In celebration of the 65,546 Christmas shoeboxes given from the state of Louisiana last year, Kingsville Baptist in Pineville hosted the recent Operation Christmas Child statewide meeting.
PINEVILLE—In celebration of the 65,546 Christmas shoeboxes given from the state of Louisiana last year, Kingsville Baptist in Pineville hosted the recent Operation Christmas Child statewide meeting.
With 50 people in attendance from throughout the state, the gathering was to celebrate the past, look ahead, communicate goals for 2009, and provide promotional materials, said Mark Cooper, regional director for the Texas and Louisiana area.
Cooper, along with Cheryl Forester, collection center coordinator in the central Louisiana area and a member at Kingsville Baptist in Pineville, coordinated the event in anticipation of the year to come.
“This is not just another good project,” Forester said. “There are a lot of good projects, but this one has eternal consequences.
“These shoeboxes are not just a gift, it’s a tool used for evangelism,” the collection center coordinator said. “The children who receive these shoeboxes hear the gospel and are enrolled in discipleship courses, and in them they have the chance to accept Christ. Many have accepted Christ who might not have, if they hadn’t reached out their hands for a shoebox.”
There are seven collection centers in Louisiana, including Kingsville Baptist, that work together to receive boxes from relay centers around the state. A Rodeway truck picked up 9,860 boxes at Kingsville – a bit shy of the 10,000-box goal – late last year and took them to Atlanta, Ga., one of six processing centers across the nation.
“It’s all layers upon layers,” Forester said. “It’s very well-organized.”
At the statewide meeting Saturday, May 16 at Kingsville Pineville, an 18-year-old girl from Russia gave a short devotion along with her testimony. Adopted from an orphanage in Russia at the age of 11, she is now blessed with a home and family in Texas she said, but before her adoption she received a shoebox through Operation Christmas Child.
“She said it was the first gift she had ever received,” Forester recalled about the testimony. “She said she was just amazed that someone knew exactly what she had needed.
“The one thing she longed for – like all the children in the orphanage – was a family of her own,” Forester continued. “She wondered what the family was like that had packed the shoebox. That kind of emphasized to me the importance of putting a note in the shoebox, with a photo of the person or family giving it. And include your address; some people do hear back.”
This year’s collection dates are Nov. 16 through 23. Last year more than 16,000 boxes came from the Bossier City area alone.
“We’re ready for another year,” Forester said. “Realize the eternal impact this has on the children receiving the shoeboxes, and their families. I remember one testimony about how one family marveled that someone would do for their child, what they couldn’t do. That shoebox made a huge impact.”