May 28, 2011
Shoeboxes Full of Love
This past week we had the great joy of delivering some Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. We took them to the little Loma Clavel school out in the boonies near Carapegua. You may remember this place from previous posts, as the little one-room school with a volunteer teacher that comes each afternoon to teach all grades together.
We hadn't gotten to see them this year, but every now and then, the profesora would send me a text message to say that the children were praying for me in their daily prayers, and that they kept asking when we'd return. So we just couldn't wait for those boxes to come in so I had a good excuse to skip out on physical therapy for the day.
We invited the three mission interns to come along, which meant they had to take the bus. Saul and Camille accompanied them and the group ALMOST made it all the way there. One town short of Carapegua, Letitia and Camille got off so that Letitia could vomit. Bless her heart.
We had lunch with a family there, where the girls got to eat their first pot full of bori (corn flour rolled into balls the size of large marbles, then boiled in a pot with water, meat, and some veggies). Then we loaded up the car and delivered the boxes of fun.
When we arrived at the school, we explained that the children had to wait until everyone had their boxes before they could open them. We also handed out the Bible study books that come with each box, and went through that before they tore into the boxes. The children were so patiently waiting for our go-ahead, and when we finally gave it, the squealing began.
Most of the boxes had small toys, candy, dolls, hairbows, socks, and an occasional note from the sender. These boxes in particular came from the Alberta, Canada area, so some had baseballs with the Canadian team logos on them. The sweet yet sad thing was to see the kids get excited for the contents, and realize that the loudest squeals and biggest smiles came from items of clothing. These children are often without good shoes or clothes that fit, so a pair of socks was like gold. They were just too precious.
After a while of sorting through the boxes and explaining what some of the "new" things were (for example, tape, mechanical pencils, toothpaste), we had a group prayer to thank God and ask His blessings on those who sent the boxes. The students were so excited to hear that we'd be returning to go through the Bible study books with them, and I thought again of how SHOWING God's love before trying to TELL of it really counts for something.
Thank you to every person reading this who has ever packed a shoebox for some unknown child. From the other side of it, I can tell you that the child is not an empty face. He is a little person who not only has some of his physical needs met from what's in the box, but also feels terribly special that someone who's never met him cares enough to send him a box full of love.