Read these stories submitted by MOPS moms across the United States:
The little girl in Kosovo
[Our MOPS group] has participated in OCC for three years, and each time it impacted us in many ways, enabling us to teach our children about children in other countries and helping us to instill compassion, generosity, and love for others in them.
I know my daughter especially enjoyed it last year, as we had been praying for the people in the country of Kosovo, only to find out it was the destinations of her OCC package. She continued to pray for "the little girl in Kosovo" who would be receiving her package for the entire next year. Each year she especially enjoys writing the letter that we enclose with the package.
Oh yea! I want to do that again this year!
Last year when our family participated for the first time, it didn't turn out to be quite the "Norman Rockwell" scene of giving. I knew enough to prepare my 5 year-old son that we would be going to the store to pick out toys for a little boy who lived in another country and didn't have a lot of nice things like he did. I wasn't quite prepared to explain the concept over and over with each item we picked up to put in the box! It seemed to be "okay" at home, but once he entered the store, all thoughts of that little boy were replaced with the natural urge to buy for himself instead.
Once we got home again and he helped with the wrapping and preparation, he was better able to accept the concept. Together, we wrote the boy a letter and told him all about us and wished him a Merry Christmas. Josh showed a little excitement when he got to sign his name and add a picture of himself in. We said a prayer for the boy and that was that.
This year, I began with asking Josh if he remembered filling the box for Operation Christmas Child last year, and he said, "Oh yea! I want to do that again this year!" Not wanting to reveal how shocked I was at his response, I attempted to match his excitement. This short conversation told me it was going to be a much more pleasurable experience this year. We chose our shoebox and set out for the store. The trip was a success. The only discussions we had were what would be the most important things to buy and how we could get them to fit. I was proud of him for putting his wants aside and focusing on others. We wrote our letter again and sent a picture.
After reflecting on both years, I feel they were equally successful in their own ways. Even though the first year didn't produce the end result that I wanted, it did produce the beginning I wanted. During the holiday season, it is SO easy to get wrapped up in what I want and what I'm going to get. OCC is an awesome way to help change that focus in a concrete, tangible way we can all benefit from!
This has become a yearly tradition for our group...
[Our MOPS group] has now organized for the past two years, Operation Christmas Child Day. We start the meeting playing Christmas music, and everyone sits on the floor and wraps boxes and fills them. At the end of the day we all hold hands and pray over the boxes. It is a great way to give back and teach our children the importance of giving... We are now encouraging the ladies [in our MOPS group] to save each box when they buy a pair of shoes and have them ready for October. We are also asking them to pick up things on sale, after Christmas clearance, etc. If we do a little bit over the year, come next fall we should have a lot of boxes and a lot of stuff to fill them. We also use the money we would spend on making a craft for that day and buy supplies to fill the boxes. This truly has become a labor of love and a yearly tradition for our group.
Find out how Operation Christmas Child changes the lives of children around the world now!