Monday, November 30, 2015

ABC's of Godly Character - A

A is for attitude! Attitude is the expression of your feelings or emotions about a person or thing evident by your words and actions.
Are you a positive or negative person? Is life all about “you” or about how God can use you to make a difference in the life of others?  Are you a bragger or a gossip? Philippians 2:5 says  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” (NASB)Is your daily attitude like Christ? We can become impatience, frustration, quite, upset, angry, sad, happy, excited, hyper, the list could go on and on and on. These are attitudes, but not excuses to act ungodly. Psalm 19:14 says “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (ESV). God doesn’t excuse our attitudes because of what He has allowed in our life. He has allowed everything for a reason. He’can and will use whatever is happening in your life, if you will let Him. Are your thoughts, actions, and words pleasing and acceptable to God? When our attitude is right, like that of Christ, then all we say and do should be honorable, truthful, and pleasing to God. God knows we can’t fix our bad attitudes without His help. Ask Him to help you. Take your every thought to Christ, lean on Him, because His grace is sufficient for you, His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)  God wants us to do life with Him, through Him, in Himthen He can redeem the pain, limitations, and even our attitudes for the glory of His Kingdom.  
Prayer starter: Father, teach me to willingly surrender to Your will. Grant me courage to take up my cross daily and follow You, then my life will honor and glorify You, and whatever You allow will be well worth the cost. May I learn to walk worthy. Amen.  
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to ask God to give you an attitude adjustment today!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Barnett Year in Review ~ 2015

Merry Christmas!
It has been a few years since I have typed a letter about our year, but we have had such a great year, I couldn’t let this one pass!  So here we go…

January 2015 had lots of excitement.  Kevin went on his first mission trip to Panama, January 8-16th.  He had a great experience.  He does not like coffee, but he tried it in Panama, just to be polite…didn’t like it there either.  I don’t know what’s wrong with him—I am like my Mom and my Papaw Gillis, I really like coffee.  During January our boys won lots of basketball and Matthew turned 16 on January 20th!  At the end of the month I enjoyed a little weekend get-away at Camp Paron for the Ministers Wives Retreat.  Then on January 25th, our bonus son, Dustin, joined our church as a member!  He has lived with us for a year now. 

February had lots of excitement.  I am the Regional Prayer Coordinator and Kevin is the Collection Center Coordinator for NEA Operation Christmas Child.  We had a Global Day of Prayer and Fasting in February.  In the middle of the month, we had junior high and senior high district basketball tournaments.  Our boys won!!!!  Bay Yellowjackets were advancing to Regionals!

In March the basketball team advanced to 1A State Tournament and won!  Dustin and Matthew both played and Michael was the Team Manager, so all three of them got State Championship Rings…ask them to show you the next time you see us!  On March 8th Kevin turned 42.  Can he really be that old?!?  We took a short Spring Break trip to Branson and Lake Norfork.  We had a blast, except for Dustin, who doesn’t like roller coasters.  We all enjoyed skiing and fishing at the lake.

April brought on more basketball for the boys, as they played AAU Basketball.  They boys also ran the March for Missions 5K in Walnut Ridge and won their age groups!  On April 4th, I done something I have wanted to do for a long time…I started a Blog called “As For Me And My House”.  I spend lots of time blogging about Operation Christmas Child and my family, but those are the things I’m very passionate about.

In May I got to go to a Mother-Daughter Banquet at Corners Chapel with my Mom and Leiandrea; it was very nice.  School ended in May with the boys being exempt from their Semester Exams!  Summer didn’t start for Dustin and Matthew because we made them take Driver’s Education.  They both passed which means an insurance discount!

June brought on summer jobs.  Matthew and Dustin spent most of their weekends working at the baseball park.  Michael worked around the house.  They spent their weekdays at basketball camp for school.  Then on June 8th Kevin, Matthew, Dustin and some more friends went to Camp Beaverfork.  This is where our summer turned REALLY GREAT!!!!  At camp Matthew surrendered to ministry.  He feels like he is being called in to Children’s Ministry or Youth Ministry.  On June 14th we had our 6 year anniversary at First Free Will Baptist Church.  We ended June with Vacation Bible School and the boys helping with the classes.

