Friday, March 30, 2012

Impact Stories from Fiji

While helpers of Operation Christmas Child are going to great lengths to ensure kids in Fiji feel special at Christmas, God is using the project to show the extraordinary lengths He goes to, to make Himself relevant to children, who have often never heard of Him.
One such trek took local indigenous church partners back and forth over a river 14 times, carrying the shoe boxes on horse-back, for children who would otherwise not see any gits for Christmas. Tears and emotions flowed freely as children received gifts, with one child from the island of Rotuma shouting with joy as he held his first Christmas gift. The parents at various distribution locations wept openly as their children received gifts – lots of them happy that large amounts of stationery were provided for their children’s school needs.

Source OCC Australia-New Zealand.

Friday Favorites-

Clean water from a tap in your home, is a luxury 3rd world countries only dream off.  So why not add a water bottle to your box.  This could enable the child to carry around water, or even enable them to carry more water to their home.  I take off the lid and add items into the bottle, not letting any space be wasted.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Multiple Mondays- Fun glasses

I was glad to find these again at Wal-mart.
These silly glasses you can find in the party section.
And they're 5 for $1.00 so it's great value.
And look at this precious smile they can bring!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Impact Stories from Fiji

A child had recently given away his sandals to a friend who couldn’t afford any. The following week he came to the distribution day and was given a box. To his surprise he got a brand new pair of sandals that fitted him perfectly. He told the pastor what he did the previous week and how God had given him a new pair of sandals! Some of the children have already started attending Sunday school and church services because of this testimony.

Friday Favorites

I love adding marbles to boys 5-9 and 10-14 boxes.
When I asked my sister, who works with children in Zambia, if they prefered the smaller or the larger marbles, she said most of them had never seen marbles.  They play with stones.  I know my boys love playing with marbles, they make up all kinds of games with them.  And I'm sure the children receiving marbles have lots of fun with them!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Old Navy-

Old Navy has winter scarves, toques and 2 pk of finger mitts for .49 cents.

Multiple Mondays- Combs

Welcome to Multiple Mondays!
Tentaively this will run every other Monday.

I love buying things in multiples, and diving them!
There are so many items you can buy and divide to keep your costs down.

These are one of my staples that I buy.
8 combs for $1.00.
What are some of your favorite things that you buy in multiples?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Simply Shoe Boxes

Another great site:  Simply Shoe Boxes.

Weekend Crafting

It's the weekend once again.  This week has flown by!  Last weekend my crafting didn't go as planned.  I ended up with a sick boy.  And I wanted to include my boys in what we made.  And they had different ideas than I did. So this is what we eneded up making.  Once we figured out the sock monkeys they were easy to make.  Just takes a bit to hand stitch them all together.  But we will be making more to add to boxes. 

I love the ball.  It's not as colorful as some I've seen but I didn't want to worry about patterns, so I made it all one color.  It took a little bit to figure out how to sew it all together.   But it was fun.  And I've already cut our more fabric to make more balls.  They're perfect for 2-4 boxes.

My boys also made a few of these.  We made them last year too.  You can read about them here.
The weather looks amazing for this weekend so I don't think I'll get any crafting done.
Anyone have plans to craft this weekend?

Hope after sadness

Source OCC UK
Tragedy overtook this family in 2004, the night the police arrived in the camp. Their father had been arrested and badly mistreated before, and when he saw them surrounding his house, demanding that he come out for questioning,  he panicked.   Taking a rifle,  he shot himself through the heart in front of some of his children.  
Now the mother and numerous children must somehow survive on their own.  There is no money for toys, and no one does this family any favours.   So when the shoe boxes arrived at  the flimsy door to their house,  the children’s eyes flickered with astonishment – and some real bewilderment, that soon turned into shy, furtive smiles.   For the first time in their lives,  they have brand new toys – and also the knowledge that someone, somewhere, cared enough for them to send them.   They cannot quite understand this, and the older children listen to the pastor with growing interest as he explains.  These shoe boxes will be an invaluable help to Vllaznim, the pastor,  and Sinisia, the leader of the project,  as they attempt to build a relationship with this sad family.

