Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thinking Ahead

The trees are looking pretty sparse around here. Leaves scuttle along the street like crabs at the beach. They tumble and toss, clicking and scratching on the pavement. Wind howls around the corners of my house today, shaking the windows and the trees. Soon all the leaves, now hanging tenaciously to their branches, will be shaken loose. Ah, November.

November is also the month to think ahead to Christmas. I noticed in the newspaper flyer last night that baking supplies are on sale this week. All kinds of advertisements are beginning. I've started my Christmas crafting. Before the blogging world gets into the full swing of Christmas, I have a story to share about Christmas Shoeboxes. I'm in the process of filling mine right now and was thinking about the following story. It's longer than my normal posts, but very meaningful to me.

For years Samaritan's Purse has organized Operation Shoebox to help send a little Christmas love to children who might not have any other Christmas celebration. Filling the boxes is fun, and we do several every year. I was so privileged to be able to give out some of the shoeboxes one year in Ecuador, in a different way. Usually they are passed out at events planned in the neighbourhoods. One year, a double supply of shoeboxes arrived in Ecuador (a long story, has to do with customs and no boxes the previous year), and our church allowed individuals to take the boxes and pass them out. Along with the boxes we'd collected bags of groceries.

How to decide to whom to give the shoeboxes? We put four of the boxes and two bags of groceries in our trunk and headed home after church on Sunday morning. We lived out of town, in a neighbourhood that had huge houses with pools, tennis courts and triple garages hidden behind tall brick walls, side-by-side very humble two or three room wooden houses. The class difference in Ecuador is enormous. As we drove around, we noticed two young boys in a field. They were looking after a couple of cows pastured there. We had two boxes for boys about their age, so we stopped. Like any child should be with strangers, they were a little hesitant. I explained that these boxes were a Christmas gift for them and handed them over. A bit bewildered, they politely said, "gracias," and went back to their work.

We had two boxes left and the groceries. No one seemed to be out on the roads that day, which was unusual. Continuing our drive we noticed a woman walking along the road. We stopped the car and asked her if she had any children. She said, yes, she did, two girls. Their ages were the same ages on the boxes we had left! We gave her the boxes and the bags of groceries (her home was very close). She kept asking why we would do this - we explained that we just wanted to show her that God loved her. With tears in her eyes she told us that this would be the only Christmas the family would be able to celebrate - these boxes would be the only gifts her children would receive. We left her smiling.

Driving home we passed the two boys in the field. There was no hesitation when they saw us this time. They had opened their boxes and were examining everything. They had candy in their mouths and jumped up, waving and calling out "gracias, gracias," over and over.

These scenes are repeated over and over in the world because of Operation Shoebox. If you ever wonder if they make a difference, I'm here to tell you that they do. I just wish everyone who fills a shoebox could see the joy they bring.

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Kristina Strain said...

Lovely story. What a heartwarming thing to do around Christmas.

Sweetfern Handmade

rochambeau said...

Hi Lorrie,
Thank you for your generous heart and for sharing your memory here. Gives me happy tears. We are all carriers of miracles! If we only are willing and have the eyes to see!

Bottega Veneta said...


Carole said...

This is the kind of story that brings tears in my eyes !! It's like you were an angel coming to make their lives a little brighter. In fact we can all be angels in all the little things in life.
Thanks for such an uplifting story.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

To actually be on the end where you hand the parcels into the hands of children.... wow! I've loved this tradition of filling boxes for children. The joy of gathering things you hope they will enjoy.

I remember one time I put in a little box of paints and an artbook... I had the feeling that maybe there was a little child who was dreaming about art. And so I prayed that that particular box would reach that little person.

Thanks for sharing..... now I'm really in the mood.

Charm and Grace said...

Wow, what a great story. We have done the OCC boxes with our church and with our homeschool group's Beta Club. It is really great to hear a first hand account of what you experienced and that those boxes really are making a difference!

I loved your description of the leaves scuttling along like crabs... so true, winter is upon us. As for my dining room (which I hope will one day very soon be rescued from all my art supplies) is painted off-white and the trim is a wheat color. So, it's very neutral and versatile. It also has 3 large windows which lend lots of natural light (great for the artwork). Hope you're having a blessed day!


centenniel said...

It is a very gratifying thing to do, and I can attest that Operation Shoebox is a very worthy Christmas charity. Thx for sharing, Lorri.

Also, your descriptive autumn story makes me feel I'm right there with you. This is the time of year I miss living on the east coast here in the states the most.

♥ Lynne

jannza said...

Thank you, Lorrie. I feel warmed by your description. It is always my goal to make a difference and hearing stories like yours reminds me that we really can!

Tara said...

Thank you for making a difference in this world. I know there are many needy people all around us!
Hugs from Texas.

Deb said...

I found your blog thru a comment you left on Teresa Sheeley's blog mentioning you are a Canadian. Me too! I do the Shoebox thing too. So glad to "meet" you and I will be back!

Gabriela said...

Hello Lorrie,

What a generous heart you have...

~ Gabriela ~

Barbara said...

So very good to read this. Lots do shoe boxes here but we collect for friends as in our own church we do large grocery and treat boxes for the disadvantaged in the neighbourhood.

We still have lots of leaves and they are turning now.

Maggie said...

I loved reading your story, it was very moving.
Thank you for sharing this experience with us today.

Nishant said...

We are all carriers of miracles! If we only are willing and have the eyes to see! Work from home India

"Create Beauty" said...

What a lovely post! We filled 2 boxes this year for Operation Christmas Child also. What a wonderful thing that Samaritans Purse does! Thanks for stopping by my blog, have a great week! ~ Violet

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