On July 8th Matthew arrived at Welch College for his 2nd summer as part of the Truth and Peace Leadership Conference.  He really liked Welch and decided that is where he wants to attend college.  He wants a degree in Ministry.  July 19-23rd we had our National Convention of Free Will Baptist in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It was beautiful there.   On July 29th Michael turned 13!  It feels a little like a dream watching our sons grow and mature so quickly.   

August 6th Kevin and I had our 21st wedding anniversary; I can’t believe it has been 21 years already.  School started back way to soon, summer is never long enough.  The boys went to a Youth Retreat at Camp Beaverfork August 28-29th.  On August 30th I had my first speaking engagement for Operation Christmas Child at the church I grew up at.  The church was so excited to take part that they ended up packing 92 shoeboxes!  Matthew also had some of his 1st preaching engagements, but he liked to call them “devotions”.  Now he preaches every 3 weeks in our Youth Services and Michael runs the projector every Youth Service. 

September brought on the D6 Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was a great conference, as always.  We need to always be intentional about discipling the next generation.  Michael, Matthew and Dustin faithfully read scripture in front of the church, serve as ushers, sound and PowerPoint technicians.  We are so thankful to see them serving the Lord.  In September Matthew applied to E-TEAM, a summer mission trip experience.  In October we found out he got accepted to E-TEAM CUBA!  Also in October, deer hunting and putting up Christmas trees began! 

November has been great.  November 1-4th Kevin was in Revival at Victory General Baptist and they let Matthew preach the 2nd night; both of them done a wonderful job speaking.  We had our Operation Christmas Child Packing Party at FFWBC with a total of 184 Gospel Opportunity Shoeboxes!  On November 20th I turned 40!  We were almost too busy to celebrate because it happened right in the middle of National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child.  November 23rd, our 3 boys and the rest of our youth group cooked and served dinner at the Salvation Army and really enjoyed it.  Now it is Thanksgiving weekend and I’m reflecting on how very blessed we have been in 2015.  Just today, we found out that Matthew got accepted to Truth and Peace 2016.  God is blessing our family and working in our lives so much.  I have been invited to go to Lima, Peru on a Medical Mission Trip during June of 2016 for a week.  If my health will stay leveled out and my lungs healthy hopefully I will be able to go.  Matthew will be traveling for 6 weeks during June and July 2016.  Hopefully Michael and Dustin will decide to apply for Truth and Peace next year and step out of their comfort zones. 

During December our bonus son, Dustin, will turn 17.  We will soon be celebrating the Haag Christmas on December 12th, the Gillis Christmas on December 24th, and the birth of our Lord and Savior on December 25th.  Another year will have passed and I hope each of you can say 2015 was a year to be thankful for also.  Psalm 136:1 says “Give thanks unto the Lord, for HE is good”.  I am thankful for all of you being in our lives and I am so thankful for what God is doing in our lives!  I can’t wait to see what all we will go and do in 2016.  Pray for us on this adventure we call life!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Jennifer, Kevin, Matthew, Michael & Dustin

Blast From The Past ~ November 2007

November 23, 2007
Happy Holidays to All,
I know I have been awful about keeping everyone up to date on us lately…please forgive me!  Now that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is on the way, I look back and I realize we have so much to be thankful for this year.  Let me recap just a few wonderful moments for you.

January - Matthew turned 8 and played his 1st season of basketball thru the Upward program that the area churches do. Kevin helped coach his team.  

February  Michael told our pastor on Valentine’s Day that he wanted to get (in his words) bab-a-tized. (Baptized)!  We are so thankful that both of our boys received Christ as their Lord and Savior at such a young age.

March – March 4th we borrowed First Free Will’s Baptistery and Michael was baptized.  That was the best birthday present that Kevin could have ever received.   Kevin turned 34, started his usual “traveling season”, and we spent spring break at the Lake.  Oh, I almost forgot, like Kevin’s usual traveling, I had my usual spring asthma/bronchitis fits.  This time it was only for about 3 months.  The doctors finally figured out (after many visits to my general physician, lung specialist and allergy doctor) that we needed to increase my reflux medicine.  It worked and I haven’t been sick since this spring!  Praise the Lord!  That is a major accomplishment for me!

