– Stay updated on current information from our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Landing Page, including specific COVID-19 updates.
– Another great option to share God’s love is to build a shoebox online. It’s a convenient and personal way to give shoebox gifts directly from home.
– Listen and learn more about Operation Christmas Child from previous On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse podcast episodes “Operation Christmas Child in Ecuador” and “Processing Center for Operation Christmas Child”.
– Want to know more about our work in Sudan? Read how Samaritan’s Purse Joins Fight Against COVID-19 in Sudan.
Although COVID-19 has disrupted many things, it has not stopped Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse has shifted its processes to continue sending gift-filled shoeboxes to kids around the world. In this informative episode, Kristy Graham takes you behind the scenes to hear how leadership, staff, and volunteers are praying over the 2020 season and preparing to send millions of shoeboxes to children around the world.
The episode opens with sounds of an Operation Christmas Child distribution from 2019. Kristy and the podcast team traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to experience the joy radiating from boys and girls opening their shoebox gifts. Although parts of the ministry may operate differently due to the pandemic, Samaritan’s Purse is determined to continue delivering joy through Operation Christmas Child.
“The ministry is doing its best to equip every moving part in order to send shoeboxes to children around the world.” – Kristy Graham
Kristy’s first guest in the episode is Randy Riddle, the senior director of Operation Christmas Child domestic. Throughout their conversation, Randy gives updates of how the ministry is navigating COVID-19 guidelines and developing contingency plans. He also reflects on God’s faithfulness over the years. God’s hand has guided the ministry through difficult years before like Hurricane Katrina, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the economic downturn in 2008. Yet, through those seemingly impossible years, God made a way. Randy reiterates the same message: children always need hope.
Operation Christmas Child will continue to operate under the guidance of local authorities around the world—monitoring local, state and national guidelines and making adjustments as needed. They are prepping for various scenarios and ready to implement multiple contingency plans. One great option to share God’s love is to build a shoebox online. It’s a convenient and personal way to give shoebox gifts directly from home. You make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, then adding a letter and a photo. Then, Operation Christmas Child packs it for you and delivers it to a child in need.
Kristy then shares a conversation with Amie and Jody Winstead, project leaders from Tennessee. From organizing events, packing shoeboxes, and sending out impact stories, their role is to spearhead Operation Christmas Child in their community. Amie and Jody dive deeper into their dedication to reach their congregation’s personal goal of 1,500 shoeboxes. Tune in to hear their creative ways to fill shoeboxes with homemade gifts.
“That precious little shoebox is hope and light in the darkness. It’s not just school supplies and not just toys, but it’s going with the Gospel of Jesus. Kids are hearing His name, some for the very first time.” – Amie Winstead, Project Leader
The last guest is Simeon, a national leadership team coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Burundi. The ministry in Burundi started with one container of shoeboxes in 2008, and this past year had 27 containers, which is 198,237 shoebox gifts. In total, nearly one million shoebox gifts have been given in Burundi, and last year alone, over 101,000 children enrolled in The Greatest Journey discipleship program. That’s 20 percent of all children ages 0-14 in Burundi. Simeon explains how important it is for the children to receive shoeboxes.
“A shoebox is a tool to introduce the Gospel. This tool will help them start a long journey—an eternal journey—leading people to Christ. Even more than this, they’ll be discipled as well.” – Simeon, National Leadership Team Coordinator
The episode wraps with specific prayer requests from different parts of the Operation Christmas Child ministry, and an update about Samaritan’s Purse work in Sudan. Please continue to pray for God’s abundance through Operation Christmas Child and the work of Samaritan’s Purse.