Plarn Balls {for Operation Christmas Child Boxes}

For years, I've loved the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Box ministry! We've packed boxes with our small children as a family and now pack dozens of boxes with our church family as part of our way of spreading the gospel across the world.

My mother in law recently let me in on a little project she's been working on for our boxes- Plarn Balls! "Plarn" is short for "plastic yarn". Plarn is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips, which are then strung together into a single long strand, like yarn. She used to make water proof mats with a group of ladies as a ministry to the homeless. Since that time, she has discovered endless uses for this recycled material. You can use plarn to crochet sturdy, reusable tote baggs, purses, pool/beach bags, doormats, and more.

Today I want to share her awesome idea, how to make plarn, as well as the pattern for the plarn balls that will fit perfect into OCC boxes!

How to make plarn

  • Lay bag flat and fold it in half lengthwise.
  • fold bag in half again.
  • cut folded bag into loops, discarding handles and bottom.
  • Knot lops together to form a single strand.
  • Roll the strand into a ball and crochet or knit as you would with yard.

Plarn Ball Pattern

Abbreviationss
  • st/sts- stich/stiches
  • sc- single crochet
  • sc 2 tog- single crochet 2 together

Round 1: Make a foundation row with 6 st using the magic ring method. Optional, but highly recommended, place a st marker at the beginning of the round, moving it to the first stitch of each new round as you go.

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12sts)

Round 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in next st around (18sts)

Round 4: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (24sts)

Round 5: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (30sts)

Round 6-10: sc around (30sts)

Round 11: sc 2 tog, sc in next 3 sts around (24sts)

Start filling iwth plastic straps or plastic bags.

Round 12: sc 2 tog, sc in next 2 sts around (18sts)

Round 13: sc 2 tog, sc in next st around (12sts)

Round 14: sc 2 tog, until the opening end is closed enough to tie off.

Weave in the ends hiding inside the ball.

Cut plarn 1" wide when marking plarn.

[note: I no NOTHING about crocheting so I won't be able to answer an questions in that regard- so so sorry! I just copied this pattern exactly as my MIL wrote it having not idea what any of it meant. Also, remember food items are prohibited so no filling the balls with beans...I don't know who would have had that bright idea :/ lol] 

I'm so excited that more and more people are falling in love with this simple but life-changing ministry!!! Click learn more about Operation Christmas Child!

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Adventure Awaits {in a shoebox}

In March of 2013, God launched the valley church here in Vilonia AR. He set us out with a mission to make disciples. We plan live in authentic community, learn biblical teaching, serve here in our area, as well as through go there, where ever that may be across the world to do just that.
Clipping along through the story of the valley and what God's doing, we come to April of 2014 when a crazy tornado swept through our town, destroying many things including the building we were leasing. That allowed us to get creative in how to serve our community during that really hard time. 

I share that all so you'll understand the awesomeness of the upcoming date! 

occ-display

Since the conception of the valley, part of our attempt to make disciples across the world was to partner with Samaritan's Purse to pack Operation Christmas Child boxes that serve as an amazing, door-opening, tool to share the gospel with children and their families. In the years we've been portable, we still chose to make it a priority to commit to this campaign. 

We have had to let go of a lot of things because it's just too hard to set up and tear down big stuff for just an hour and 1/2 service once a week. This year, I decided to make a BIG display to show the importance of this campaign to our church even if that means a lot of extra work. As a bonus, I think it's helping put a little cheer in our people's already generous hearts.

This week and last week, we collected TOYS! We collect the 5-7 weeks {depending on the year} in preparation for our Operation Christmas Child 2016 shoebox Packing Party.  This year it will be November 13th. Our goal is 60 boxes but I think we May just surpass that quickly...😳 Eeek!

occ-info-station occ-item-collection-trunk

::Collection Schedule::
10-2&9: toys
10-16: hygiene items
10-23: school supplies
10-30: accessories & boxes
11-06: catch up, bring anything you missed
11-13: PACKING PARTY!!!

The biggest news!? We are shooting for hosting the packing party In. Our. NEW. Building.

This space to worship in and serve from is just one small way God has continually reminded us that He is not done in this city, through us. He has provided *opportunities to build new relation ships,*unique ways to keep serving, *new families to join in our mission, and *faithful ways for us keep making disciples locally and across the globe.

The adventure awaits! You just have to be willing to take part. God's story is so vast and He invites us into it; isn't that inconceivable?! For many children in poverty-stricken parts of the world, their hope of being apart of God's adventure awaits in a simple [Operation Christmas Child] shoebox gift that might just come from us...or you.

Adventure Awaits! How will you respond?

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Operation Christmas Child, Duck Dynasty, and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Last week was Operation Christmas Child week here on the blog.

occ-logo-medMonday What is Operation Christmas Child?
Tuesday Operation Christmas Child FAQ Answered
Wednesday How-to Pack a OCC Shoes Box
Thursday How-to Pack a OCC Shoes Box
Friday Operation Christmas Child Packing Party!

Today, the beloved Si wants to share his passion for OCC with you::


For the GIVEAWAY, we will be joining oh Amanda's monthly mission.

ohAmandaHere are the options for GIVEAWAY entries:

  1. Show your kids, friends, and/or family at least one of the awesome videos of Si from above, Veggie Tales, or one about Alex- for the older audience. {comments about who you shared which video with for your 1st entry}
  2. Pack a box with your kids. Take pictures and post them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc. Use the hashtag #OCC and #asJulesgoes {come back here and comment with a link to what you shared for a 2nd entry}
  3. Pray with your kids, friends, and/or family for the child that will receive your box. Ask God to lead you to the gifts that will minister to that child. Don't forget to DROP IT OFF. {come back here and share about your drop off location for a 3rd entry}
  4. Host a Packing Party {come back here and share stories you partied for a 4th entry}
  5. Come back here by November 27 and report back with how many boxes you collected. {come back here and share stories of who you may have encouraged to pack boxes with year for a 5th entry}

Everyone that packs a box and leaves a comment sharing about it will be entered to WIN---->

1 copy of Operation Christmas Child: The Story of Simple Gifts by Franklin Graham!!! To learn more about the book, Amanda shares here.

To order ohAmanda's awesome eBook, use the affiliate link by clicking the image below. LOVE THIS BOOK. We went through it last year as part of our Advent and will likely do it again 😀truthinthetinsel-leaderboard

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MORE of Alex’s Story {Operation Christmas Child}

Tonight I want to share an amazing story I was honored to hear pieces of at Allume a few weeks ago.

Alex's Story!

Love Your Neighbor: Gift of Forgiveness in Rwanda

Sharing God with a Gift

The Peace of Letting Go: How one Rwandan Forgave

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about how your simple gifts in a tiny shoe box are impacting the world for Christ!!!

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How-to Pack a OCC Shoes Box

Now that you know the history of Operation Christmas Child; have answers to some frequently ask questions; and have some fun inexpensive gift ideas for your shoe box, lets talk about HOW to pack a shoes box with a little help from our favorite Veggies.

Those were the basics, tomorrow I'm going to add a video of my kids, who wanna share how they get all the goodies into your shoe box so its ready to touch a life across the world.
How to pack an Operation Christmas Child Box
Samaritan's Purse also has tons of other resources available to you and your family. Check'm out!

Click any image for the printable versions:
#itsaboutgiving duet 15 10coloring_pageocc_coloring_page

MerryLarryGuide_LR_thumbfocus_family_guide_for_serving

Learn more about the new Veggie Tales Christmas movie coming out via this trailer and print a coupon for it HERE:

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