Years and years and years ago, we learned about a ministry of the international relief agency Samaritan's Purse called "Operation Christmas Child." (OCC) Its premise was simple: Donors pack age- and gender-appropriate toys, gifts, and other items into shoe boxes that are then shipped and delivered to children in developing nations around the world. We opted into the ministry, and for years found great satisfaction in knowing that the simple items we packaged in the boxes brought joy and a word about the Gospel to children we'd never meet, but would know we blessed.
In 2018, FCCEM morphed from a congregation of shoe box donors to a congregation of donors AND recipients! For the first time we served as an official OCC drop-off center for the Quad Cities, which meant that we welcomed, noted, and packaged in large cartons the boxes other persons, groups, and churches brought as their OCC gifts. By the end of the eight day national collection week, we received more than 1,000 shoe boxes. Praise God!
We will serve as a drop-off center again in 2019, and we're looking forward to more great experiences. As the year progresses - in fact, coming within the next couple of weeks - we'll report ways for you to be involved in our OCC ministry, ways for you to bring joy to children, one shoe box at a time.
For now, here are some images of our OCC ministry in action: