by Stan Parker
LANSING, MI – The Michigan African American Fellowship (MAAF) joined forces with Samaritan's Purse to participate in Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box gift giving. Some of the youth within the MAAF churches took on the project, and began filling shoe boxes with gifts for children. These shoe boxes will be shipped all around the world. The mission behind the shoe boxes goes far beyond just giving material gifts. They will also serve as tools for evangelism, discipleship, and multiplication.
Each year children in need around the world are recipients of these shoe box gifts. Michigan African American Fellowship has used the project to teach their kids about giving and evangelism. Many of the boxes contained special messages of the salvation of Jesus Christ, Christian tracts, or personal testimonies from some of the youth who packed the boxes.
In the past, reports have been given where some of the children received Jesus Christ as their Savior, and began to share their testimony with other children in their villages or towns. The material gifts bring happiness to many of the children, however, the spiritual gift of receiving Jesus Christ brings everlasting joy for now and throughout eternity. We have had missionaries from Michigan travel to other countries, and are told how the shoe box gift giving has caused a life changing impact on not just the children who receive the shoe boxes, but also their parents.
Our youth were so excited this year to participate, they have requested to take on this project again in 2021. They have already begun making plans to make the project bigger next year. Jacob, one of the youth, stated that the Christmas Mission project helped him focus on the real meaning of Christmas. He believes it is important for us to give to others since Jesus gave Himself for us all. Giving to others is a great way to model what Jesus did for all of mankind. We must never lose focus on the fact the very best gift was not found in a shoebox, but a manger.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Stan Parker, Pastor of Faith Fellowship Baptist Church Lansing, current President of the Michigan African American Fellowship, and married to Charlotte.