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Taking Part in Operation Christmas Child

Scenes from the Operation Christmas Child packing party at MC.
Scenes from the Operation Christmas Child packing party at MC.

For 25 years, the Operation Christmas Child ministry has delivered gifts to 157 million children around the world.

Holiday season gifts are now reaching children in 160 nations. It’s been possible through the partnership between the Samaritan’s Purse Christian international relief organization and many churches. Mississippi College is part of the global initiative for the sixth year in a row.

Sharing God’s love through shoebox gifts traveling across the globe sends a powerful message. The boxes are packed with fun toys, soccer balls, school supplies, hygiene items along with prayers spreading the Gospel to children.

Mississippi College students participated in Operation Christmas Child’s national collection week November 12-19.

Participating in the Operation Christmas Child packing party was a blessing to Olivia Garrett, 19, of Brandon.

The elementary education major shot photos of the activity in Anderson Hall. It was a joy seeing college students unite around a cause to help children they will never know, Garrett said. “This is such a great cause because it gives the opportunity for Christ to be shared in so many other nations.”

Operation Christmas Child, she said, shows “how easy it is as college students to impact the world. This is definitely one of my favorite events of the year.”

This Fall, MC students collected 158 shoeboxes. As they organized the gift items, School of Education Dean Cindy Melton stopped by to read the Christmas story.

“Dr. Melton helped everyone focus on the purpose of packing boxes and sending the gospel across the world,” said Beth Masters, director of Christian Life & Ministries.

During the event, MC sophomore Chris Williams spoke of his time on the mission field over the summer. He visited with children and teens who received Operation Christmas Child boxes. One of the boxes for a 13-year-old girl contained a copy of the New Testament. The gift led to a small church being planted.

Mississippi College’s boxes will be shipped to an Atlanta processing center. Several MC students will work at the Georgia facility before the packages are mailed overseas. Typically, it costs $9 to buy gifts in each shoebox.

Franklin Graham serves as president of Boone, North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse. The non-profit’s website is loaded with Operation Christmas Child success stories.

One Christmas, an 8-year-old girl named Felisha on the island of Trinidad received a shoebox gift filled with a doll, stationery, socks and a teddy bear. As a result of her shoebox gift, she began attending church with a friend in a neighboring village. Felisha’s sister received a shoebox gift the following year. Since then, each member of the family accepted Christ as their Lord, the website stated.

The ministry began in 1993 after Graham received a phone call from a man in England seeking his assistance with Christmas gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia.