Monday, November 22, 2010

Operation Christmas Child - Part II

After church yesterday we went to drop off the girls shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I had not intended to take my camera but it was in my purse from the day before. What fun they had! The time we dropped off, they were the only children there and they had fun watching their boxes packed inside larger cases like these.

We were told that Samaritan's Purse sent 450 cases to this distribution center. Each case can hold approximately 14 shoe boxes...for those of you who are curious - that is 6, 300 shoe boxes! As we were talking with one of the volunteers, another volunteer asked the girls if they wanted to help pack a couple cases. The kids were very eager to do that!
What an experience! It was wonderful to work on this project with the kids, amazing to see all the boxes that were being collected, and a great way to end the entire process - the kids helping pack a couple cases. The only thing that could make this better would be to go along as a distributor....maybe some day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Operation Christmas Child - Preparing Their Hearts

The last couple of years have seen HUGE faith growths in our family. My dear husband has grown in ways I would never have expected and it has been amazing to watch. The last year or so God has grown him immensely in the area of financial giving. We have been looking for ways to involve our children in the act of giving and understanding what it means to give without reluctance. After church last night we enjoyed the watching the process of giving unfold for our children. As parents we really enjoyed preparing their hearts for what we hope will be a lifetime of compassion and generosity.

Years ago, while I the girls and I were involved in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) we were introduced to Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child is run by Samaritans Purse and at Christmas families are able to fill shoebox sized boxes with goodies that will be shipped to needy children. We have not been in MOPS for a few years and have not taken part in the process since the kids were little, but there is a local church that is a drop off point for the boxes, so we decided to participate.

Each of the girls were able to do their own box and choose the gender and age of the child they wanted to buy for. Each of them chose girls. Sissy and Sweet Baby chose the 2-4 year old group and Peanut chose the 5-9 year old group. Before we left for shopping we encouraged the girls to realize that some of these children may have never had soap, tooth paste, and things that we take for granted here. While we wanted them to share "toys" and the fun things of being a child, we suggested some of these "necessities". It was BEAUTIFUL to see the two oldest girls being so thoughtful about what the children may need.

Each of the girls chose soap, and a toothbrush and toothpaste, a coloring book, stickers, crayons, mittens, socks and candy. As Peanut was walking through the store she found some small cups and wanted to add that to her box. We found a set of 3 so each of the girls was able to add a drinking cup to their box.

Sissy was certainly the most visibly impacted by our experience. She wanted to carry her own shopping basket and literally clung to it. She was so thoughtful as she was thinking about what a 2 year old would like and what they would need. She was so quiet on the way home (which is not like her). When we arrived home it was getting late so we told the kids to get ready for bed and we would pack the boxes in the morning. Sissy took care of getting ready, came to me and said, "Mom, I don't want anything for Christmas." With tears in her eyes we had a talk about her realization that we have so much and some people don't have simple things. She said it wasn't fair that she was asking for a camera when some kids did not even have socks. This was one of those moments I'll remember forever. The tears in her eyes led me straight to her heart.

The other two girls were so excited to pack their boxes that the could not fall asleep and had goofy grins on their faces as soon as they woke up this morning. You'll notice that they didn't even brush their hair!

Peanut had fun customizing her box with things that she herself likes: a horse statute, My Little Pony coloring book, Tinkerbell stickers and she even parted with a stuffed horse that she bought with her own money not long ago (it still looked new). This was pretty big for her since she LOVES stuffed animals more than any kid I know!
Finally, Peanut suggested that the girls put pictures of themselves in their boxes, she was so excited to share a photo of herself for her new "friend". How I wish that we could be present the day that these boxes are delivered and see the joy in the eyes of the children who receive them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

American Heritage Girls

I have mentioned a couple of times a new program that I am helping get off the ground at our church. I am the coordinator for a new troop here in Michigan and last night we just finished our 3rd meeting. I thought I would share some photos of the girls in their uniforms. American Heritage Girls is a Christian based program that works very similar to Girl Scouts. The difference? It has Christ at the center - after having Sissy involved in Girl Scouts for the last 4 years, it became evident to me that Girl Scouts is very far removed from the program I believe it was intended to be at its inception.

One very convenient thing for parents is that the program covers girls ages 5-18 and all ages meet the same evening in the same building. I love that I can take all the girls to the meeting the same night. Here is a photo of all the girls before our meeting last night.

Sissy is in the Explorer Unit and Peanut and Sweet Baby are both Tenderhearts. Last month the Explorers got to run the flag ceremony, this month it was the Tenderhearts turn. Both of our Tenderhearts got to play a role. Here is Sweet Baby as part of the Color Guard saluting the flag before her group walked it to the front.

Peanut got to be the one who announced the ceremony and instructed the girls in the Color Guard as to what they should be doing. Here she is at the podium.

Finally, I had to share this picture of Sweet Baby...a friend makes hairbows and although none of my girls have really been into hairbows Sweet Baby has asked for a pair. The hairbows are HUGE to say the least but she really wanted a pair. We recently held a raffle fundraiser and Sweet Baby was able to choose a prize as being part of a top selling family, it didn't surprise me that she chose the donated hairbows!