Operation Christmas Child has delivered 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in the last 23 years and we are trusting God for another 100 million. Can we count on your support in 2013?
The world converged on Orlando this week, all for one purpose: to give God glory for His faithfulness in providing more than 100 million shoe boxes filled with simple gifts for children across the globe.
Operation Christmas Child volunteers from 102 countries, including about 1,500 from across the United States, gathered at the Orange County Convention Center with about 9,000 other attendees on Saturday night to celebrate the milestone, and to get inspired to lead the way in packing the next 100 million shoe box gifts.
Everyone Plays A Role
“It’s something God has done and we want to give Him the glory,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse.The special celebration included music by Michael W. Smith, Matthew West, Ricky Skaggs, the Tommy Coomes Band, Dennis Agajanian, and the African Children’s Choir.
Everyone involved with the event and concert—volunteers who collect shoe box gifts and ministry partners who distribute them, the musicians and the speakers—pointed out that the project’s success is due to the Lord’s faithfulness throughout the years.
With 100 million shoe boxes, we’ve had 100 million opportunities to share with an otherwise forgotten child about that gift of forgiveness [when Jesus died for our sins] that has changed our lives, and that is what we celebrate tonight,” said Matthew West, a Grammy-nominated musician who has traveled to Colombia and Panama to distribute shoe box gifts.
More Than Just A Shoebox
Cissie Graham Lynch, Franklin’s daughter, reminded the crowd that Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey are having an eternal impact, not only on children, but on entire communities.
It starts with a shoe box, and it can end with a church,” she said, describing a boy she learned of on a visit to Guyana. He enrolled in The Greatest Journey after receiving a shoe box gift, and after he graduated, he went home to share his newfound faith in Christ with his family and friends. As a result, a new church has been planted in his community.
Finally, Franklin Graham took the stage and reminded the crowd that Jesus died and rose again to save them from being separated from God for an eternity.
We’ve got to have faith like a child if we’re willing to believe and trust in God,” he said. “God wants to heal your heart.” As they celebrated, the crowd praised God for using such a simple means to heal the hearts of millions of children.