11_12_14occ.gif“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
                    - Bob Pierce’s

The most famous quote by Bob Pierce has opened eyes of many around the world.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief organization driven to help those who cannot help themselves. Bob Pierce founded the organization in 1970 after visiting suffering children in Korea. In 1973, he met the man who would eventually become his successor, Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham. Following Pierce’s death, Graham took the reins of Samaritan’s Purse and grew it into an international charity that helps people all over the globe who are in need.

Operation Christmas Child is one of the many programs the organization undertakes each year and one that has come to mean Christmas to many all around the world. Operation Christmas Child sends thousands of shoe boxes to children in need. The boxes contain items that are big or small enough to fit in an average size shoebox.

Green Springs Baptist Church in Fayetteville has been packing boxes for many years. On Dec. 11, church members will make their annual trek to the distribution center in Charlotte, N.C., to volunteer with countless others from across the state to prepare the boxes for their final shipment overseas. Each year, the members of the church rise to the challenge to pack one box per person in each household.

“My family has packed boxes for 20 years,” said Pastor Jeff Broadwell. “We make it a family thing by going shopping and picking out different toys. We get things that require no upkeep and no batteries.

“We throw away a lot of things in America and we also take a lot of things for granted. This is an opportunity to share what we have been blessed with, but most importantly the gospel,” he continued.

National collection week is Nov. 17 to 24. Operation Christmas Child will collect boxes from more than 4,000 drop-off sites in all 50 states, including Puerto Rico. The gifts, packed carefully in the colorful red and green shoe boxes will be delivered to children in more than 100 countries, touching six continents.

“Operation Christmas Child has brought our church home closer together spiritually. This has enabled us to operate as one body and share the things we have been given from God”, said Broadwell. “The letters we receive from the families thanking us for what we have sent in the boxes has made packing all the more enjoyable”, he said.

Green Springs Baptist Church has taken the first of many steps to promote and encourage this program. The surrounding communities of Fayetteville can do their part by donating on the Operation Christmas Child website or having a packing party. Donations on the website are just as important for this program because each box costs $7 to ship.

Packing parties can be a way for families to come together and experience the gift of giving during the holidays.

To pack a shoe box there are a few simple steps:
• Decide if you are packing your box for a boy or girl from ages 2 to 14.
• Fill the box with gifts, which can include toys (nothing to do with war or guns), candy (nothing that will melt), hygiene items like toothbrushes or combs or small items of clothing like socks and gloves. Be sure to include $7 to cover the shipping.
• Say a prayer for the child who will receive your box and write them a letter if you choose.
• Drop the box off to one of the designated donation locations.
There are numerous drop-off locations in Cumberland County, to find the one closest to you, visit the Samaritan’s Purse website at www.samaritanspurse.org. You will also find gift suggestions for the box online as well.

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