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High hopes for Operation Christmas Child this year

Organization wants to increase shoebox collection by 10,755

by Cassie Schenck

Each year, Operation Christmas Child delivers millions of gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need who may have nothing to call their own. Last year, community members in the greater Kansas City area collected 58,600 shoeboxes and hope to collect 69,355 this year.

Howard Cordell, pastor of Faith Covenant Church in Blue Springs, recently joined Operation Christmas Child in a shoebox distribution effort overseas.

Howard Cordell, pastor of Faith Covenant Church in Blue Springs, recently joined Operation Christmas Child in a shoebox distribution effort overseas.

Howard Cordell, pastor of Faith Covenant Church in Blue Springs, traveled to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago this past February on a distribution trip with Operation Christmas Child.

The group that Cordell traveled with went to local churches and schools over a two-day period to deliver gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 200 children. Since the year 2000, Trinidad and Tobago has received 285,341 shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child.

Pastor Cordell describes the life changing-trip and how valuable it was to meet the children. “We were escorted by the police the entire time because of the high-risk gang violence that goes on in certain areas,” Cordell said. “Many of these children live in tough circumstances, but I was able to see genuine joy on their faces when we delivered the shoeboxes.”

One of his favorite memories was with a little boy who had just opened up a letter that was attached in his shoebox. “The letter said ‘Jesus loves you and so do I. I love you because of the love of Christ that is in me.’ I read the letter to the little boy and every so often he would run back up to me to get my attention. He wanted me to read the note again and again,” Pastor Cordell said. “He was so impacted by something as simple as a letter.”

Not everyone has to go on a distribution trip in order to make a difference. Packing a shoebox is a simple but impactful way to share God’s love with these children overseas.

Many of these shoeboxes are just the beginning to conversations about the love of Jesus. “We pray over these shoeboxes and each prayer is like a hug from Jesus,” Cordell said. “It completely touched these children’s hearts, and the aroma of Christ filled the room as soon as they opened their gift.”

Operation Christmas Child is what Pastor Cordell calls a “sure thing” and is impressed by the ministry. His encouragement to the community is that “God is generational and it is worth the investment to reach out to these young children.”

Communities can drop off their gift-filled shoeboxes during the week of November 17-24 at any of the Kansas City or Topeka area drop-off locations or the 4,000 sites nationwide. Each of these sites are hosted by volunteers in the ministry. To find your nearest drop-off location visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

Topeka Area Drop Off Locations:

Southwest Topeka Bible Church, 4141 SW 53rd, Topeka, KS 66610

Rolling Hills Christian Church, 4530 NW Hiawatha Place, Topeka, KS 66618

First Southern Baptist Church, 1930 SW Gage , Topeka, KS 66604

Grace Chapel Church, 419 S Third, Carbondale, KS 66414

First Baptist Church, 404 Juniper, Holton, KS 66436

KC Metro Drop Off Locations:

Lenexa Baptist Church , 15320 W 87th Street Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66219

Trinity Lutheran Church, 2101 10th Ave. , Leavenworth, KS 66048

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 10100 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66212

First Southern Baptist Church, 306 4H Road, Lansing, KS 66043

First Baptist Shawnee, 11400 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS 66203

Mill Creek Community Church, 8151 Mc Coy Street, Shawnee, KS 66227

Colonial Presbyterian Church, 12501 W 137th Street, Overland Park , KS 66221

Old Mission United Methodist Church, 5519 State Park Rd., Fairway, KS 66205

Vista Baptist Church, 901 N Parker, Olathe , KS 66061

Christ Community Church, 14200 Kenneth Rd., Overland Park, KS 66224

Faith Covenant Church, 2330 NW Pink Hill Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64015

First Baptist Church, 116 S Washington St., Raymore, MO 64083

First Baptist Church, 2 NE Douglas St., Lees Summit, MO 64063

First Baptist Church, 10500 East 350 Highway, Raytown, MO 64138

Timothy Lutheran Church, 301 SW Wyatt Rd., Blue Springs, MO 64014

United Methodist Church, 2600 E Mechanic St., Harrisonville, MO 64701

First Baptist Church, 440 SE 14th St., Oak Grove, MO 64075

Pleasant Valley Baptist, 1600 N 291 Highway, Liberty, MO 64068

Grace Community Church, 1520 Country Road DD, Smithville, MO 64089

Kearney First Baptist Church, 303 S Grove St., Kearney, MO 64060

Excelsior Springs Baptist Church, 1500 Rosalea St., Excelsior Springs, MO 64024

Northwest Bible Church, 6520 NW 64th St, Kansas City, MO 64151