April  Matthew was in baseball full force… His team placed 2nd in district.  They were in several tournaments and were always 1st or 2nd place.  I learned to “watch” the game instead of TALK!  You know that was hard for me, but I kept the stats and official book while Kevin was coaching.  Michael played in the dirt many hours!  We had so much fun.  The best of April was April 22ndwhen Kevin surrendered to preach.  We have always been active in church and tried to do as God wanted us to, but I think we both knew this was a decision Kevin had delayed for a while.  We have been amazed at how much better things have been since he did this.  Life was never bad, but it falls into place so much more wonderfully when you totally give your life to Him and do His will.  The funniest I guess, was when everyone that loves us so much pointed out that we had “preachers kids” now!  Michael has probably filled those stereo-typed shoes very well.  He is our little comedian.  I wish I had enough time and pages to tell you all of his funny moments and comments, but you would be reading for a while.

May – Kevin preached is first sermon and did very well.  Thanks to all of you who were able to attend… and “sorry” to all I forgot to tell.  At this point I was a little stressed at the idea of being a “preacher’s wife” and what the future held.  Anyway, it meant so much to Kevin to see you there or to know you were praying for him.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Mother’s day was eventful; Michael decided to draw my grandmother a pretty picture for the special day.  The problem was that he chose to use a rock as a writing utensil and her car as a piece of paper.   He decorated the whole passenger side very well.   (Waylan Deen…I know you are dying right now, do you want him to draw you a picture?)  That is the wonderful thing about Grandmothers (their hearts are huge)…she asked the next day if any of us knew what happened and Michael told us all about it. She forgave him, of course, and didn’t think he should be punished because of his honesty.  Well, needless to say, he did not get out of trouble, but we told him we were proud of him for telling the truth.  Then Matthew had to have his turn at acting like a heathen.  He and 6 other kids decided to play dodge ball with rocks at recess!  I about had a heart attack when the principal called requesting permission to paddle him.  I totally freaked out.  We discovered that we think he will be a “crowd follower – wanting to fit in” and Michael will be the “instigator” in events.  I learned that boys do not behave like girls and will most likely cut up at school sometime.   I’m still a little clueless about raising boys from time to time.

June  Kevin preached his 2nd sermon.  He was surprised to find out that our pastor was going to be out of town and he even had to do our communion services.  We do them the 1st Sunday of each quarter.  He was nervous but it went great.

July – Michael turned 5.  We spent 10 days at the lake for vacation.  Michael learned to ski and Matthew improved his skills.  At this point Kevin was only having the opportunity to preach about 1 time per month, so he was really missing getting to do it.  He wanted more experience so badly that he drove home from our vacation for the day to fill in for our pastor.  Five hours on the road to preach for 20-30 minutes.  He is so dedicated and excited.  I am so proud of him and blessed to call him my husband.  I finally got a new cell phone… I shopped around for months and found just what I wanted.  My old phone was so worn out that I had rubbed all the numbers off of it and some quit working.  I know it is hard to believe I could wear out a cell phone, I hardly ever talk!  Just joking!  Anyway, I was so proud of it, had it 2 days and ran over it!  I guess God taught me a lesson about material things!  After I cried over it, Kevin replaced it!  We started going to the public library weekly and Michael learned to read.  We decided he was ready for school, we just prayed school was ready for Him!  

August – God continued to bless us.  We had our 13th wedding anniversary.  We had a wonderful gift.  Our anniversary was during Vacation Bible School.  Our church was running is the mid 30s and we had over 60 each night of Bible school and 93 the last night!  We were so excited.  Kevin had the wonderful opportunity to preach at Bro. Dale Blackwell’s church in Bono while he was away.  He is really looking forward to being the pastor of a church one day.  Michael spent Sunday School under the table because girls were in the class.  We did some serious praying because school started the next week.  At the end of August, it was a little unusual, but Kevin was ordained as a Deacon.  I say unusual, because he was set aside to be ordained last August, but surrendered to preach after he was asked to be a deacon.  Being a small church we only had 1 deacon (Kevin’s Dad) so they wanted him to go ahead and get ordained and serve as one until he completes the ordination and licensure process for pastor.

September - Matthew still gets stressed out very easily.  He wants everything to be as perfect as possible and is always concerned about what is going on.  The school year brought out more of his uncontrollable desire for perfectionism and stress trying to achieve it. (I think he and Stephanie Deen are brother and sister some how!)  After several weeks of headaches, he was diagnosed with Migraines.   We can’t say much about his personality, because he is a lot like Kevin and I.   Thankfully, Michael is laid back and doesn’t fret over much.  He pretty much laughs his troubles away.

