2 Mites Can Impact our World

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Yesterday Lily and I went into a discount store to find some last minute shoe-box stuffers for Operation Christmas Child.

We had barely entered when we heard a mother instructing children on what was on the acceptable products list. Lily and I smiled at each other and headed for the first item on the list.

Every aisle we were in we could hear this mother and children talking, and sometimes arguing, over what could or couldn’t fit in the boxes. At one point we could here the small family in the aisle to our left and an adult pair in the aisle to our right discussing what should go in the shoe boxes.

Yet again in the toy aisle, I ran into an older couple debating over a recorder. You know. That thing we lovingly refer to as a “musical” instrument. One wanted to get it, the other felt it wouldn’t fit in the box due to its length. I couldn’t help but butt into their conversation, “We put a musical instrument in each box we did last year. I think it fit.”

The woman looked at me and said, “But they gave us these tiny boxes. They aren’t big enough.”

I smiled broadly at the couple and let them continue their shopping.

Eventually we had found more than enough items to fill our boxes for a 10-13 year old boy and girl, so we headed to the checkout line and found ourselves directly behind the mother, kindergarten aged child, elementary aged child, and a teenager.

This was the first glimpse I had gotten of the family I had overheard as they shopped. Each of the three children were holding their own shopping basket full of items they had chose for their Christmas Child. One basket, the one belonging to the youngest child, was FULL. Like full enough for 3 shoe boxes.

The line started backing up, so we got moved to a new register. I had a front row view now of everything being unpacked, bagged, rejected by mom due to having too much for a shoe box, and each child moving to the end of the conveyor to collect their choices from the baggage area in their own bags.

I just stood there looking at them and their items, compared to Lily and I and our items.

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It was very obvious this family didn’t have the means to provide for themselves, let alone give Christmas gifts to others. And yet at no time did I hear I child upset. They were excited. They argued with mom over why their child might need something they had picked, or that if they liked it the child would like it, and why everything wouldn’t fit. But they didn’t whine or beg or sound disappointed to be buying things they wanted to give to someone else.

As that dear mother showed her youngest how to carry all of her bags on one arm, I glanced up and saw their total: $77.

I didn’t have $77 to spend yesterday.

As the two smaller children walked towards the door, the mother looked at the teenager and said, “That was too much. We shouldn’t have let them come in with us.”

Dear, sweet, momma, you may not have had that much money to spend for shoe boxes, but you just invested enormously in your own children’s futures. Your children just learned a lesson that can never be purchased: The joy of giving to those less fortunate.

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I wish I had had more cash on me so I could have given her part of her money back.

Her children got it. She got it, but I know she was worried about where their necessities would come from the rest of the month.

Lily and I had filled overfilled (I had to take one item out.) two shoe boxes for $29.

While you might say we did better for our money, I’m pretty sure each child had enough in their basket to fill a second shoe box.

$77.

What would we waste $77 on? A single pair of tennis shoes? A fancy dinner out? Movies? One concert ticket?

That momma spent $77 she couldn’t afford to spend to send much needed supplies to children (3-6 kids) in 3rd world countries in the name of her own three impoverished children.

What an impact (Link is a shoe box story!).

Can you imagine how great of an increase that $77 is going to inspire? 6-9 kids impacting their families, impacting their communities, impacting their world.

I debated whether it was ethical to post this or not. I don’t know the family I observed, but I have a feeling identical families shopped around our entire country yesterday.

What a testimony (Link is to a shoe-box story!).

As we were paying I brought up all the people shopping for shoe-box filler to the cashier. She responded that there had been a lot of people in the store doing that, but the lady in line behind me interrupted.

“Do you belong to a church here in ___________________ that is collecting them?”

“Well, our church is, but it’s not here.” I replied.

“My kids are dying to do this, but our church hasn’t said anything about it.”

Again.

Kids.

Our kids get it.

It isn’t about getting. It’s about giving.

It isn’t about what’s printed on paper cups. It’s about filling someone else’s cup.

It isn’t about being satisfied just doing what everyone else is doing. It’s about going beyond our own walls to reach others.

One small store. One small community. And yet the joy of shopping spread aisle to aisle, family to family, generation to generation. Yes, that’s community. That’s the church. There wasn’t any hate or negativity in the store yesterday. We were all working towards the same cause. We didn’t know each other, didn’t attend church together, and didn’t even share our denominations, but we all added our 2 mites to the pile.

Can you imagine the impact (Link is to a shoe-box story!)?

 

**All images taken from Operation Christmas Child’s blog post on Fiji.**

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