This year’s Collection Week was busier than every. There were the preparations for a large packing party we were going to hold at the Collection Center, along with all the organization that goes before greeting our new volunteers and thousands of incoming shoeboxes at our 11 drop off locations in our area. It was exciting and thrilling and tiring and wonderful.
Then Samaritan’s Purse informed us that our shoeboxes would go to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. We were overjoyed!
Then they sent a filmmaker and a writer! They were lovely sweet people, Kim Rowland and Storm (yes his real name) and they interviewed and filmed us over the course of a few days. We had fun, but after they filmed so many hours, I assumed most would end up on the cutting room floor, lol.
I was delighted by the outcome:
our hardworking and faithful volunteers
my dear friend Rowena and their amazing Filipino church, Queens Bible (MORE ABOUT THEM HERE)
our location, currently named The Life church, that has allowed us to take over their facility for the past 15 years even though we are not members of the church!
The Life’s first ever OCC packing party – with those joyful sweet children, who packed 80 shoeboxes!
and finally — that’s ME in the beginning (Mary) and I’m glad I decided to dye my grey roots before collection week!
I am so happy and excited to share with you a story about my friend!
Working as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, I’ve met the most wonderful people and churches in my area. One of my jobs is to gather new churches to become Drop Off locations (Relay Centers).
I visited Queens Bible Church 5 years ago and was overwhelmed by their love, joy and friendship. They LOVE OCC! Rowena Gaspar is the Relay Coordinator and I love her! Hardworking, cheerful, creative, and enthusiastic, her love of Jesus just shines through her all the time.
As a Filipino church, Queens Bible is especially blessed.
Here it is:
People affected by Hurricane Sandy pack Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts that will be part of a special airlift for boys and girls impacted by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Thousands of miles of land and sea stretch between the east coast of Long Island, New York and the east coast of Leyte Island, Philippines.
Most residents of these islands have never met, yet many now share a common bond. They have faced the devastation of water and wind, the aftermath of soaking rains and storm surge. Those who survived know what it is to pick up the scattered pieces of their lives from the rubble and begun to rebuild.
Residents of coastal New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island have had a year to recover and reflect since Hurricane Sandy stormed through their lives in late October 2012. They know all too well the long road that lies ahead for people in the Philippines who survived Typhoon Haiyan. And they are reaching out to help.
On December 12, nearly 65,000 gift-filled shoeboxes, many of which were packed by people affected by Hurricane Sandy, will be airlifted from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and delivered directly into the arms of children who survived Typhoon Haiyan.
During the week before Thanksgiving as Operation Christmas Child drop-off locations opened to collect shoeboxes, volunteers in the northeast buzzed with the excitement of being able to send their shoeboxes to children in the Philippines.
“We are so blessed that we as a church are able to share these blessings,” said Rowena Gaspar, a volunteer who coordinates a shoebox drop-off location at Queens Bible Church in Glendale, NY. “It’s a really joyful feeling for them and for us.”
For the Queens Bible Church congregation, it is especially wonderful that their shoebox gifts will be sent to the Philippines. About 95 percent of the congregation is Filipino.
Since 1998, Operation Christmas Child has delivered 2,712,769 shoebox gifts to the Philippines, and over 500,000 more will be delivered this year. Of the 65,000 from New York and New Jersey that will be airlifted to the Philippines, 295 were packed by people who attend Queens Bible Church.
“Especially this year, we are all excited,” Rowena said. “Even though a typhoon happened to our country at least it gives us the opportunity to share these blessings from our church straight to our country, to the Philippines. And we pray that these kids, when they open the boxes, they feel the love that we put in every single box.”
Rowena was displaced from her home in the Bronx for about a week after Hurricane Sandy because there was no gasoline for her to drive home, nor electricity and heat at her apartment building. She is a nurse, so she stayed busy caring for extra patients who were relocated to the nursing home she works at because of storm damage in Far Rockaway.
Just as things eventually returned to normal, she believes that typhoon victims in the Philippines will eventually recover.
“It’s devastation from Typhoon Haiyan, and we came from Superstorm Sandy from last year too, but Filipinos are resilient. They can always recover,” she said. “We came from nothing, and we will be able to surpass this.”
Pastor Eric Bautista agreed.
“Our people will be blessed even more in spite of this calamity that they had to face. Praise be to God for that,” he said. “We are trusting that God will use these boxes to ease the pain that they have encountered.”
During National Collection Week, as the congregation packed their shoeboxes into cartons to be shipped, their excitement was palpable. They cheered at the announcement that all of their shoeboxes would be shipped to typhoon-affected areas, and smiles stretched from ear to ear.
Many people in the congregation have family members living in the Philippines. After Typhoon Haiyan struck, one family could not reach their brother who lives on Leyte Island. Finally, after one week, they made contact and learned that although they lost their home, the family was safe.
Through the shoeboxes filled with small toys, clothing, hygiene items, and school supplies, many children on Leyte Island who lost everything will be comforted by once again having something to call their own.
“For our church, knowing that many of our people had to encounter this tragedy, we are just praying and hoping that God will use us to bless them,” Pastor Bautista said. “We’re praying that our efforts will be a gift for these people.”