October – Once again full of blessings.  Our pastor and church board met with Kevin and asked him to talk and pray with me and the boys about becoming associate pastor!  Parent/teacher conferences informed us that that both boys had wonderful grades.  Michael’s kindergarten teacher taught Matthew and Kevin also.  She told us that Michael was an excellent student, but he was definitely a rambunctious little boy and nothing like Matthew! Like I said, they are different from one another.  

November  Kevin accepted the church’s offer and was appointed as Associate Pastor.  Everyone is so supportive.  Our pastor is in his 70’s and is planning to retire a few years down the road, so this will be a wonderful way for Kevin to learn and get experience.  That was a wonderful 32nd birthday gift for me.  Our church has grown from the 12 that were there when we started going in 2006 to averaging in the 50’s.  We had 9 people join last month!  We are praying to have more come that are out of church in the community.  I know this was a long letter, but I told you we have so much to be thankful for this Holiday Season.  

December 16th at 5pm we are having our Christmas Program.  Matthew still takes piano lessons and will be playing the music in the play while the rest of the kids sing!   Michael told me last night that he is ready to start taking piano.  We will see if Matthew’s teacher is brave enough to conquer two Barnett Boys!

We love each of you and wish we could see you more often.  Maybe I will be able to keep in touch better in 2008.  Please keep our family in your prayers as we continue to try to do God’s will.  We hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and hope to see you soon.

Kevin, Jennifer, Matthew and Michael 

Friday, November 27, 2015

My Thanksgiving Top 20...

I have so much much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend. We were challenged Sunday to make a list of 20 things we are thankful for over the week. First and foremost, I am very thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves me and saved my soul from hell. I am also thankful for my husband, Kevin, who is a wonderful Pastor, Father, and my best friend. I couldn't imagine doing life without him by my side! I am thankful for my 2 sons and bonus son, Matthew, Michael and Dustin; it is such a blessing to see God working in their lives. I am thankful for my parents, who raised me in a Christian Home and taught me to love unconditionally. I am thankful for my big sister, she has always been there for me. I am thankful for wonderful in-laws who love me like a daughter. I am thankful for the churches that taught me God's Word and about a relationship with Christ (Corners Chapel, Southridge, and First Free Will Baptist Church). At FFWBC, we as a family, do ministry together, and all serve. I am thankful for all 9 of my nieces and nephews and my great-nephew (to be born next year). They bring such laughter, happiness, and fun into my
life. I am thankful for the great job I am blessed with, in Christian work environment, where I work with 4 great ladies and my brother-in-law. I am thankful for the FWB denomination and the opportunities it has for my sons to learn to be servants. Truth and Peace has been life-changing for Matthew and I can't wait to see what happens in his life through his ETEAM Cuba experience in June 2016. I am thankful for Operation Christmas Child and being able to serve with such a great ministry. I am thankful for my home where we can raise our sons in a safe environment surrounded by family. I am thankful for the USA, we are such a blessed nation compared to the rest of the world. I am thankful for my Bible; God's Word is alive and true and works in my daily to mold me into a better person. I am thankful for medicine and my doctors who try to keep me as healthy as possible while living with severe asthma. I am thankful for this beautiful world God created and all that is in it. It shouts out that there is a Creator who loves us and gives us things to enjoy. Lastly, I am thankful for my faithful friends who make me a better person.  

True friends are such a blessing. We should be thankful for our true friends and we should strive to be true friends to others.  What does it mean to be a "Real TRUE Friend?" How can you tell who your friends really are? Is every facebook "friend" you have a true friend? Healthy friendships are vital to life, so it's important that we have good friends and that we become good friends to others. God's Word is the ultimate source for determining how to do friendship right. Here are a few key traits that should be present in any healthy friendship.
  1. Friends Forgive. Friends don't bring up old dirt and gossip about each other. They forgive and seek forgiveness with transparency and humility. "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9  
  2. Friends love unconditionally! They are there for you when you need them most, not just when it's convenient. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Proverbs 17:17 
  3. Friends have your back! Loyalty is vital to friendship. There's no such thing as a "frenemy". "There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 
  4. Friends tell you the truth. Even when it's hard to hear, friends will speak the truth in love. "An honest answer is a sign of true friendship." Proverbs 24:26
  5. Friends make each other better! "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17
  6. Friends communicate openly. "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 14:15 
Let's all strive to live out these traits in our own relationships and I believe our friendships will become more enriching, fulfilling and God-honoring. (adapted from the book Soul Caffeine)

