Each year many of our PSD Lutheran Schools participate in the Operation Christmas Child Outreach Program. Operation Christmas Child is a way for boys and girls around the world to hear the Good News of the Gospel and come to know and follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Over the last 6 years, this unified service project has generated more than 72,000 gift-filled shoe boxes! In addition, Orange Lutheran High School hosts a “Community Packing Party” before Christmas. Over the last six years more than 16,000 gift-filled shoeboxes were packed and sent separately to countries where many have never heard the name of Jesus. That’s a total of more than 88,000 children who heard the Gospel because of the students in our district’s schools!
Our PSD school leaders reported that this is one of their student’s favorite projects each year. Many of our schools gather these boxes in the church, then pray for their delivery. One school reported that their eighth graders make cards for each box and then take a field trip to deliver them to the distribution center, staying to package the boxes for shipment overseas.
Principal Jim Violette, from Prince of Peace Lutheran School in Anaheim, shared that on collection morning all students gathered around the flagpole. Each student held one or two boxes in their hands. The students and teachers prayed over each box and then each student walked their box to the collection van. This experience visibly moved the gentleman who was there to collect the boxes, saying that he had never witnessed each student in the school individually delivering their box into his van.
Two schools in the San Diego area participate in a similar project, but the boxes they collect are taken to Tijuana, Mexico, through Lutheran Border Concerns. St. Paul’s, San Diego, and Christ Lutheran, La Mesa, are especially thankful that they are able to see the children’s faces as they receive their gifts at a special breakfast in their community.
At local outreach events worldwide, children not only receive the boxes with toys and supplies but also The Greatest Gift booklet. Locally-trained Christians share the Gospel, and many participate in a 12-session discipleship program called The Greatest Journey. Through The Greatest Journey, children learn to follow Jesus and tell others about Him. Since 2009, 30.9 million shoebox recipients have participated in The Greatest Journey.
With 198 million shoebox gifts delivered to over 170 countries and territories over 29 years, God is truly at work through this effort and many of our PSD churches and schools are blessed to be a part of it.
Enable more stories of transformed lives through Jesus
Untold thousands are still in darkness, lost like “sheep that have gone astray”. But this is exactly the mission our Lord has created His Church for – reaching the lost for Jesus’ sake in as many ways as necessary. This is the purpose for which our 300 churches and 150 schools were founded in their many contexts. And “the fields are ripe for the harvest” right now!
Your gifts are critical and enable us to continue and expand our shared work together, fulfilling the PSD mission of effectively resourcing congregations and schools for transforming lives and making the Great Commission REAL!
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