Somewhere in this group of children leaving our last Operation Christmas Child distribution in Colombia is that ONE, and I won't forget him. All the boys in the room whooped with glee over the contents of their boxes, but I moved to the other side of the room where one little guy sat slumped on his chair, dejected. He pulled out a pair of the little black Croc shoes I’d handled so often as we’d received many cartons of them to use as fillers at the OCC Baltimore (BWI) Processing Center where I worked in gifts-in-kind last fall.
He held up the little shoes, then pointed to his feet—showing me the shoes would not fit. His box held only three other items—a small new stuffed TY Beanie dog that also looked like a familiar filler item from the PC, a coloring book, and a very small can of generic play dough. He looked crestfallen as he showed three other people his box with the too-small shoes.
I thought back to one day when I was working at the PC in Baltimore. One of the coaches who was working on the line inspecting boxes brought over a box marked for a boy 5-9 that had come to the PC with only two pencils in it. My associate, Linda, put a pair of those same Crocs in an adult size 6 in the box. I told her I thought they were too large for the age range and replaced them with a size 2 instead. I thought a size 2 would fit the middle of the age range better. Linda remarked, “Well, I hope it’s not too small for the kid who gets it.” Now, as I looked at this sad little boy, her remark came back to haunt me.
None of us knew what to do. To offer this child another box could have started a domino effect. He left disappointed, but I hope that later he will be able to enjoy the other items he received.
I have often told people when it comes to packing new shoes or clothing to do your best at guessing the size and then pray for God to match it to a child who can use it. Of course I love to hear the stories of children who open the box to find the shoes or clothing they need that fits them perfectly. One of the other teams in Colombia told of experiencing that this week.
But I guess God wanted me to see that sometimes this doesn’t happen. It reminds me that prayer is a very important ingredient in each box. Did anyone pray over this box? Did I pray over that box with two pencils in it at the PC before I decided which shoes to put into it? I confess, I didn’t.
It also reminds me that the quality of the box is very important because each of these boxes is an ambassador of the love of Jesus. Operation Christmas Child is stressing the importance of a nice, quality WOW item for each box—one that will truly bless the child. But only God knows what that item is for each individual boy or girl.
Everyone who packs a box and every volunteer who inspects a box needs to be committed to making each box a good one so hopefully no child will be disappointed.
God, I need to remember how sacred each of these boxes can be. When we pack thousands of boxes at a packing party, help me to remember this sad little boy and pray that each of the boxes we pack will be a blessing. God, help each one to be filled with just the right items. When we pack clothing, help us make sure we pack enough other items so that the child will be blessed if the clothing doesn’t fit. And, maybe I need to remember to “go big” on the sizing for the age groups.
God opened my eyes to see that ONE child behind the box.