Today I would simply like to tell you a story. Years ago there was a woman at the Bible Church named Jane Stam. Jane was a lovely woman who left quite a legacy to the Bible Church and to Christ when she died in February, 2014. The tentacles of her life are many.
Some years ago, Jane started a World Serious mission group to meet at her home on Wednesdays during the day so that those who were unable to attend the Monday night mission prayer group could still be praying for missionaries. Jan Hoyle attended that group. Jane invited a lady who taught at Trinity (who also wrote for Samaritans Purse) to share about her experiences to the World Serious group. This lady had been to Belarus to deliver shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The experiences that she shared sparked a desire in Jan, in particular, to participate in the Operation Christmas Child project. In those first years, there was no outlet for box-gathering in Orange County. The Bible Church was large enough to be such a center. By 2003, when Jan’s daughter Annie was 16, Annie and Jan led the volunteers in the project. That year, 1,907 shoeboxes were collected, with 579 of them from the Bible Church. Cartons were packed (146 of them, averaging 13 shoeboxes per carton). Area churches, 17 of them, brought us shoeboxes. Six campus organizations brought us shoeboxes. Several folks stopped just because they saw the sign in front of CHBC and wanted to participate.
Over the years Jan has mentored many young women in leading the shoebox project. Her desire has been to train young women in successfully organizing and leading a substantial project. After Annie’s leadership, Jan mentored Kelly Shackelford, Mary Quaile, Gaby Pura, Abby Thomas, Grace Quaile, and this year, Ella Bruckert. (Ella participates in Heritage Girls here at CHBC and is earning a badge by mentoring with Jan in leading the shoebox project.)
I asked Jan why she is excited about the Operation Christmas Child project. There are a number of reasons:
- The very first reason is the gospel opportunities for children around the world to receive and be introduced to the love of Christ. Boxes are most often distributed in different countries by missionaries or by local churches. The possibility exists for discipleship for those children who are interested.
- Boxes represent hope to those children who receive them. One young girl had been praying with her friends for snow, but wasn’t sure that God was hearing her prayers. When she opened her box and found a snow globe inside, she was assured that God was hearing her prayers.
- It’s a tremendous outreach into our community. It provides opportunities for schools or individuals who many not know Christ but want to do something good for someone else.
- The boxes provide opportunities for our children to do something tangible for someone else.
How can we participate along with Jan and Ella? They will be collecting boxes November 18-25 for children from ages 2-14. Bring your already-packed box during that week. There will be several activities related to the boxes before the collection week.
- On Sunday, October 6, a collection point will open at the Bible Church for items that can go into the boxes… hotel soaps, tennis balls, socks, hygiene items, calculators, flashlights, stuffed animals; if you’ve been in charge of sporting events and have tee shirts or water bottles with logos left over, you can bring them here. Logos don’t matter! The items don’t need to be new. They can be gently used, but clean.
- There will be a packing party on Saturday, October 12 at the church.
- There will also be fund-raising events to raise money to cover shipping of all these boxes. Currently $9/box is needed to cover shipping and not everyone who wants to pack a box can afford that amount of money. The fund-raisers will supplement the shipping costs so that whoever would like, can participate.
Jan – thank you for your faithfulness and your vision in equipping young women in leadership and for giving us opportunities to share the gospel around the world.