Missouri Baptists embrace Operation Christmas Child

HANNIBAL – Calvary Baptist Church in Hannibal is one of the leading Baptist churches in the state of Missouri giving 1,231 shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child (OCC). The motivation for Calvary’s focus on this ministry year round is the Great Commission.

“I’m concerned about the lost people around the world,” Jeff Anderson, pastor of Calvary, said. “The more I researched Operation Christmas Child, the more I am convinced that it is one of the most effective ways to share the gospel. As OCC goes into villages to hold a gospel party, it is a non-Christian culture. The adults are steeped in ancestor worship or other forms of worship and we are seeing a new dynamic as children are converted and parents, grandparents and entire villages become believers.”

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoebox gifts to suffering children in more than 100 countries since 1993. OCC works with national pastors and missionaries in each of the countries they serve.

“I’ve come to deeply trust Franklin Graham and Operation Christmas Child,” Anderson said. “A new generation of believers is being raised up now in dark non-Christian areas because of reaching children and in a few years these areas can become centers for the gospel. These shoebox gifts are helping turn darkness to light.”

First Baptist Church of Arnold (FBC) is another top giver of shoebox gifts working on the collection year round. During the recent National Collection Week, FBC in Arnold donated 2,451 shoeboxes. Dana Clements, member and project leader of Arnold, reported that 1,453 of those boxes were packed at the large annual packing party held at the church.

“Filling boxes becomes infectious through the Arnold family,” Clements said. “It is an important mission for us to share the love of Jesus around the world.”

James McCaughan, minister of missions of Parker Road Baptist Church and an OCC relay center coordinator, collects year round for shoebox gifts with his church. This year, Parker Road donated 1,241 shoebox gifts.

Anderson summarized the success of the National Collection Week when 50,701 shoeboxes were collected by the St. Louis and Mid-Eastern Missouri team.

“Obviously the hand of God is on this ministry,” Anderson said. “We’ve heard testimony year after year of miraculous stories because of these shoebox gifts sharing the gospel effectively and placing children under a local pastor and a church ministry for discipleship.”