Who Is My Neighbor (Operation Christmas Child)

I am inspired by Lindsey Anderson.  One of her family’s favorite things to do around Christmas time has been to participate in the Operation Christmas Child Ministry by Samaritan’s Purse that Calvary supports every year.  This is a ministry that collects a some necessary items (like toothbrushes) as well as some fun items (like small toys) for children in need throughout the world.  Read more at:  https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/) 

Last year, Calvary filled 364 boxes to be sent wherever needed in the world.  However, Lindsey read on the Samaritan's Purse website of a girl who packs 20,000 boxes each year!  Lindsey thought, “That’s a lot…..what if I started with 100 and then maybe I work up from there.”  So for Christmas last year, what did she ask for?  She asked for 100 Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes to fill!  As of the end of February, she’s already finished 25 boxes with lots of supplies on hand to pack more.

I asked Lindsey why she was so passionate about this.  “I love to go to the Operation Christmas Child website and see the kids’ faces when they open their shoebox and the joy it gives them.”  But that’s not all that Lindsey does.  Taking a page from her local FCA chapter (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) who suggested that some of the recipients won’t know who Jesus is, Lindsey always writes a personal note to each recipient which she puts in the shoeboxes!  Those notes tell the recipients about Jesus and that Jesus loves them!  Of course she doesn’t know who will receive any of the boxes, but that doesn’t matter.  She puts love in each box and knows that the recipient will be the person God wants for that particular box.

In fact, Lindsey sometimes puts hats or scarves in the boxes.  Her mom, Kristin Anderson asked, “But what if that box ends up in the hands of someone in a hot climate?”  Lindsey feels that each box is directed by God to go to the child who is supposed to receive it.  Done!  

Many people are helping Lindsey to reach her goal.  Through Facebook, her friends, and word of mouth, she is guiding people on what to collect, where to find things on sale, and when the best times are to buy certain items.  She even wrote letters to local business and got some cool things through that effort!  

Part of this process is providing money for the postage to mail the boxes.  Lindsey is saving her birthday money, babysitting money, and will be doing a garage sale this summer in order to earn enough money to send these boxes.

While most 14-year-old girls are asking for cool birthday parties where you stay up all night and tell stories, Lindsey asked her friends to bring items for shoeboxes and at her birthday slumber party, she and her friends packed boxes!  She asked her friends to bring pictures of themselves with their addresses to put in boxes so the recipients have the opportunity to stay in touch if they choose to do so.  Her enthusiasm is contagious…...not only is she a blessing to those children who will receive these boxes, she is teaching her friends that same gift of generosity!

Lindsey does a lot of research on what is most needed for this ministry and has found that the greatest need is for boxes directed to boys ages 10-14.  People apparently find it easier to shop for girls than for boys, so Lindsey has ‘specialized’ in ways that she can pack things that this age group of boys would appreciate.

One of the things that Lindsey wants to do in the future is to go to one of the processing centers for Operation Christmas Child…..Disney World?  Nah…….Lindsey has bigger dreams.

In 2016, there were 11 million boxes for Operation Christmas Child from the US.  Thanks to Lindsey, this year, there will be least 11 million, one hundred.

To help Lindsey reach her goal or to ask her more about this, just find her on Facebook or respond here and we’ll make sure she gets your support!

When I grow up, I want to be like Lindsey Anderson and change the world….one box at a time!

Questions or discussion? Click here to comment.

Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: A Light To My Path (Mark 11:1-11)

About the Authors

Lindsey Anderson is a member of Calvary UMC
Debbie Reese is the Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC