To say we’ve been busy would be an understatement… and yet, I just can’t figure out what’s making us so busy! I’m going to venture that it has something to do with four children, full time work, ministry, and just plain ‘ol life in a small community with a million needs.
We try to be wise about our “yeses” and have had our fair share of “nos.”
But this year, as we’ve been teaching our children about the impoverished around the world, participating in BFA’s annual Operation Christmas Child (OCC) packing party was a definite yes.
It started long before the packing party.
First, there were requests for shoe boxes. Somehow it seems that shoe boxes aren’t as easy to come by here. I was ecstatic when I walked into a local German business and the owner had some OCC boxes out with flyers. That was the first in three years that I’ve seen OCC related anything in the community. That’s not to say they aren’t out there… I just haven’t seen them. I asked if I could take a couple and she gladly let me. Otherwise, we have to visit local shoe stores and ask if we can take any extra boxes.
Second came the requests for item donations… things to put in the boxes. The little two and I had a blast shopping at our local version of the Dollar Store (only much better, in my opinion). We never “splurge” like we did that day… but I loved encouraging the generosity and others-thinking that my kids were excited about on our shopping trip. “Oooh, a little girl would love these socks, huh Mama?” “Can we send this?” (holding up a ginormous stuffed animal.) “It has to fit in the box, remember,” I said a bunch of times.
We left with a good few bags of things for the collection boxes.
Then came the actual packing party.
The kids began by filling in kid-friendly forms about who they are, where they live, etc. They could also add a few drawings to include with their box. Then came the packing of the box. One whole room was lined with items for the boxes. Each kid got a paper list with things that had to be included in the box… like a bar of soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc. Then, as we walked along, there were items specifically for girls, specifically for boys… even the socks and other clothing were categorized by age. So organized!
Once your box was full, you had to take it to the “Check In” table, where they made sure you had all of the mandatory items. Once approved, your box got a nice little sticker, rubber band, and a place on the pile ‘o gifts.
The pile ‘o gifts ended up being 116 boxes full. THAT’S SO COOL!!! At least four of those came from our packing skill. 🙂
I know my kids had a blast. And so did I. There’s something about knowing that, wherever you are in the world, you can be part of bringing a little light and happiness to someone else. Join us in praying for all of the kiddos who will be getting boxes in the next few months.
Jeremy and I have actually been a part of distributing Christmas boxes in Paraguay. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right people. We were able to translate the cards and notes to the children who received the boxes. It was a surreal moment to see that these boxes actually do make it to the kids… and to get to see their smiles and excitement first-hand was incredible.
It was a joy to continue this tradition here in Germany as well. For as many years as we’ve had kids (and probably even before we had kids), we’ve been packing boxes. Praise the Lord for opportunities to share what we have with others!