2/02/2008

Operation Christmas Child in Peru

I leave for Lima, Peru, this coming Monday for a short-term missions trip with Operation Christmas Child (OCC). OCC is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief ministry headed by Franklin Graham. OCC will distribute over 7,000,000 gift-filed shoeboxes this year to children in over 90 countries.

In preparation for this trip, I was asked by OCC in an e-mail note, “Why are you excited about going on this distribution?” I’d like to share my answer.

I am excited about going because of the smiles. I'll never forget the first time I ever saw a picture of a bunch of kids gathered around opening shoeboxes. Their smiles touched my heart. You can't help but want to make a kid smile.

I am also excited about supporting the local churches and distribution teams in Peru. I want to see those smiles through all of eternity, and the only way to do that is to help share the good news about what Christ has done to win our salvation for us in His life and suffering. I want to share in some small way that God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, reaches down from heaven to touch little children in His love.

I have been in prayer for those in Peru since the 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit 100 miles south of Lima in August of 2007. I had the chance to give to Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief projects in the area, and I feel lucky to go where my prayers have been before. I don’t know where we will be giving away shoe-boxes, but I hope we can help those affected by the quake.

I am also looking forward to the changes in my own perspective and spirituality. I often hear of people coming back from a short-term trip that has changed their lives forever. I can't really help the local church in Peru that much in just one week. I don't expect to change the world. I just want to help, in some small way, people from a different culture and circumstance.

I don't speak much Spanish. I don't know many great truths from the Bible. But I do know a few Spanish words, and I do know a few great Scripture truths very well. God can use that. God has said, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10, ESV). I pray God will use this trip for our good and for His glory.

I plan to post each evening about the day’s event for the next week. Say a prayer for our team, if you don’t mind.

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