please get in touch with Etta Mae Bates at 239-495-3658.

In 2009, Bay Presbyterian members contributed over 200 boxes of the 8.2 million delivered in 108 countries.  Florida boxes last year went generally to India, the Ukraine, or other countries.  Since 1993 when this ministry began, 77 million boxes have delighted children around the world.  We participate in an important ministry that helps little children come to know Jesus.  The story that follows (go to for the full version) illustrates what a difference each little shoe box can make in this world.


Click here to see more news stories about Operation Christmas Child.

ABC-affiliate station KLTV was at Fellowship Bible Church in Jacksonville, Texas, to hear 18-year-old Oksana Nelson talk about receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoe box in Russia nearly a decade ago.

Life in a Russian orphanage had been full of loneliness and despair for Oksana Nelson.

“It was very dull, very dark,” Oksana said in an interview with ABC-affiliate station KLTV. “It just seemed like there was no life in there.”

The children were fed bland starchy meals and given used clothing, which often didn’t fit.

But when Oksana was 8, American missionaries came to the orphanage. The visitors passed out something special to each child—a gift-filled shoe box.

She received dominoes and candy, and one item she particularly liked—mint-flavored toothpaste. But the most valuable item inside was a picture of the two children who had packed her box.

“I opened my box slowly and was overwhelmed by all of the gifts it held,” Oksana told the Weatherford Democrat newspaper. “It was so impacting seeing the faces of the two children in the photo that cared about someone they didn’t even know on the other side of the world.”

  Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world.

A year later, Oksana was adopted by an American family and moved to Weatherford, Texas. When she was in high school, Oksana’s church started collecting shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child.

She remembered the box she received in Russia—her first and only possession, and decided to get involved.

Oksana now speaks to churches, community groups, and schools about her experiences with Operation Christmas Child.

“One box equals one child equals one soul,” she said. “Every time I speak, I believe it affects more kids.”

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