This year we have the privilege of being the Regional drop off location for all the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in the city.
The Ministry Centre will be open the week of November 18-24 to collect boxes during the following hours:
Monday - Thursday - 1:00-3:00 pm
Friday - Sunday 1:00-6:00 pm
We would ask that any boxes from Kamloops Alliance Church be returned by November 17.
Samaritan's Purse is also looking for other year-round volunteers including prayer teams and media relation teams. Download the brochure for more information.
For any questions or to sign up, contact Adam Kaufma at [email protected]
Interview with Robbie Down
Can you share about your experience with Operation Christmas Child?
Earlier this year in May, I got the opportunity to share the gospel in the Philippines. During this time, we were being billeted by a Christian School campus who deliver Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes in that area of San Jose on Mindoro Island. We first had to bring out all the boxes from the house into the truck. Driving to the neighbourhood we were going to deliver the boxes to, it was clear why this place was chosen. The roofs of the houses were caving in, the garbage and waste was building up so much you had to cover your mouth and nose, and the families were living on the smallest amounts of food and water I had ever seen. This place needed the Good News. We had all the kids sit down (about 60 in all) and started to share the story of the Good Shepherd. This was all translated slowly and simply into their beautiful language of Tagalog. We told them about the news of Jesus who died and rose again to set us free and give us eternal life with Him. After sharing the gospel we started the process of one-by-one handing out the boxes to the girls and boys. This was an incredible moment to witness. All these children receiving things like socks and soccer balls who were probably never going to receive any other gifts in their life. Yet their joy was simple and instilled in me a deep gratitude for so many things every day that I take for granted.
What was the most meaningful part for you?
Packing these shoe boxes I always thought I was the one giving the gift. What I learned is these kids who receive the boxes also continue to receive the gospel message for several weeks after they've been given the boxes. This made me realize the true gift they were receiving was the gift of Christ and this thin green and red box packed full of small gifts was the perfect way to deliver this message. Although these kids were thrilled to own colouring books and baseball caps, the life they were receiving through the gospel being preached was the real gift that we got to give.
What surprised you about serving with Operation Christmas Child?
I never thought about my self being a very good gift-giver. But I think this has changed. It was astounding to me that one of the most impactful parts of the experience giving these boxes was our presence. These kids didn't need us to come all the way just to give them a box, we could have just shipped it their way and off they go with their new Crayola markers. But as our team spent time with the kids, helping them pump up a soccer ball so they could whoop us at a round of soccer meant the world to them, and to us. Operation Christmas Child isn't just giving gifts, they are sending people out to share life and experiences with the children the boxes are going to.
How did this experience help you grow in your relationship with God?
Looking back on the experience with sharing these boxes, I didn't come back the same. I was hurting deep inside for those children and families. It hurt because I learned they lived with exceedingly less than I did, yet were so much more content. Our leader Katrina led us in all the processing we were going through and we learned that it doesn't help to feel bad about having lots and living in a first-world country. Instead, we ought to channel these emotions toward building deep gratitude for all that God has blessed us with and opening our hands to give more of what we have. God opened my eyes to the fact that I live in an incredibly small percentage of the world’s wealthiest, who have the ability to help provide opportunities in life that I wouldn't think twice about, such as school and travel. God also reminded me of the beauty of sharing the simple yet profound truth of the Gospel of Jesus and how His Holy Spirit moves when we do so.
What would you like to share with anyone thinking about participating in Operation Christmas Child?
If you're deciding whether or not to pack a shoebox this year, consider that you are sharing much more than just the box. You're sending the box to children that are living on very little, and the box is a tangible gift that opens up the opportunity to share the real gift of the life in Christ. When you pack this box, you're deciding to participate in the grand mission of all Christians to be salt and light to the earth.