Joe Christian is Regional Director of Lower Midwest Region for Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child. The Lower Midwest Region includes Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Joe shares opportunities to get involved in this wonderful ministry to share Christ with the hurting children of the world. Joe and area volunteers encourage and mobilize the packing of shoeboxes by churches, groups, schools and individuals for the children. The shoeboxes are packed by gender in three age categories with school supplies, hygiene items and toys/small gifts appropriate for the age grouping. Anyone can participate by getting a shoebox and filling it for National Collection Week. National Collection Week is always the third week of November with several area churches serving as drop-off locations.
Joe encourages donors to find the nearest location by using the zip code locator at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations
In 2013, the Lower Midwest Region collected 520,855 shoeboxes which reflected a 14.4% increase over the previous year. The St. Louis and Mid-Eastern Missouri Team contributed 50,771 shoeboxes to that total, which reflected a 22% increase.
In 2014, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect 10 million shoebox gifts in 2014.
Since 1993, the ministry has collected more than 113 million boxes for children living with poverty, disease, war or natural disaster!
Joe Christian also discusses The Greatest Journey, the Operation Christmas Child discipleship program. Children receiving the shoebox and the gospel message, which is written in their native language, are invited to participate in a 12-week discipleship class taught by trained national teachers. The national pastors and missionaries are able to use these shoeboxes to reach children and families that they would not be able to otherwise reach. Joe shares impacting stories of how the gospel is reaching the world through the power of a simple shoebox.
(This is written by St. Louis, MO area Operation Christmas Child Director Vicki Stamps. Want to learn more, prepare shoeboxes? Visit www.samaritanspurse.org. To find shoebox drop off locations nearest you, click on http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations. Vicki Stamps welcomes your OCC shoebox calls and can be reached at 314 363-1150.)