Friday Favorites- Stuffed Animals!

Every child needs something to love!
I love adding a soft cuddly stuffed animal to boxes of all ages!
Yes even 10-14. 
Their culture is different than here,
 and 10-14 year olds love receiving stuffed animals.
Something special to call their own.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Raymonds Story Part II

Source:  OCC Australia - New Zealand

The Christmas shoe box also contained a pair of slippers (flip-flops) which Raymond would use to take the ‘shortcut’ to school through a river instead of getting his runners wet. Danger along the longer route would mean that kids could not get away due to mountainous terrain so they would opt to cross the Senao River. This would often result in them getting wet all over and missing school altogether.  Raymond would keep his slippers in his backpack so he could change – ensuring his school clothes were still intact when he arrived.

Though these gifts made attending school a bit easier, when war broke out in 1989 Raymond spent the majority of his life travelling from refugee camp to refugee camp. As soon as the conditions became bad he would move to the next one – and many milestones in his life took place around this tumultuous pattern; including graduating from high-school and raising a family.
Raymond shares about the painful journey and explains how eventually his wife was able to obtain a visa through a ‘women at risk’ program and come out to Australia with his youngest daughter, Alexandria. A few years later Raymond too was able to follow them with his teenage daughter, Winifred – who also remembers receiving a shoe box at the age of nine.

Raymond remembers the shoe box gift he received as a redeeming element to the torment he faced on a daily basis. Helping at the warehouse is a way for him to help others receive what he was given.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Raymond's Impact Story Part I

Souce: OCC Australia-New Zealand
Raymond Addy who grew up in Liberia. He remembers many things about his early years in Liberia; a life typified by travelling from one refugee camp to another and absence from his family for decades at a time. But there’s one memory that remains as a redeeming element to the torment – the gift he received in a humble shoe box that enabled him to keep studying and be revered by his peers – a flashlight.
The flashlight led the way to a life of opportunity for Raymond who remembers having to use an oil lantern to study before going to bed at night. Raymond says the lantern was very dim at and the oil would often fall onto the books in front of him and onto his school clothes.

“We never had a continuous electricity service. It would be on for a while and then it would go out. This flashlight served a purpose. We had to study with the oil lamp, so you’d go to school the next day with oil in your books and sometimes even on your uniform.”
The flashlight also made him more popular amongst his peers, “it was customary for us to go out and play at night and after it became dark we’d go home.”
“The torch not only allowed me to study but gave me a position of leadership among my friends. Less people would fight with me because I would lead the way – more people wanted to be my friend! “

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Projects

Does anyone have plans to craft this weekend? 
I picked up a few bag of stuffing this week. 
And someone graciously donated socks. 
So I'm planning on making these with my boys this weekend.
Source: via Tammy via Pinterest
Would love to try making these for 2-4 boxes.

Source: via Leah Lunsford via Pinterest

And if time allows I would also like to try making this.
Source: via Tammy via Pinterest

Friday, March 9, 2012

Impact Story from Vietnam

In Central Vietnam a 13 year old girl called Do Ngoc Tien, received her own special box Operation Christmas Child gift filled shoe box.  When she opened her box, Tien cried with joy.  It was the first time she had received gifts from anyone, especially a friend from afar.

Sadly both Tien and her sister had leukemia and needed frequent blood replacement.  Tien understood that her parents did not have money to pay for life-saving blood replacement and so at first she wanted to give her shoe box to another child!  Tien thought there was no point in keeping her gifts as she would not live long enough to play with them herself.  When she was encouraged to keep the gifts given to bring comfort, hope, and joy to a child in need, she happily agreed and held them close.

