God is using an Operation Christmas Child volunteer to help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
There’s still time for you to experience the joy of bringing hope to children in need by packing shoeboxes online. Visit www.PackaBox.ca and follow the simple directions. You can even add a note and photo into your online shoeboxes.
Derra Murray of Raymond, Alberta—population 4,300—is a person who likes to get things done. And fortunately for children in need, her focus is Operation Christmas Child.
“I have a passion for kids, especially those who can’t control their environment,” she said. “I can’t go on mission trips (and help children in person), so I do what I can from here,” she said.
Every fall for the past four years, Derra has galvanized community volunteers, schools and people from area churches to pack gift-filled shoeboxes for children in Latin America, West Africa and Ukraine. This year, they packed almost 1,100, up from about 300 when the project began in 2013.
“In August and September, Derra canvassed business around the town for contributions,” said Pastor Al Litchfield of the Raymond Baptist Church, where Derra leads the Ladies Fellowship. “I’m not sure I can put her passion and drive into words. She’s a beautiful lady.”
“We set ourselves a goal and didn’t rest until we met it.”
Of the roughly 120 businesses Derra contacted in Raymond and neighboring McGrath, Cardston, and Sterling, about half agreed to help.
“Many had never even heard of Operation Christmas Child,” Derra said. “I guess you should never assume people know about it. We set ourselves a goal and didn’t rest until we met it.”
Participating businesses gave cash or gifts-in-kind—mostly school supplies, hygiene items, and toys. These were stored at Raymond Baptist Church and the money used to buy more contents for boxes.
On Halloween night, volunteers gathered at the church (which has an average attendance of just 55) to sort the items. The next Saturday—dubbed ‘Shoebox Saturday’—about 60 volunteers returned to actually pack the boxes.
“We divided the volunteers into teams and had a competition,” said Pastor Al. “We ended up packing 733 shoeboxes in 36 minutes.”
“It’s our privilege to serve the Lord by providing for children who have nothing,” he added.