Operation Christmas Child – Meryl’s Story

Just a few short months ago, I received a note via twitter with this image attached. She said, “A long time ago you sent me a gift. I just wanted to say thank you.” It was a short note that I had quickly added to my Operation Christmas Child shoe box over ten years ago. The recipient, a sweet young lady named Meryl had found me. I was completely baffled. I had never heard from someone who had received my shoe box before, and now, here stood a sweet young lady who just wanted to say thank you, even after so many years. She was graciously willing to share her story with me of the powerful impact of a simple gift.

- Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family.

    I’m from Lima, Peru. I’m 23 years old and I’m a teacher. I live with my parents and I have an older sister named Sandibell. Thanks God I have a nice relationship with my family. I attend to Way of Life Church (Iglesia Camino de Vida) and I serve in children’s ministry.

- How did you receive a OCC shoe box?

I received it in a Christmas event for children which took place in my church, in which the Pastor’s wife told us that she had a special surprise for us and then she gave every child a OCC shoe box. She also told us that those gifts were sent with love from USA through the Operation Christmas Child Ministry.

- What was it like to receive a OCC shoe box?

   When I received the OCC shoe box I was 12 years old and I felt happy and thankful. I also felt surprised that someone who didn’t know me and didn’t speak the same language than me could send me a Christmas present from a far country. I remember when I opened the box I found your letter; at that time I didn’t speak English so I asked a friend to translate me the letter, and there is a part in your letter that touched my heart, which reads as follows: “May you see the love that Jesus has for you through this gift that I send with all my love and prayers.”.  I could definitely see God’s love through your gift and it made me feel special. Thank you! :)

- What difference did receiving a shoe box make in your life?

    To receive the OCC shoe box showed me one more time how wonderful is the love of God that touches people’s hearts to bring joy to children and make an impact in their lives as well as your gift did in my life. It encouraged me to continue sharing more about God’s love and mercy.

What led you to find me so many years later?

   I always wanted to thank you for the gift which was a blessing to me. A few months ago I found your letter among my things and I decided to look for you in order to get to know you and thank you for the nice gesture of sending a gift which God had designated it was for me.

- Do you have any other thoughts about this ministry that you would like to share?

I consider that OCC is a ministry of blessing to many people, not only for children who receive the gifts but also for people who send them because they have the opportunity to make many children smile, show them more about Jesus love and more about the wonderful plan He has for each of them.

I was so blessed and encouraged to hear Meryl share her story. I am motivated once again to partner with this ministry!

How can you get involved?

Pack a shoe box. The holidays are upon us, and the perfect time of year to minister to the hungry, lost, and hurting. We have a wonderful opportunity to send a simple shoe box gift through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child to a needy child around the world this Christmas. It is as simple as gathering a shoe box, collecting some fun goodies and treats, and sending the message of God’s love to the nations. OCC is one practical, hands-on way to participate with your family in cultivating a love for giving, and receiving unimaginable joy in return this Christmas! Learn how to pack a shoe box and find a drop off spot in your area. Collection week is November 14-21, 2011!

Please watch this video describing the mission of Operation Christmas Child:

Pray! Whether you can give a shoe box or not, don’t neglect to participate with this ministry through the power of prayer. Pray for the country, community, and family that will receive these shoe boxes. Pray for the Lord to redeem and change the lives of these children around the world. Join the prayer network.

Track your package! OCC has a awesome new feature of following your shoe box which allows you to see where your shoe box goes. Make your shipping cost donation online and receive a special tracking label to attach to your shoe box and be amazed how God directs it.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

18 Responses to Operation Christmas Child – Meryl’s Story

  1. Emily November 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I love OCC!! I don’t really think to include letters with them, I guess that’s the laziness in me.

    I have one half box of stuff that people donated that I need to finish, maybe I will put a note in that one.

  2. Jessica November 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    At the end of that video, Franklin Graham and his daughter are in Haiti. I know because last December, my husband was there on a mission trip. He got stranded an extra few days because of the riots and was able to help hand out shoeboxes to the the Haitian children! I know that seeing it firsthand was more than he could describe, because this year, as we were packing up our boxes, he couldn’t help from getting emotional. I can’t help but think that for each of our children here that pack boxes, they have a counterpart half-way around the world that will get to know the love and hope of Christ.

  3. Lauren November 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    It touched my heart to read this story! As I was packing a shoebox the other day, I was wondering if any recipients ever searched out those who sent them a shoebox, and it is wonderful to hear this example of Meryl!

