December 19, 2022

2022 Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Written by: Becca Green, Next Gen Director

Thank you to everyone who filled a shoebox for a child in need! This year Gateway Church collected 232 shoeboxes full of toys and supplies for Samaritan’s Purse and their Operation Christmas Child project.  OCC partners with local churches in more than 100 countries to distribute gifts to children in need and tell them about God’s Greatest Gift - Jesus Christ. 

Many of our families at Gateway Church have been packing shoeboxes to send to children around the world for years. Here is what Lauren Hamman had to say about why her family participates each year.

Why do you pack boxes for OCC?

“I have always loved Christmas and I feel that every child deserves to feel loved and get something special. I also feel that every child deserves to hear about the best love of all found in the Gospel. OCC does both and that is why I love it so much. Children feel love from strangers around the world. They get things they need, but also special fun things. Best of all recipients of the boxes are invited by local churches to participate in The Greatest Journey where they learn about Jesus and the Bible. I see packing shoeboxes as a way to share the love of Jesus and the message of the Gospel to places I could never go.”

How do your kids get involved with packing the shoeboxes? 

“My kids are just as excited about the shoeboxes as I am. They love to help shop for the supplies and they love to help pack and put the labels on the boxes.”

How many years have you been packing shoeboxes? Do you have a certain number of boxes you pack every year?

“I can't remember exactly when I started packing, but I have at least done it for the last 7 years. I started out just packing 2 boxes, one boy and one girl, but we have added over the years. The past few years we pack 10 a year.”

Did you know that besides packing a shoebox, you can also sponsor a child for $6 to purchase the study book and a New Testament that each child receives? After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited by the local church to participate in the Samaritan’s Purse discipleship program, The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson course that includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization. The goal of the program is for children to become faithful followers of Jesus Christ in their daily lives as they share him with family and friends. And it all starts by training local teachers who love kids and are passionate about making disciples. More than 30.9 million children have enrolled in The Greatest Journey since 2009.


After completing The Greatest Journey, children attend a graduation celebration and receive a certificate. Most importantly, they are given a Bible that includes the New Testament and selected Old Testament stories along with a dictionary of Biblical terms and a map of Bible lands. Complete with illustrations, it is often the first copy of God’s Word the child, or their family, will own. Family and friends who attend the ceremony hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After seeing the transformation in the students, their loved ones’ hearts are open to hearing the Good News for themselves. Praise God, many of them come to faith in Christ.