Sending love around the globe



First Baptist Church is encouraging residents to participate in a mega-effort to show God’s love around the world.

“From jungles to deserts, megacities to remote villages, millions of people around the world have yet to hear the lifesaving Good News of Jesus Christ,” the Samaritan’s Purse website states. “Samaritan’s Purse is delivering Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children in some of these communities to share God’s love even to the ends of the earth.”

Since 1993, more than 198 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. The shoeboxes are delivered by camels, canoes and elephants to villages around the world.

First Baptist Church in Waynesboro is a drop-off site. Those wishing to participate may drop off shoeboxes with toys and other items. Empty shoeboxes are also available for those willing to fill them. The church has brochures giving information on how to pack them. All shoeboxes must be filled and dropped off at First Baptist between November 14-21 and should include $10 for shipping.

First Baptist’s Coordinator Anne Wright said the program is not just about distributing shoeboxes filled with toys and toiletries but is also about a discipleship program called the Greatest Journey. The 6-week program teaches children about God.

Pastors around the world host outreach events in places where people may not know Christ and invite them to follow Him. Other churches use the boxes as resources for outreach in orphanages and other at-risk areas. In many places, they also offer The Greatest Gift, a Gospel story booklet Samaritan’s Purse developed for shoebox recipients, and invite children to participate in The Greatest Journey discipleship program, according to the website.

“For many children, it is the first gift they have ever received,” Wright said. “It’s a wonderful ministry. I have a video that has a lot of the stories of children receiving shoeboxes and what it meant to them that people from the United States love them and cared about them. A lot of these go to refugee camps and places like that.”

As a result of what they learn in The Greatest Journey, boys and girls grow in Christ and share with friends and family. The students also invite others to their graduations where the Gospel is shared. This often brings parents, siblings and friends to accept Christ and become active members in the local church. Families are reached, churches grow, new churches are started and communities are transformed, the website states.

The First Baptist Church office hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More information about Samaritan’s purse and how to pack a shoebox is available at what-we-do/operation-christmas child/.

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