  4. Laura November 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    HI Lindsay,
    What an amazing story! I linked it on my facebook because I want everyone to see it! I am a missionary at an orphanage in Mozambique and we have received the boxes a couple times and WHAT a blessing they are! I love when I am in the US approaching Christmas, as I am now, and seeing people at the dollar store with a shoe box – I always ask if they are doing a OCC box and tell them firsthand what a blessing it is. Thank you for spreading the word!

  5. Cari November 3, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    What an incredible account – thanks for sharing this. I recently wrote a post on my blog regarding Operation Christmas Child and how we might best serve these children by being mindful about what goes into our boxes.

    http://www.thoughtsinterrupted.net/2011/10/operation-christmas-child-trash-or.html

    Cari

  6. Angela November 3, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    Wow! Praise God! Thank you for sharing this story. My MOPS group is collecting boxes this year and I am going to share this story with them.

  7. Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living.com November 3, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Oh my goodness! This is awesome. We have been doing this for years and now run the program for our little church. I did a blog post on this a few weeks ago, I am going to go back and link this article on it.

    It is so easy to forget about all the little things we have done, and I want it that way. It is so cool to have it come back later though. In heaven I can’t wait for lots of these kinds of experiences… it brings tears to my eyes.

  8. connie November 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    hi lindsay….perfect timing – my boys and i just finished putting together our shoebox this evening! it’s our first time participating, and we definitely plan on continuing. how awesome to have received that letter after so many years. it just shows what an impact some gifts and a message of God’s love can bring to a child.

  9. Renee G. November 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this. How exciting and amazing it must’ve been to been contacted by her! Who would’ve known?! This is encouraging because the times I’ve written a note I assumed that they would never be answered….but who knows! That’s very exciting to me.

    On another note, these OCC boxes are amazing. I’ve been doing them for years and one year my husband and I got to experience being with children in Honduras while they opened their OCC boxes. It was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had. These sweet dear children, in the dead heat and humidity of a Honduran summer, dressed up in their absolute best clothes to be with us and open their boxes. They were excited beyond description to be eating completely melted candy and running around with pure joy wearing their brand new winter gloves and stocking caps! Seriously! It still brings laughter and tears to my eyes 8 years later. It not only has taught me what NOT to pack in a box :) but also taught me the experience on the other end. Something I dwell on each year when my husband, me and now our children shop and pack the boxes together. I treasure that sweet moment right up there with the birth of my children!

  10. April November 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Wow, that’s incredible! It’s amazing that I was able to read this just after reading a post on Money Saving Mom’s blog about being frugal to be able to give more to others (this was one of the organizations talked about). The link – http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/11/how-to-give-generously-through-couponing.html

    Now I’m totally inspired to partner with Operation Christmas Child. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lindsay November 3, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      Awesome! That is so cool. Living simply in order to give generously is my passion and mission and I am so excited to hear of others getting inspired in similar ways…even through couponing! I love the creativity.

  11. Stephanie November 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience with your readers…It is so easy to wonder if our efforts at helping the needy for God’s glory really do make a difference! I have really enjoyed reading about your story and the way that He worked in your life to bring you as a single woman looking for a ministry to a mother of three with more of a ministry writing than you ever could have imagined! Just know that you are such an encouragement to those of us who are trying to serve Him in our everyday single life while anticipating His future for us!

    I am working on organizing a project raising money in the Philippines (www.running4barefeet.org) and was wondering how you got the Compassion banner for the Philippines? This year, I am running virtually in the Philippines so I would love to do a country-specific banner!

    Blessings,
    Stephanie

    • Lindsay November 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      I received that banner directly from Compassion. If you want the same one I can send you the HTML code.

  12. Jessica November 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    How wonderful!

    We started doing OCC boxes after my husband and I were married: Now, we do them with our daughter…making it a family excursion to shop for the boxes, pack them, and take them to our church. This year we’re going to do the slips online so that we can see where in the world they go.

    • Renee G. November 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      Wow! i didn’t know this was an option. I’m definitely doing that this year. thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to see where they go!

  13. Regina Murphy November 2, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Wow! What an amazing thing that we can touch people on the other side of the world, and then have them find us a decade later in this ever shrinking world. I have loved this ministry for years and now see all the more how wonderful it is. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Lacey Wilcox November 2, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Wow. I’ve heard of OCC and helped with it a few times, but hearing her story is so impactful–I definitely want to make this something my family is a part of in the future. What a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  15. Steph November 2, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    AWESOME!! What a wonderful feeling knowing that even today your special gift could have changed the life of a person forever. Our family got involved with this for the 1st time last year and will be again this year through our church. Reading this will give special meaning to our gifts this year, knowing that the potential change it could bring to the recipient. God is GOOD!!