For Kristen Brandt, Operation Christmas Child is about more than simply giving Christmas presents to those who are less fortunate.

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“I love the whole concept,” Kristen said as she and her six-year-old son wrote a letter to include inside their packed shoeboxes.”It embodies what Christmas is all about. It’s amazing how many kids are able to hear the Gospel message through this.”

And this year, because of God’s great work through our Immanuel family and friends, our church specifically was able to send off 4,535 shoeboxes to children who will hear about how Jesus loves them and wants to be their forever friend and King.

Though our Immanuel family and friends exceeded the goal of packing 3,999 boxes, instead sending off 4,535, our partnership with OCC actually isn’t over yet this holiday season!

“We have labored long and hard to complete our shoe box gifts for this year, but these boxes are just beginning their journey to the children,” said Connie Pfeifer, OCC coordinator. “These boxes will travel by truck, plane, sea container, boat, canoe, bicycle, donkey, or by whatever means possible to reach the needy children of the world.  The volunteers in the receiving countries are just beginning their work – and they need our prayers.”

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We can be praying in very specific ways:

“Pray for favor of the boxes through customs, pray for no loss or damage to the shipments, pray for the health and stamina of the receiving volunteers, pray for the pastors who are planning outreaches in their communities, and pray for the hearts of the children and their families who will receive their shoe box gift and who will have an opportunity to be part of the follow-up discipleship program called The Greatest Journey,” Connie said.  “Pray for impacted lives!”

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While we pray for the hearts of those who will deliver the boxes and receive them, we also can remember those who packed boxes, that they would understand the magnitude of their time spent with OCC.

“At Christmas time, most people think about what they are getting or doing or where they are going,” said Susan Graff, who also packed boxes at the packing party. “But this is about giving to people who don’t even know the joy of getting a gift. It brings the joy of giving to a whole different level.”

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