Source OCC Australia-New Zealand

Friday Favorites

 I loved skipping as a little girl.
You can make up all kinds of games.
1 simple rope is hours of fun!
So I love adding skipping ropes to my boxes.
My favorites are these from dollarama. Last year they came in packs of 4 for $1.25. But they are not always available.  You have to keep your eyes out for them.  I finally found them the party section.  This year they're 6 for $2.00.  They are good quality and work well.  I also love the rainbow of colors!

What's your favorite thing to add?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Pinterest Page.

I love seeing what people add to their boxes!  So I started a new Pinterest page called Inside the Box.  Inspiration and to get ideas of what others pack.
Check out this box. She regifted a lot great items. A great way to keep costs down and reality is, she'll probably never miss the items.  But they will bless a child.

Source: via Tammy via pinterest

Humphary from Liberia

Source OCC UK

What’s this?!’ thought Humphrey, as he opened his gift box one Saturday in February in the school at Harber village, on the Firestone rubber plantation. He pulled out a jelly-like object with lots of tentacles and began inspecting it. It had a nice feel to it, but seemed a little odd. Humphrey was about to put it down to explore the rest of his gifts when a volunteer showed Humphrey there was more to his jelly-tentacle object than met the eye! A firm squeeze showed how it could blow out into a big bubble – amazing! And a quick bounce on the table and it was all flashing lights inside! ‘Now there’s something to show off to my friends!’ thought Humphrey, as friends quickly gathered round!
Outside the school building Humphrey’s mum and dad, Elijah and Martina, watched as their excited children came to show off their gifts. ‘Thank you so much for coming to us here’ said Elijah, who has worked as a driver on the Firestone plantation for seven years, ‘it means a lot to us!’ 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Pinterest is a buzz with boards with OCC crafts! 
It's really exciting to see it catching on.
There are endless ideas out there.
One of my favorites are these bags made out of pillowcases.
Source: via Tammy via pinterest

Project 414.

I love seeing what other people pack in their boxes!
Project 414 posted pictures of the boxes they packed.

Make sure you check out a Doll to Hug! 
That would be the box I would love to get!

Story Couldn't Come at a Better Time.

GUATEMALA: Nine-year-old Isaias could not go to school because his mother was very ill and the family had to spend their money on medicine, leaving no money to purchase school supplies. Isaias’s mother trusted that God would provide for the family and for her son’s school supplies.

Meanwhile, the pastor of their church invited Isaias and his siblings to participate in an event that included an Operation Christmas Child shoe box distribution. What a surprise they had when they found school supplies in Isaias’s shoe box – everything that he would need! Isaias’s family was very glad because their trust in God was rewarded. Now Isaias is attending school and is very happy and grateful.

Operation Christmas Child Canada shared this story on their fb page today.  I love reading stories how boxes can change a child's life.  How the items in a box are the very items that the family needs.  The story came while I was taking a break from filling up pencil cases.  Last year I found it very busy right around distribution week, so I've been trying to spread things out a bit more.  And God has provided so many school supplies already.  And it's only beginning of March!  I have enough pencil cases (a few more to be sewn yet, but they're cut) pencil crayons, erasers, scissors and pens.  It's fun to fill up the pencil cases and know they could be going to a child just like Isaias!  And the items could help them go to school.  Talk about rewarding!

Verses of encouragement.

Everyday I receive devotional emails.  One of my favorites are from Proverbs 31 Ministries.
And Fridays was full of encouragement!  And I thought, how wonderful it would be to add these verses to the letters/cards/notes to my shoe box.  And it was too good to keep to myself.  I had to share it with you too:)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

You are
• Created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
• Fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
• Precious and honored in His sight. (Isaiah 43:4)
• Redeemed and forgiven. (Ephesians 1:7)
• A new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
• Holy and blameless before God. (Ephesians 1:4, 1 Corinthians 1:30)
• Chosen by God. (1 Peter 2:9)
• God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
• Created with purpose to do great works for God’s Kingdom. (Ephesians 2:10)

You are God’s creation – beautiful, strong and created with a unique plan and purpose.