What 20 things are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

OCC November Prayer Requests - RECA

This week will you pray for Russia, Europe & Central Asia (RECA) Sensitive Country where Christianity is illegal! 
Specific requests are: 
1. Pray for the provision of a consignee so that the shoeboxes can come into the country.
2. Pray the government puts less pressure on the volunteer National and Regional Leadership Teams.
3. Pray for opportunities to reach children with The Greatest Journey discipleship program.  
4. Pray the team will be able to safely receive the gift boxes and the government won’t interfere. Pray that believers will have a mutual understanding and love so they will distribute the gifts wisely.
5. Pray the gift boxes will clear customs without any obstacles and that there will be great weather for the distributions.

NEA Requests:
1. Let us give thanks to God for allowing us to do abundantly more in NEA this year! We reported 10,204 Gospel Opportunities collected!!!! 
2. Pray for all the transporters as they travel to the 8 Processing Centers across the USA. 
3. Pray for all the volunteers that will be working at the processing centers to prepare our Gospel Opportunities for International Travel. 
4. Pray for the next travel step  by plane, truck, or ship to more than 100 countries and territories where local churches will distribute the boxes to children in need. 
5. Pray for the Gospel to sprout and grow as it will be shared through an evangelistic booklet called The Greatest Gift, available in 65 languages and that we can get in translated into more languages. 

Thanks for your faithfulness as prayer warriors for OCC, none of this would be possible without each one of you! 

 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 ESV

“In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah” Psalm 44:8 ESV 

National Collection Week Is Over, Now What?

Now that National Collection Week has ended what happens? The next step of the shoebox journey begins...
I AM THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE NEA OCC reported 10,204 shoeboxes this year! That's over 10,000 kids that will learn about Jesus through your generosity this week!!!!

Thank You to everyone who packed shoeboxes, this ministry would not be a success without each one of you! 
Thanks to:
  • Our 50 volunteers who helped at First Free Will Baptist Church Collection Center this week
  • All our wonderful prayer warriors
  • All our other 6 counties of NEA OCC that has lots of volunteers and worked hard to receive shoeboxes all week
  • To our drivers that will be transporting our precious cargo to Denver
  • and most of all THANKS BE TO GOD, OUR LOVING FATHER, who blessed us with abundantly more Gospel Opportunities Shoeboxes this year that will impact kids around the world! What a Mighty God we serve! I love OCC Ministry and all of you! 
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Psalm 118:1
In the words of Melinda Dixon, our Area Coordinator:
"Wow! God really showed up & showed out today! 10,204 shoeboxes from NEA! High totals were recorded today from almost all counties! Craighead: 3703, Greene: 2500, Mississippi: 1233, Randolph: 914, Lawrence: 413, Clay: 504, and Poinsett: 937. So humbled to work with such an awesome group of volunteers! Amazing to think about the eternal impact that these boxes will have on so many children!"
The rest of the Journey of Your Shoeboxes... What Happens Next Article 

Build a Shoebox On-line for $25

National Collection Week is over but it's not too late, you can build a shoebox online and help a child in need! Click here to build one:
Build Your Shoebox Online $25  
When shoeboxes are sent to restricted areas, the gift options have been carefully chosen to be free of culturally taboo items such as certain dolls, toys, and crosses. In some countries, items like those could prevent the importation of thousands of shoeboxes and leave many children without the blessing of a gift. Specially packed items allow the gifts to easily clear customs.

“We’re trying to give the believers on the ground a platform to share the Gospel in a way that’s culturally sensitive,” said Jalal, an Operation Christmas Child contact working in a restricted region.

In sensitive areas, challenges to freedom of religious expression arise from governmental and religious authorities that try to restrict the movements of Christian believers and churches. Still, project partners in these challenging regions are determined to demonstrate to children and families that God loves them.

Using shoeboxes gifts that are built online, and other restricted area shoeboxes, Samaritan’s Purse can show this love by giving gifts, despite living in countries that are traditionally hostile toward the message of Jesus Christ. 

Join my "Build One With Me" Build A Box Online Challenge: Build One With Me Challenge Link and help me reach my goal by packing your own online boxes today!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 8 ~ Operation Christmas Child

It's transportation day! Pray for the seamless transportation of the shoebox gifts as they are transferred from local drop-off sites to regional Processing Centers. 

