Baldwin (Wisc.) Christian Reformed Church increased its involvement in the annual Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoebox gift program this year by hosting a local workshop for other interested churches. The congregation is among the top five organizations in western Wisconsin for number of supplied boxes packed. Humanitarian mission Samaritan’s Purse runs the annual campaign, shipping gifts to show God’s love to children in more than 20 countries.
Billie Jo Korn, one of the coordinators of the program at Baldwin CRC, said she found out about the church’s ranking when the operation invited the church to host a workshop this fall.
“Area churches and individuals were invited to hear about OCC, what they do, who they reach, and how they reach them,” Korn said. “Literature and resources were available to help people if they were interested in pursuing this ministry or ways to improve if they are already involved.” Baldwin’s Sept. 12 workshop, attended by about 20 people, was part of a nationwide workshop event held throughout the U.S. by Operation Christmas Child.
Yves Dushime, a spokesperson for OCC, spoke at the Baldwin workshop, telling of his experience receiving a shoebox when he was 11 years old and living in a refugee camp in Togo after he and his family fled the Rwandan Genocide.
“Not only did Yves receive a shoebox, but 299 other children did as well,” Korn said. “As a result of these shoeboxes and hearing the gospel, hundreds of people in the nearby village gave their lives to Jesus Christ.”
Korn, who has been involved in packing boxes for over 20 years, said their congregation collects items all year long to fill the boxes. Every box includes a backpack or bag, school supplies, hygiene products, something to play with, and a book that helps to tell the story of Jesus and his love for all.
“Packing boxes is such a wonderful way to be a small part of sharing God’s love with as many children as OCC does every year,” Korn said. “This is another way to send out the word of God and his great love.”