Christmas is right around the corner and we can practically smell the Peppermint Mocha Lattes all the way in the DR. For some people, this is a tell-tale sign that Christmas is coming. For others, it might be the big Christmas trees that make their way into the floor-sets of all the department stores sometime in October. For the Wise Men, it was a certain, special star. But for us, we know Christmas is coming with three simple, precious words.
"Y Las Cajas?" And the boxes?
The Bread of Life kiddos don't know what their Christmas gifts will look like every year. Will it be a small plastic box or a cardboard one? Will it be wrapped with fun paper or come with their picture taped to the front? Or both? The insides of the boxes are a surprise too. Will they find a baseball glove or a barbie doll? School supplies or a toothbrush? Will they find the white socks their teacher said they needed to have if they wanted to go back to school in January? It's all a fun, anticipated mystery. The one thing that they do know for sure is that their boxes are coming.
We wish we had the same confidence. Every year, it gets harder and harder to get these precious boxes all the way to the DR. This past year, the boxes didn't arrive until July! But as we sat in circles with each age group, the kids shaking with anticipation and glee, we had the opportunity to share something pretty special.
"You know, the boxes might seem a little late this year. But this is why. God had to do so much to get these boxes here to you! First, he had to whisper in the ear of somebody all the way in another country. Then that person had to go buy these special gifts and pack them with love. Next they had to mail them and collect them and mail them again! Finally, the boxes got loaded up on an airplane where they flew all the way across the ocean to make it here today. You see, God loves you so much that he wanted to send you this special gift, even if it had to go all the way across the ocean. Isn't this such a good reminder of another good gift that God sent us from far away? His son Jesus."
Shoeboxes are important. Shoeboxes are special. And shoeboxes are so, so good. Here's three reasons why you should pack a shoebox this year:
1. Pack a Shoebox so a child will receive a gift:
This might see like an obvious one, but shoeboxes are first and foremost, a gift! This is many times the only gift these children will receive this year. They are highly anticipated and very beloved. Each year, when we updated the profiles on the children for their sponsors, we ask different questions. One year, the question was "What is your most prized possession?" My shoebox. My Bible that I got in my Shoebox. My baseball glove and baseball from my shoebox. Another year, we had the question "What is your favorite memory at Bread of Life?" Shoebox day. Shoebox Day. Shoebox day. The kids never stop talking about past shoeboxes or looking forward to future ones. They are so aware of this big blessing coming this way that they can't help but share about it.
2. Pack a Shoebox so a child will have necessary life supplies:
While most of the shoebox is full of toys, games, and treats, there is always room for helpful supplies. This is a great opportunity to bless these kids with hygiene supplies like soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, and more. Another area of need is school supplies. At halfway through the school year, many students are running out of supplies and will be turned away if they aren't restocked by January. Consider adding pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, or white socks. By sending a shoebox, you are also helping contribute to that child's well being, health, and education.
3. Pack a Shoebox so a child will grow a relationship:
Christmas shoeboxes can help kids grow in a couple important relationships. Firstly, yours! If you sponsor a child at BOL, this is a big opportunity to get to know them better. Send a letter or a family photo in your box. The kids love knowing who is sending them this special gift. Secondly, ours! The shoeboxes helps grow relationships between our ministry and the children. It is an exciting event that allows us an opportunity to bless the children and share the gospel with them. That leads to the third relationship: Theirs. The most important relationship of all. All of our boxes are presented with the gospel, plain and simple. We are going to introduce the kids to true JOY this holiday season, the type that can only come from Jesus Himself. By packing a shoebox, you could be helping impact eternity for this child. Pretty amazing, right?
You might be wondering now what you can do. Check out this link for info on sending a shoebox, ideas for boxes, and where/when to send them. Thank you for your partnership in this special celebration.