Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes
Each year, GCA students in grades K-12 have the opportunity to help with Operation Christmas Child, a service project through Samaritan’s Purse where shoeboxes are packed and shipped to countries across the world for the sole purpose of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The national collection week took place in November where Spring Hills Baptist served as a local collection center for churches, schools, families and organizations throughout Licking County. Our classes at GCA set their own goal to provide items to make boxes for a certain gender and age. After the items were brought in, Pastor Gary hosted a “Packing Party” right before Thanksgiving break with our elementary students where the students were able to assemble the boxes themselves. They prayed over each box: for the children who will be receiving not only the gifts inside, but the message of Jesus’s death and our salvation–that they may accept Him into their hearts as their Lord and Savior. Every box has a divine appointment. We have had special Chapel speakers and guests over the years who were recipients of the shoeboxes in other countries and are now in ministry as missionaries and pastors. Operation Christmas Child partners with the local churches in each of those remote areas, and those local churches are the ones that personally deliver the boxes. As they do so, they share the Gospel with the children in their own villages. The most beautiful part is the relationship this builds between the children and the churches, opening the doors for those children to return to them over and over. The middle school students helped load 2,714 completed boxes this year onto a semi truck that shipped them to Charlotte, North Carolina, the next day. Charlotte is one of six processing centers in the U.S. and it is the largest in both the size and in its production. Our Senior and Junior students annually make the trip to Charlotte to help process the shoeboxes with other volunteers during the first week of December.