National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child will be Nov. 17-23 and Mathiston’s First Baptist Church will serve as the official Collection Center for all of the shoeboxes in Webster County.
“We are happy to be hosting the center again this year,” said Bro. Wade Stevens of FBC Mathiston. “This is a ministry that our church body has come to love, and a great opportunity to get families involved in ministering to the less fortunate. Many of our families involve their children in the process of packing the boxes. Faye Dewberry has really done a good job of organizing the drop off process, and many others have gotten involved in the work as well. I hope this is something that we are able to continue for years to come.”
As residents and church groups from around Webster County are invited to pack shoeboxes full of fun gifts, school supplies and other items for children around the world who may never experience the love of Christ or the joy of a Christmas present. Missionaries and volunteers distribute the shoebox gifts through the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief organization, followed by a special discipleship program called, The Greatest Gift, to share the love of Christ with each child receiving a shoebox. The discipleship program is taught on a child’s level in their own language.
But it begins with individuals, families and churches filling a shoebox. Faye Dewberry, OCC Collection Center Coordinator for Webster County, said shoeboxes can be dropped off at the office building of FBC Mathiston during the week of Nov. 17-23. This year’s goal is 4,000 shoeboxes at the Webster County Collection Center.
“When a church, group or someone brings their boxes by the Center, we welcome them and are thrilled they have chosen to serve God through this ministry,” Dewberry said. “Each child is special that receives a shoebox. They are shown God’s love thru this shoebox.”
According to Samaritan’s Purse International Relief organization, a small shoebox can have a big impact.
“What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal. Be a part of changing children’s lives all over the world in Jesus’ Name through the power of a simple gift with Operation Christmas Child,” according to Samaritan’s Purse.
With large groups and churches, collection center volunteers help unload the boxes and pray with each group that stops by. They put all of the shoeboxes into larger boxes (15 shoeboxes to box) for shipping purposes. Records are kept daily, with name or church and number of boxes. At the end of the collection week, volunteers take the shoeboxes to Columbus which is an Area Collection Center. From there, shoeboxes are sent to Atlanta, Ga., where they are distributed to children in over 100 countries.
Those packing boxes at the Webster County Collection Center, also make the trip to Atlanta, Ga. with a group just about every year.
“We go to Atlanta each year and work at the distribution center for three days,” Dewberry said. “This is the final step before the boxes go out to the different countries. We love this ministry because it is showing love to children who have nothing. God’s love is shared with each child that receives a box. Everyone that contributes anyway has a part in sharing God’s love.”
First Baptist Church of Eupora recently held their annual OCC packing party with about 647 shoeboxes packed from donations contributed throughout the year.
“It was so wonderful to see the excitement everyone showed being part of the packing party,” said Kathy Bailey, one of the organizers for the OCC Packing Party at First Baptist Church of Eupora. “This is such a great mission project of First Baptist Church of Eupora.”
Shellie Herring said she was so excited to be a member of FBC Eupora who has had the privilege of participating in Operation Christmas Child this year.
“This amazing ministry delivers boxes to needy children in over 100 countries around the world,” Herring said. “From supplying hygiene items, school supplies, and toys, to the most important reason to pack a box is that you may be the one to have the privilege of introducing a child to Jesus! Isn’t that what Christmas is really supposed to be about? The people at FBC set a goal of 500 shoeboxes and we have surpassed that! The family at this church is amazing! They have made scarves, hats, pillow dresses, purses, wallets, bracelets, and donated countless items, monetary donations and time! What an amazing church full of servants I get to work alongside of! May the Lord bless us to be able to send twice as many boxes next year! Thank you to everyone because it takes all of us to accomplish the goal of Christ!”
The Webster County Collection Center will be open
- Monday, Nov. 17 from 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.;
- Tuesday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. until noon;
- Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 3-6 p.m.;
- Thursday, Nov. 20 from 9 a.m. until noon and 1-4 p.m.;
- Friday, Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. until noon;
- Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9-11 a.m.;
- Sunday, Nov. 23 from 1-3 p.m.; and
- Monday, Nov. 24 from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
For more information about the Webster County Collection Center, contact FBC Mathiston at (662) 263-5323 or drop off shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child at the church office located at 24901 MS Hwy. 15, Mathiston. Be sure to ring the bell. For other drop-off locations, go to the website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and type in your zip code for the nearest Collection Center.
See this story in the November 12, 2014 edition of The Webster Progress Times at http://websterprogresstimes.com/2014/11/13/local-center-prepares-for-occ-collection-week/