Even more, they hope that when the children receive a shoebox, they will understand that God loves them.
“Our hope is that their sadness, this tragedy that they had to face, this difficulty will be eased by the knowledge that there are people who love them, that there are people who are praying for them,” Pastor Bautista said. “It is our prayer that they may know the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. This bad thing that happened to them is not something to blame God for. But in fact, it is a time for them to reach out to God.
“We are trusting that God will use these boxes to sort of ease the pain that they have encountered. But at the same time, it will be a way for them to know that there is something that God has planned for them, something better.”
The airlift event will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 12, at Hangar 19, John F. Kennedy International Airport. It will celebrate God’s provision through Operation Christmas Child and volunteers in the northeast area. Special guests will share testimonies about how they have been impacted by Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse firsthand, and Franklin Graham will share a special message. To attend, please RSVP to OCCairlift@samaritan.org by December 11 with the number of people in your group, the name of each person, and your email address.
I included the story in its entirety since the SP site can only retain stories for a limited time, and I wanted to preserve this one!
OK – WOW – I LOVE THIS IDEA!
AND it is a great craft for the men in your church, or Boy Scout troops!
Start in January, and you will have several nice sets of dominos for your
Operation Christmas Child packing parties for next year!
They are made from wooden paint stirrers!
GO HERE to “Thistlewood Farms blog” and get all the instructions!
Do you have a Menards near you? I wish I did! They have some great deals this month:
Oral-B Shiny Clean toothbrushes are 2 for $1.
9 led flashlights set (batteries sold separately) $6.99 with a $3 rebate. Final cost $3.99 for 9 flashlights. (good til Dec. 15)
12 pks of Mentos gum $6.88 with a $6 rebate. Final cost 88 cents for a 12 pks. (good until Dec. 24)
25′ Self Lock tape measure $4.88 with a $4 rebate. Final cost just 88 cents! Limit 2. (good until Dec. 24)
4 in 1 precision screwdriver 2 for $1
Reminder…rebates are in the form of a merchandise credit check.
My Frugal Adventures share this deal:
Get $5 off $35 purchase at Amazon if you make a wishlist on Amazon and “share” it on Facebook.
BUT when you “share” it you can change the settings on the post to “private” – and set it so that ONLY YOU can see it.
Here is what you do:
- Select a wishlist to share on Facebook (or create one first if you don’t have one)
- Answer one question- What are you most wishing for this holiday season
- Click on Share and Claim
Promotional credits must be redeemed by 12/15.
Print out THIS COUPON and bring it to Toys R Us on December 9 or 10, for 15% off any regular priced toy purchase. This isn’t an amazing deal, but you might find something fun in the party favor section for your shoebox gifts for next year
“You are loved and not forgotten!” is the message this banner will carry from donors and volunteers
from Operation Christmas Child Denver, Southern California, Dallas, Charlotte, Boone and New York.
This banner will be delivered, along with 60,000 shoebox gifts to children of the Philippines.
The airlift will take place on December 12th from JFK airport in NY.
Not only is this a message to the children of the Philippines,
but this is the same message that Jesus has for us each and every day.
YOU are loved, YOU are not forgotten!
Operation Christmas Child is holding an event, and YOU are invited!
As you know, the Northeast area (where I am from) was hit by by Hurricane Sandy last year. I know of many stories of how, even through devastation and loss, people still packed and gave their shoebox gifts sacrificially.
Just recently, the Philippines experienced their own devastating storm (Typhoon Haiyan) that claimed the lives of 5,500 people, leaving many more in need of clean water, medical supplies, and repairs to their homes.
Samaritan’s Purse was quick to respond and currently has a 54-member team on the ground to support the critical needs of the people impacted by this catastrophe.
Operation Christmas Child had already intended to send more than 500,000 shoebox gifts for delivery to children in the Philippines.
Here’s the exciting part: more than 60,000 of these gifts will come from Hurricane Sandy victims from New York and New Jersey!
Those who know first-hand the devastation a storm can cause, will ensure the children of the Philippines know that they are loved and not forgotten!!
Everyone is invited to an airlift event on December 12 at 10:30 a.m. at JFK airport where these shoebox gifts will be loaded on a 747 bound for the Philippines.
Franklin Graham and Hurricane Sandy survivors will host the shoebox gift send-off and press conference prior to the plane’s departure.
***Due to security restrictions on a working airport tarmac, it is required that you RSVP to the event by emailing: OCCmedia@samaritan.org
The National Leadership Team in the Philippines is excited to receive these shoebox gifts for thousands of children who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
Please pray for the children who will receive these gifts – and for the Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief team as they continue to offer support and Christ’s love to the people of the Philippines.
Please also pray for favor with the media during this event – that more people around the United States would hear about Operation Christmas Child and decide to get involved this year by packing a shoebox gift online.
I hope to see you at the event next week.
For 2 days ONLY, December 4 and 5, purchase the brand new Christmas song from NEWSONG, “White as Snow” for only $1 and all the proceeds will go to Operation Christmas Child!