PDT Staff Writer
The gymnasium of Cornerstone United Methodist Church was packed on Saturday in more ways than one. More than 400 people came to pack boxes for the 2013 Operation Christmas Child Packing Party.
Gaylene St. Leger Cox is a volunteer and helps with the coordination of Operation Christmas Child.
“Today we are delivering gospel opportunities in a shoe box. The shoe box is just the vehicle for the great commission for the message to truly hopeless and faithless children who don’t know about Jesus, who live in garbage dumps, who live on the streets, who live in orphanages,” St. Leger Cox said.
St. Leger Cox said the boxes contain information about the gospel message.
These are just simple gifts that will deliver that message. We are going to fill over 8,000 boxes today with people from all over the community,” St. Leger Cox said.
She said Cornerstone United Methodist Church has participated with the Operation Christmas Child project, but the event itself started in 1993.
“Since 1993, more than 103 million shoe boxes have been filled by people, not just in the United States, but people in Austrailia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Wales Canada, and a couple of more other countries, and the go on to 102 countries with The Greatest Gift of All story interpreted into 70 over languages,” St. Leger Cox said.
She said the Operation Christmas Child project is an extremely important event.
“It is important to give back, knowing that there are children who have absolutely nothing. They have no hope,” St. Leger Cox said.
She said the shoe boxes impact the lives of young people around the world. Go to samaritanspurse.org and there is a story of a young man in South Africa, whose entire family was killed, except for his aunt right in front of him.
St. Leger Cox said the South African boy’s life was changed when he received a shoe box from Operation Christmas Child.
“As a result, he learned that someone else loved him, even though it was a stranger from another country. He went to the prison and saw the man who killed his family and met the man, and forgave him,” St. Leger Cox said.
Olivia Lambert, 19, said she enjoys being a part of the OCC packing party.
“I have helped out with Operation Christmas Child for five years. A couple of years ago, I heard about an opportunity to go distribute boxes being a young person. It is called Spy Teams a program for Samaritan’s Purse youth,” she said.
Lambert she was selected along with 20 other young people to go to Mongolia to distribute shoe boxes to underprivileged kids.
“We split up into teams every day and go to distribution parties and actually hand the boxes to the children. It was a wonderful experience,” Lambert said.
Pastor John Jackson, of Gallipolis, was the guest speaker for the OCC event. Jackson served in the US Army for 33 years as a Chaplain and is now retired.
“I was asked to come and share my experience in Bosnia with those working here on this shoe box ministry. I had the privilege of passing shoe boxes out in Bosnia, and so I know for sure that these boxes go to people all over the world who need them,” Jackson said.
Jackson said the shoe boxes are an expression of caring.
“It is always important to let others know that you care for them. They need to know that God loves them. The things in these boxes are really important, such as the toothbrushes, and hats. In places like Haiti, the people are in need of things that are simple to us,” Jackson said.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.