(928) 649-9983 office@riverchurchaz.org

What Goes In The Box Is Fun, What Comes Out Is Eternal!

By Maria Christensen

What is Operation Christmas Child?  Can a simple shoe box really change a life?

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. Their mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoe boxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. These simple gifts are packed with love by people in the U.S. and Canada, then shipped outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

Can You Say, “It Is Well With My Soul” And Mean It?

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 146 million children in more than 100 countries. Shoebox gifts are a way to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. A Gospel booklet available in more than 75 languages is given out with shoebox gifts. With the Apostle John as narrator, the booklet shares 11 Scripture stories and invites children to follow Christ.

Local ministry partners distribute the shoeboxes to children in their communities. After receiving shoebox gifts, many boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program. Through the program, our local ministry partners are able to establish long-term, caring relationships with children and families by sharing the love of Jesus Christ. Offered in more than 100 countries, 6.9 million children have made decisions for Christ since 2009, after graduating from the program! These results are multiplied when these children become “missionaries” to their own families, friends, villages!


The shoebox gifts are shipped out from our processing centers by the middle of December, and depending on the distance they must travel, some are delivered by Christmas—primarily those in Central/South America and Eastern Europe. Most of the gifts are sent via ship. Although the collection of Operation Christmas Child gifts is during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, the delivery of some gifts is sometimes delayed due to international shipping. They may not clear customs in receiving countries until spring. In addition, many countries that receive the gifts must transport the gifts to rural areas using very poor roads and sometimes very unconventional means, e.g. camel, donkey, yak, bicycle, river raft, even elephant!

Packing shoe boxes allows us to participate in a global mission outreach to the children of the world who need Jesus, in a very personal way. Please prayerfully consider packing as many as you are led to, knowing God always puts the right box in the hands of the right child! What is so small to us may mean the world to them…

“Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth”  1 John 3:18


What Goes In The Box Is Fun, What Comes Out Is Eternal!


River Church of Cottonwood AZ

Not Just A Church, A Family

River Church Az