A Phoenix parish demonstrated their generous spirit last fall when they collected gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need, through a partnership with Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.

The Christian organization works with local churches and ministry partners to prepare shoeboxes that share Christmas joy with millions of boys and girls around the world.

shoebox giftsInitially, the Rev. John Dyson of Desert Mission Anglican Church set a goal of 20 boxes, asking parishioners to bring them to church on October 27. But in the following weeks, the church went above and beyond his request. They brought a total of 58 boxes they had carefully packed with small gifts and toiletry items for children around the world.

“It was amazing for our small church!” John says. “Our congregation has always been responsive when presented with tangible ways to help others.”

The church had learned about the project through a DVD John showed earlier that fall. Parishioners of all ages were moved to action by the testimony of a woman who had come to Christ through a shoebox gift. Some even wrote personal letters to the children who would receive their box.

“I was especially touched to see my granddaughter help pick out and pack shoeboxes for some young girl her age and to see that not everyone is as privileged as she,” says John’s wife, Barbara.

The boxes shipped in November, and many families have been notified by email that their boxes were shipped to Panama, Mongolia and other locations. They continue to pray for the children who received the boxes.

“I believe our parish will now be a helping agent not only at Christmas but for any outreach opportunity, both at home and abroad,” John says.

Learn more at DesertMissionAnglican.org.