What a journey...The end is here...what an adventure it has been! It has been a great experience, some long days, and lots of prayers being said on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. We have given our best efforts, and been filled with true joy in the process, yet I still wish I could/would have packed just one more shoebox so that one more child could come to know Jesus. We have labored and now God can multiply these precious boxes as they go into the world! May each one reach one or many, many more!

"Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Ephesians 5:20
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" Psalm 118:1

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 7 ~ Operation Christmas Child

Thank God for blessing Operation Christmas Child with more than 100 million shoebox gifts over the past 20 years. Pray that millions of more children will experience the love of Jesus Christ through these simple gifts.

What a ministry! Twenty years ago, Franklin Graham made a promise to collect a few gifts for boys and girls in war-torn Bosnia. Today, Operation Christmas Child has become a year-round, international project, delivering millions of shoeboxes to children in nearly 100 countries each year.

In July 1993, a man from the United Kingdom named Dave Cooke reached out to Graham because he needed help collecting gifts to send to children in Bosnia. Graham promptly agreed, then—as he tells it—just as promptly pushed the project to the back of his mind and continued focusing on various other projects at Samaritan’s Purse. Later that fall, Cooke called back asking when Samaritan’s Purse would send the gifts they collected. With the last-minute help of several pastors, including Free Will Baptist Pastor Rob Morgan of Donelson Fellowship Church in Nashville, Tennessee, G
raham was able to deliver on his promise and sent 28,000 shoebox gifts for the children of Bosnia.
Franklin Graham delivers shoebox gifts to children in Bosnia.
 The program has grown from 28,000 the first year to over 100 million. Twenty years later, more than 103 million shoebox gifts have been collected and delivered in more than 150 countries, each one representing an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. Whether their needs are physical or spiritual, the millions of boys and girls who have received shoeboxes have experienced powerful blessings through these simple gifts. Each gift is not only filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies, but also with the power of prayer. “We ask people to pray as a family as you pack the boxes,” Graham said. “Pray that God would use them. And He does. We have seen miracle after miracle of how God has used a box.” 

Twelve-year-old Dulce Maria lives in extreme poverty in Honduras with her father and four siblings. Her mother committed suicide in 2002 due to extreme depression over the family’s difficult financial situation. Her father takes her to school every day and then goes to do janitorial and maintenance work in households that hire him for a day.  Dulce Maria always wanted a doll, but her father couldn’t afford to buy her one. Imagine the surprise and delight she experienced when she received a shoebox gift, opened it, and saw a doll! Jumping for joy, she said it was the most beautiful one she had ever seen. But her joy was not yet complete that day. The Gospel was shared during the distribution, and she learned more about Jesus through a children’s storybook, The Greatest Gift, offered with the shoebox. Dulce Maria went to her teacher and told her that she had received two gifts that day: the doll and eternal life in Christ.

Brenda Valdez, a 5-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic, received the symbolic 100 millionth shoebox gift last year. Operation Christmas Child hopes to reach millions more children with boxes collected this year.  No matter who packs them, from three former U.S. presidents, to the family down the street, each gift-filled shoebox throughout the past 20 years represents the joy of one more child, like Dulce Maria, who has been reached with a tangible expression of God’s love.  “We are just getting started with Operation Christmas Child,” said Randy Riddle, director of the project’s domestic operations in the United States. “The potential is so great to reach more and more children.”

After 20 years delivering shoeboxes to 75 percent of the countries around the world, the motivation for sharing the gifts has remained the same. “I want the children of the world to know, I want their parents to know, that God loves them,” Graham said. “He cares for them, and He wants them to be with Him in heaven.”

Join my "Build One With Me" Build A Box Online Challenge: Build One With Me Challenge Link and help me reach my goal by packing your own online boxes today!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 6 ~ Operation Christmas Child

Pray for the safety of Operation Christmas Child partners who are serving in areas of the world where people may be hostile toward Christians.

Did you know when you pack a shoebox online the shoeboxes go to hostile areas where we can't go deliver shoeboxes?  It is $25 to build a box online and a great ministry!  I would challenge you to over the next year to try to build one box online.  It will touch a child that would never receive a shoebox by our regular collection efforts.  You can follow this link to build your box online today: 

You can still help share God's love with children around the world even if you don’t have time to shop for and pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. With a few clicks of your mouse or swipes on your touchscreen, you can build a shoebox online. Make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, then add a personal letter and photo. We'll pack your shoebox and send it for you, for a suggested donation of just $25. We've even made it possible to challenge friends so they can join you. Or, you can purchase a gift card so they can build a shoebox online themselves.  Today is my 40th birthday...I will be packing an online shoebox TODAY for my birthday!  I set a goal of 6 online boxes and I've already done one. Will you do one too? 

