This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not
that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A little thing called "full-circle" stories!

If you know me at all, you know that I am in love with Operation Christmas Child. I find so much joy in simply participating in the project so the fact that I get to work for this organization is an absolute honor.

My job revolves around seeing the impact Operation Christmas Child continually has around the world and right here in the United States. I still don't know what I find more inspiring- those packing the gifts or those receiving them. It's incredible to see children, families and communities demonstrate compassion, in a simple yet life-changing way, as they fill shoe boxes for children they've never met. On the other hand, I have heard story after story and seen video after video of children opening their shoe box gifts and  learning about the hope of Jesus Christ that have filled my sould with uncontanable joy.
So why is my job so cool? I get to talk to children like Victoria tell me what it was like to receive this gift of hope and then share their story with their community. It's stories like these that make fill my heart with endless encouragement and motivation as see a simple shoe box gift make an eternal difference in not just one life, but many!
I wanted to share with you the story of an incredible girl, Victoria Blaske, who now lives in Lynden, Washington. Victoria is originally from Ghana, but was adopted in 2008. After receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift while living at a children’s home, Victoria now relishes the opportunity to share that same gift of love with other children in need. Even though she is only 12-years-old, Victoria desires to pack and send these gifts to children just like her so that they can experience the same feeling of joy that she did.  

After Receiving Her Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Gift as an Orphan in Ghana, Victoria Blaske is Sharing That Same Simple Gift of Hope With Other Kids in Need
 “I can just picture Victoria—in her tattered school uniform—holding her shoe box on her head, running full speed and full of joy all the way home.” – Carrie Blaske, mother of Victoria Blaske
The joyful spirit Victoria Blaske radiates would never give anyone the impression that her life was very difficult for years. Growing up in a remote village in northern Ghana, Victoria lived in a mud hut amidst an impoverished community with her aunt, uncle and six cousins.

One day, when Victoria was 7 years old, a big truck carrying cartons filled with Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts arrived at her school. “I was so excited to see all the boxes,” recalls Victoria, who had never received a toy until she was given a gift-filled shoe box, hand-packed by a family in America. Once each student had a shoe box in hand, the children were asked to open their gifts when they had arrived safely back at home.  The school children from Victoria’s village gathered together under a large mango tree, and as they opened their shoe box gifts the sounds of joy and laughter filled the air.

The details of that joy-filled day are sealed in Victoria’s memory. For a child who had experienced great loss, this shoe box gift brought tremendous happiness. Inside, Victoria found items such as washcloths, bubble gum and a plastic horse that, although may seem simple to the average American, impacted her life forever.

As providing food for everyone in their household became increasingly difficult, Victoria moved from her aunt and uncle’s care into a children’s home. A year and half later, in March of 2008, Victoria was adopted by Dave and Carrie Blaske of Lynden, Washington.

Knowing the impact these simple gifts can have, Victoria now looks forward to packing shoe boxes with toys, hygiene products, school supplies and hand-written notes for other kids in need.

“Victoria is so full of joy and her heart to help other kids is huge,” said Carrie Blaske, the mother of now 12-year-old Victoria. “She wants these boxes to go to children just like her so that they can experience the same love that she has.”

This year, Faith Community Church in Lynden will serve as a collection site for Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoe boxes. For more information about hours during National Collection Week, Nov. 14-21, visit the collection site zip code locator at  The participation of Lynden residents will help ensure that some 8.5 million children in over 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty will have Christmas this year.

ABOUT OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD: Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered shoe box gifts to more than 86 million hurting children in more than 130 countries.  Staff and volunteers use whatever means necessary—ships, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, even dog sleds—to reach suffering children.
Samaritan's Purse uses tracking technology that allows donors to "follow your box" to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need.  By clicking on “Follow Your Box” at, families can register their boxes and find out where in the world their boxes brought joy to children.
To volunteer or learn how to pack and send an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift, call (253) 572-1155 or visit  National Collection Week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 14-21; however, shoe box gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.

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