A Game of Numbers
Over the past several years we have been packing shoeboxes. Each year we have set a goal and I have fearfully told you what that goal was. Each year, I have looked at your faces as I announced the goal and you have looked back at me with disbelief on your faces. Yet each year, with God’s help we have met the goal and then some. In 2016 we hoped to pack 200 boxes and packed 200+, we doubled that for 2017 with 400+ and doubled it again in 2018 with 800+.
Yesterday, I was afraid to tell you the goal for this year. I had delayed telling you because of fear but God tells us over and over again “Do not be afraid”. In fact, my favorite bible story comes from Matthew Chapter 14. Jesus has sent the disciples ahead of him in a boat while he prays. Later that night as the boat is being buffeted by the wind and the waves, Jesus comes to them, walking on the water. At first, they are afraid and think he is a ghost, but he says, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter replies, “If it’s really you tell me to come to you over the water” and Jesus simply says “Come.” Peter climbs out of the boat and, keeping his eyes on Jesus begins to walk across the water to Him but the moment he takes his eyes off Jesus and looks down at the waves, the fear returns, and he begins to sink. Jesus reaches out his hand, catches Peter and (sadly, it seems to me) says “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
I surprised when I looked up the story of Jesus and Peter (Matt 14:22-32) so I could tell you where to find it, that immediately before it (Matt 14:13-21) is the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 with a couple of fishes and five loaves of bread. I know this congregation through my work with this ministry. I know your kindness and your generosity. I cannot tell you how many times over the years things have come to me out of the blue. Someone’s work gives a stack of tote bags, someone’s child/grandchild donates all their stuffed animals, someone works for a dentist and gives a box of toothbrushes. Last year we had a donation of craft kits from the children’s ministry. God has a way of providing for His people.
So with trembling hands and pounding heart I stepped out of the boat again yesterday and told you all that we will pack 2000 boxes in 2019 for God’s glory and the glory of His son. I have a plan (although I am certain God’s plan is better) which you will find on the next page. I invite you to step out of the boat with me and keep your eyes on Jesus and I ask each of you to give a little so that together we can give a lot. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, I know we will be successful.
In His service, Jennifer
What can you do with $10.00? Read this months Operation Christmas Child and then use it to buy the following:
Each week January 27 through February 10:
Walmart: 1 plastic shoebox $ 0.97
1 Mainstays 18 washcloths $ 3.97
1 pkg 6 adult toothbrushes $ 1.00
Dollar General:1 pkg Palmolive 3 count soap $ 1.00
1 pkg 12 count combs $ 1.00
1 pkg 3 mini notebooks $ 1.00
Plus 7 % tax $9.56
Bring your purchases to church on Sunday!
For more than 20 years, Susing had prayed for the people in her village in the Philippines. Most everyone in the village belonged to a cult, led by a false leader. Susing’s parents disapproved of her faith in Jesus and her mother used to beat her because she was a believer.
When the Pastor from a nearby village asked if he could bring shoeboxes, it seemed to be the answer to Susing’s prayers.
More than 40 children in the village who participated in the Greatest Journey have prayed to receive Jesus. They are sharing their faith with their parents. Many in the village, including Susing’s father, the village chief, and two of her children, have come to know Christ as a result. Many more have left the cult. One child, Mylin, was saved and now spends her time reading the bible to her mother, Bibit, who is illiterate. Bibit, too, was saved.
There have been other changes in the village too. Alcoholism is less prevalent. Children obey their parents, are kind to their siblings and they obey in school. Pastor Ramos still comes each week to teach Sunday school to young and old alike. All from the gift of a shoebox.
I was astonished last year to learn that with every one hundred shoeboxes handed out through samaritan’s Purse, 14 children are saved. Each of those children often then becomes the tool that God uses to save others in their family, school, or village. So much can happen through a simple shoe box.
About 30 of Santa’s elves were hard at work on the morning of November 10th packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Our congregation once again exceeded this years expectations by packing a total of 855 boxes.
Thanks to everyone who came out to pack and fellowship! And a special THANK YOU to Jennifer Wisniewski for organizing this outreach for our church. You are awesome!