Are you one of the brave who has ventured out onto the short-term mission field? I have many times, and it is a great experience, one I would highly recommend to you if you have not yet been. Or are you one of the majority and have no desire to leave the country, no matter what the cause? If that is the case, then keep reading to find put how to participate in foreign missions without leaving home.
That’s right; it is possible to impact the lives of children on the other side of the world with the good news of Jesus without a passport, airfare, or venomous snakes and scorpions. I bet you wonder how that is possible…well I’m glad you asked.
As a family we have participated in Operation Christmas Child over the years. It is a wonderful program run by Samaritan’s Purse.
The concept is as follows:
- Get a shoebox (regular or clear plastic type)
- Fill the shoebox with lots of great things a child would like. (Some examples would be school supplies, hot wheels cars, balls, yoyo, ball caps, socks, toiletries, toy jewelry, etc. )
- Write a short letter telling the child who you are… you may get a letter back! (optional)
- Drop off the box at the nearest drop off location. (it would be great for you to take on this project as a ministry or small group sponsored activity, then you become the drop off location for others!)
- (Visit the website for more suggestions, as well as a do not include list)
PRO TIP: use a plastic shoe box instead of cardboard. It may be slightly smaller, but it will serve as a storage container that lasts much longer than cardboard would.
Once collected the boxes are distributed to children all over the world, many of whom would not receive any Christmas gift if not for your generosity. Providing the gifts is a great introduction to tell the children about God’s love for them. When you first show that you care for their physical needs it is much more likely they will listen as you explain you have an answer for their spiritual needs. I have been in situations and had the privilege of handing a child a beanie baby toy that a child in the USA donated. Seeing the joy in their eyes is something I will never forget. They now have a toy to call their own. They don’t have to share. They can play with something other than a stick, a string, and a tin can (yes, those are considered toys in some parts of the world). The child on the receiving end knows without a doubt that you care for them and love them enough to give them something they don’t have. Can’t you see how easy it is to transition to how much more God loves them? One little toy can open their heart to the love of God.
And you don’t even have to leave the country. How can you say no to an opportunity like that? I encourage you to take on this project, or a similar one this year. The great thing is it can be done on a small or large-scale. Do it as a family or do it as a church. Either way, get involved. Fill a box. Change a life.
For more details visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ
If you have participated in this project before, or have been on a short-term missions trip let me know. I would love to hear your story.