Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can a Shoe Box Change the World?

*Yes, this same post will be on both my blogs, just to make sure you read it! :)*

Yesterday marked the "2 months until Christmas" mark.  If you're one of my Type-A friends, you probably already have your list typed and your budget set.  You might even already have some gifts purchased.  If you're like me, you've probably thought about what to buy for whom, maybe you've discussed it with your spouse or other family members.  Or maybe you're a last-minute kind of shopper, who hopes to find some great deal on Christmas Eve.  But no matter who you are, chances are that whatever you buy, no matter how great a bargain you get, those gifts are not going to change the life of the recipient.  Two months from now, on December 26, we and our children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/friends will resume our normal activities after the Christmas festivities are over.  We might be excited over a new toy or book or purse or shoes.  But we will simply add them to the already excessive collection of things in our lives, and continue with life as usual. But for a child in a poverty-stricken country, a shoe box full of gifts, full of hope, can change their life.  And by changing the life of a child, you can change the world.  And it doesn't take much!  Through Operation Christmas Child (OCC), you can bless a child with gifts they would never otherwise receive.  They may have never even had a Christmas present before.  But what costs so little on our part, gives so much to those who have less than nothing.  Besides the gifts you send, OCC also includes a kid-friendly booklet explaining the Gospel in each box.  Entire families can receive Christ and have their lives changed by the power of the Gospel, all because of a shoe box.
So how does it work? 
It's so easy!  Just decide what age and gender child you want to bless, get a shoe box (or like-sized plastic container) and fill it with age appropriate gifts; things like school supplies, toothbrush and toothpaste, stickers, small toys, socks, hair bow/clips, soap, play doh, crayons, etc.  Pack it all up, (you can include a letter and picture of your family!) decorate it if you want, attach the OCC label marked with age and gender, and take it and $7 to your local collection site.  This is a great family activity that can easily become a favorite tradition.  Let your kids decide age/gender, take them shopping and let them choose some of the gifts.  OCC is a great way to teach kids about poverty, compassion, and generosity.  The Bible commands us to care for the poor, the orphans, and the widows.  If we are going to teach our children to follow Christ, this must be part of the lesson.  I encourage you, I challenge you, I beg you!!!!  Open your eyes to the world, open your hearts to the command of the Lord, and open your wallets to bless a child.  Visit  Read the stories.  Watch the videos.  Get a shoe box.    Change the world.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Well, it's been awhile!  And just in case you've missed it on facebook, I have a second blog about our adoption: heartswideopen-merissayusko.  Please check it out if you haven't already.  Anyway, back to this post...
This is not really the kind of blog I prefer to write.  You see, I do not like to admit when I am wrong.  I don't actually know anyone who does, but I really, REALLY despise it.  And that, my friends, is the very heart of the problem.  Today someone kindly (and I do mean that!) drew my attention to a glaring sin in my life.  I knew it was there, of course, and I have tried to curb it in other areas, but not in this one.  See, I have this giant character flaw that thinks that the way I would do something is naturally better than the way anyone else would do it.  It's hard for me to let someone else do something, because they might not do it the way I would, i.e. do as good of a job as I would.  In every situation, I seem to think that I can always do a better job, even if that's not necessarily true.  So I find myself picking apart everything, thinking about how I would do it, what's wrong with the way the other person did it, and how much better it would be if they just agreed with me, or did it my way.  And most of the time, no one ever knows.  No one but me and Jesus.  So to those of you I have mentally judged or criticized, I am sorry.  (Now I know that if I were you, reading this, I'd be thinking, "Oh, has she ever done that to me??" and get all paranoid.  So please don't do that.  If you really want to know, ask me, and I will be humble enough to answer honestly.)  Because humility is the answer to pride, which needs to be destroyed in me before it destroys me.