A Decade of Boxes!

A Decade of Boxes!

Dec 22, 2016

by Courtney Mattus

SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ

Ten years ago, the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh was given the opportunity to support Mark and Lera Hamilton, missionaries in Belarus, by participating in a shoebox ministry. The congregation packed shoeboxes that were sent overseas and distributed to children by the Hamilton family to spread the love of God. After two years of participating in this ministry, the Hamiltons were no longer able to distribute shoeboxes but the Shiloh Church wanted to continue to spread God’s love through a similar outreach. In 2008, the congregation began packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child through the Samaritan’s Purse organization. This ministry sends shoeboxes all over the world to children who desperately need to know the love of the Lord. Samaritan’s Purse does not just ship shoeboxes — with each shoebox, they hand out the Word of God in each child’s native language and give each child the opportunity to enroll in The Greatest Journey, a dynamic, 12-lesson Bible study course guiding them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

During 2016, the members of the Shiloh Church collected items for the Operation Christmas Child ministry. Each month, a new item or category was the focus. In January, they collected socks and tissues. In March, they collected toothpaste and toothbrushes … October was coloring books and crayons. They also collected boxes that members filled at home. The children’s Sabbath School classes packed boxes together. This year-long collection led to a Sunday in November when they had a church-wide “packing party” when members of the congregation came together and spent a couple hours filling empty boxes with material items and most importantly, LOVE.

Each box brimmed with personal items such as soap, washcloths, toothbrushes, hair brushes and then had “WOW” items such as dolls, trucks, balls, flashlights, etc. The congregation prayed over the boxes and added a finishing touch to let the recipients know who was sending their love — a picture of the filled boxes with each person at the packing party. The Shiloh Church knows that these boxes filled with items are not just shoeboxes…they represent children. For some children this is the first time they are learning that God loves them and they are special. The shoeboxes are the catalyst to encourage these children to participate in “The Greatest Journey” and learn more about God and accept Jesus as their own personal Lord and Savior. For the Shiloh SDB Church’s 10th anniversary of shoebox ministries, they achieved their church record. They filled 200 shoeboxes.

Over the last decade, the Shiloh Church has filled 1,257 shoeboxes. This means 1,257 children felt the love of God. 1,257 children received the Word of God in their native language. 1,257 children had the opportunity to participate in “The Greatest Journey” to learn to faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Looking forward to the next decade, the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh encourages others to participate in this awesome ministry and also asks for prayer as these boxes continue to work in these children’s lives and as more lives are reached.

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