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! 


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

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


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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Operation Christmas Child Gift Ideas

History of OCC & FAQ
Keep a look out on the Facebook page for a OCC GIVEAWAY!!!!

Buying items for an Operation Christmas Child box does NOT have to be a budget breaker.

OCC gift ideas on a Budget

This has become an annual tradition in our house. Our preferred place to shop? The Dollar Tree!

For real. We have an average budget of ~$10 per child/box. Our 3 children get to go with us to the store and scavenge over the toy aisle finding the perfect gifts. This is of course after we've double checked any stash we may have had at home. We encourage the kids to work together in order to be able to provide more items in each box while keeping the spending low.

Packs of multiples as well as gender neutral items are a great idea. We always take everything out of the package that is possible to be able to cram as much into those tiny boxes as possible. Below are huge lists of possible items to get your creative juices flowing.

    • pens
    • pencils and sharpeners
    • crayons
    • markers
    • stamps and ink pad sets
    • writing pads or paper
    • solar calculators
    • coloring and picture books
    • colored construction paper
    • small spiral notebook
    • stickers
    • foam shapes {with sticky backs}
    • scissors or hole punch
    • FAVORITE: boxes of crayons, markers, and other school supplies we stocked up on while they were on sale during "back-to-school sales}


  2. TOYS:
    • miniature cars
    • miniature people/dolls/action figures {NO WEAPONS or WAR FIGURES}
    • balls
    • bouncy balls
    • dolls or stuffed animals
    • musical instruments: kazoos, harmonicas, clappers, whistles
    • yo-yos
    • jump ropes
    • small Etch A Sketch®
    • jacks
    • marbles
    • toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries)
    • Slinky,® etc.
    • Playdough{although, some children have been known to eat it not knowing what it was}
    • mini Frisbees
    • brand new kids' meals toys


    • toothbrush and toothpaste
    • mild bar soap (in a plastic bag)
    • comb or brushes {preferably compact or fold-able to save space}
    • washcloth {consider those "growing" clothes to save space}
    • mirrors {reflective but better if not actual glass}
    • chapstick
    • FAVORITE: bar soaps from hotels, small toothbrushes/paste from the dentist


    • t-shirts
    • socks
    • underwear {very hard to find in a lot of 3rd world countries}
    • loves
    • hats
    • sunglasses
    • hair clips
    • toy jewelry
    • watches


  5. OTHER:

    • thick plastic cups
    • bowls
    • plastic shoebox {rather than cardboard} so they can repurpose it
    • flashlights (with extra batteries)
    • hard candy

    Here's a post that includes lots of handmade items!


    You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may write back. Even if they don't, they would love to see the face and hear that someone is praying for them.


Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids, liquid soaps/shampoos, or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

Reminder: you can always fit more into a box if you remove things from their packages. That's totally legit & the kids will have no idea they used to be in one more layer of wrapping 😉

Operation Christmas Child

Tomorrow, we'll learn how to pack a box AND there's also a fun video from Special Guest VEGGIES to get your kids excited up about helping!!!!

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