Join my Shoebox Challenge!
Join my "Build One With Me" Build A Box Online Challenge: Build One With Me Challenge Link and help me reach my goal by packing your own online boxes today!


"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

Friday, November 20, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 5 ~ Operation Christmas Child

Pray for the children who enroll in The Greatest Journey follow-up discipleship program, that they will come to faith in Jesus and share the Good News with their friends and family.  

Our Purpose is to bless kids and share the true meaning of Christmas the Good News of God’s Love and Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Shoeboxes are a Gospel Opportunity to show Christ’s love and tell the salvation message to kids around the world. Shoeboxes are lovingly and prayerfully packed with gifts that bring delight to a child. In the hands of local churches, every gift-filled shoebox is a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship—transforming the lives of children and their families around the world through the Good News of Jesus Christ! After receiving shoebox gifts, boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, 12-lesson discipleship program where they learn what it means to faithfully follow Christ and how to share their faith with others. Upon on completion of TGJ, they have a graduation service and receive a New Testament Bible in their own language. 2.8 million children have participated in TGJ as of 2014. On average 1.86 children per minute accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior through The Greatest Journey Discipleship Program!!!! 
Haiti - TGJ Classes

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 4 ~ Operation Christmas Child

Pray that every girl and boy who receives a shoebox will experience God’s unconditional love and provision through the gifts they receive.

We deliver good news and great joy to millions of children around the world through the gift of a simple shoebox. Operation Christmas Child has delivered over 113 million boxes as of 2014. We have 11 sending countries including the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Austria, Australia, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Spain, & Japan and over 500,000 volunteers worldwide. We deliver the Gospel Message through the power of a shoebox to over 130 countries and territories on 6 continents including: Kenya, India, Philippines, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, China, Republic of Georgia, Sudan, Asia, Russia, Uganda, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Rwanda, and Ukraine and many more.  These gifts have the power to change a child's life FOREVER!  

You can read about Shoebox Stories where children share about receiving their special gifts at: SHOEBOX STORIES online. It will make your heart smile!
"Everything in my shoebox was special. I really liked the school supplies. I was really excited that I had a set of 10 pencils!" ~ Yuri received a shoebox in an orphanage in Honduras at age 6. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 3 ~ Operation Christmas Child

Today will you pray that every child who receives a shoebox gift will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Each shoebox has "The Greatest Gift" in the child's native language where it has been translated!  The Greatest Gift Bible Storybook that is told from John the Baptist perspective introducing Jesus and explaining Jesus as the Greatest Gift. It also explains terms like Grace, Authority, the Tomb, Sin, the Cross, Lord, Heaven, and Eternal Life. It tells about Jesus calming the storm, Lazarus coming back to life when Jesus calls him from the grave, Feeding of the 5000, the Creation, Jesus as our Good Shepherd, Jesus being arrested, the Resurrection, the Upper Room & Jesus’ Appearance to Disciples, and it ends with the sinner's prayer outline plan of salvation. Pray this precious book grasps each child's eyes and heart and takes root to teach them about a relationship with their Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Call to Prayer Day 2 ~ Operation Christmas Child

Pray that the Lord will use Operation Christmas Child to bring joy to boys and girls who face difficult circumstances such as poverty, disease, famine, and war.

"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." -Psalm 5:3

If you wonder why we do it, every day boys and girls worldwide suffer from war, poverty, disease, and natural disasters. Each box is a Gospel Opportunity. Operation Christmas Child makes it possible for millions of children to experience God’s love through shoeboxes filled with gifts. The boxes open the door for presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ and the salvation message by working in and through local churches to distribute to boxes.

November Week 3: Pray for Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia "RECA"  and for Sensitive Countries where Christianity is illegal! November 15-21st:
1. Pray the delivery and clearance of the shoeboxes is completed before Christmas this season.
2. Pray the Ministry Partners use the Christmas and New Year’s season as an opportunity to share the Good News.
3. Pray for the Ministry Partner trainings.
4. Pray the volunteer National and Regional Leadership Teams are able to reach new territories with the OCC project.