These words encouraged and continue to encourage me.
Just imagine how these words, God's promises! could change a childs life.
I encourage you to add a verse to your letter.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

God's Provision!

I love to add pencil cases to my boxes!

I imagine children trying to carry their school supplies to school. They don't have cute little pencil cases or boxes or any other containers to store them in. Back packs are not available. And if they're anything like me, I'd constantly be dropping something, a pencil, eraser, pencil sharpener, pencil crayons and on and on. And by then I'd be crying. So with something small like a pencil case, it could make their life a little easier.  Last year at our church packing party, one of the things I wish we could have added were pencil cases. 

This thought has been on my mind since that day back in November.  And so I've been cutting pencil cases from felt and fleece these past few weeks and my mom's been sewing. We have a nice pile!  Our fabric has given us more than we imagined- again God's doing. But not nearly enough for the boxes we pack at home, my mom's boxes and the churches.  We do not have a goal yet for the number of boxes at church.  We just know it will be over 200. 

On Friday I felt that I should go back to MCC, the thrift store in our city.  I had already been there on Tuesday.  But felt that I should go back.  So I wandered around, wondering what I would find.

 And then I saw these.
And not just One, as pictured.

They all had tags on them that said mail bag and you could write your address on them.
But to me they cried pencil cases! 
And lots of them!
  They were exactly the right size. 
 The top has a draw string so they could be closed.
And the tags could easily be cut off without hurting the fabric.

There was no price on them.
So I eagerly took my find to the till.
Well it turns out that there were 200 of them!
And I got them all for $12.00. 
.06 cents each. 

Oh Our God is so GOOD!!
I hadn't even prayed about it yet, but God knew my heart.
And he provided, more than I could have imagined!
And I am so thankful he saw fit that I didn't have to sew them all. 
He knows sewing is not really my gifting;)

The other blessing is that  MCC will invest the $12.00 into helping other needy people around the world. 

The gift just keeps giving.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Shoppers Drug Mart- Clearance

I hadn't planned on going to Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday. 
But ended up needing a prescription. 
And while there, I found some great deals!
12 pens for .25 cents!
I do have to say God has provided an abundance of pens and it's only the beginning of March:)  They also had soap, 3 bars for .25 cents.  But I have no idea why I didn't buy it.  Other than I was way too excited for the pens.  I may go back and check if the soap is still there today.

All remaining Valentine's Day products were marked down to .50 cents. 
 What girl wouldn't love to receive these? 

Friday, March 2, 2012

El Salvador distribution.

The story about the Making Everlasting Smiles trip to El Salvador in December 2010 to pass out Christmas Shoeboxes to children who wouldn't normally receive a Christmas gift.

Miraculous Twin girls story.

Nicole Sheldon shares first hand a story of how God provides miraculously for twin girls through a shoe box in the San Blas Islands of Panama.

Friday Favorites

Welcome to Friday Favorites.
Every Friday I will showcase one of my favorite items to add to boxes.

Today it's these stretchy bunnies.
There are certain seasonal items that I look for every year. 
And these stretchy bunnies are one of the. 
They are lots of fun, and 6 for $1.00 is easy on the pocket book:)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2011 Stats

The 2011 stats are in.  I must say we are very consistent:)
There were only 2 changes from last year.  
10-14 year old boys were up 1% and 5-9 girls were down by 1%.

Boys         2011              2010 
2-4              7%                 7%
5-9            24%                24%
10-14       13%                 12%

Girls        2011                2010
2-4           10%                 10%
5-9           31%                 32%
10-14       15%                 15%

2-4 Year boys still received the least amount of boxes.

I ask that prayerfully consider which age group and gender you should pack for in the coming year.  And pack how the Spirit leads you.