Morgantown CMA Church to Donate Gifts Worldwide for Operation Christmas Child
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – It is starting to look a lot like Christmas at The Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) Church as boxes of toys and gifts enter the building for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) .
The program is led by Samaritan’s purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, leads the OCC and does so through a network of churches across the country like the CMA Church in Morgantown. The shoe boxes are filled with gifts and then sent around the world to children aged 2 to 14.
“Operation Christmas Child is a way to go beyond our local community and extend the message of the gospel and the love of Christ to remote areas of the world through a very practical type of gift. which can be given and which also comes with the truth. of the gospel message, ”said Church pastor Brent Liberda. “And so, that’s part of the evangelism of our mission as a church; and that we are able to partner with this organization and make an impact not only on children with a box of gifts, but on entire families and indeed entire communities in these foreign countries.
Liberda co-pastor Roy Baker said there is an “excitement” every year in the church as the Christmas season approaches and people are starting to fill shoeboxes with toys and of gifts.
“I think the OCC maybe doing more for our church than we are doing for the OCC,” Baker said. “Because in a self-centered world we live in, we can easily lose sight of the opportunities to focus on others. And so, OCC gives us a chance to think about other things that are going on in the world and to participate in those things.
Liberda has personally seen how each shoebox can benefit a community. He said he spent time in East Asia, more specifically in Mongolia.
He worked in the capital Ulaanbaatar and in another big city, Darkhan. Along with other missionaries, he was responsible for helping churches receive the shoebox gifts and set up outreach opportunities in the local community.
Liberda said he and others had seen two major impacts on the communities receiving the shoeboxes.
“One was just very obvious and immediate, just that look of joy on the children’s faces when they opened these boxes,” Liberda said. “We are talking about children living in areas of poverty, like none here in the United States. And, to get even a little stuffed animal and those little dollar tree dollar toys or whatever it was just great, extremely precious to these kids. And the second real impact was that thanks to Operation Christmas Child, we and the churches we worked with, Christian believers, were able to communicate what Christmas is like in a place where Christmas does not exist.
OCC Church Relations Coordinator Paula Keplinger agreed with Pastors Liberda and Baker and also said the program is a two-way street.
“Children are blessed as Pastor Brent once said,” Keplinger said. “But also, the people who prepare the shoebox, the donors, often find that they themselves are opening up new spiritual paths in their lives for God to work and so it’s kind of a two-way street.”
Keplinger declared that they “obey what the Bible commands us to do by the Great Commission“.
So far, she said, the OCC has visited over 150 countries and delivered the boxes and the stories are “heartwarming and heartwarming”.
“National Collection Week is Nov. 15-22 this year,” Keplinger said. “It’s still the third week of November and this church, which is Morgantown’s central landing area, will be a hive of activity. It’ll be amazing everything that happens and how many boxes are coming in and it’s like – it’s a celebration. It’s really great to see all this activity. It’s energizing and uplifting.
After the gifts were collected in the third week of November, Keplinger said they were transported to an even larger collection site, which is out of state. There everything is processed to make sure they are OCC and US Customs compliant. Finally, all shoe boxes are sent to countries all over the world.
If you want to get involved this year, you can.
You can contact the CMA church directly, or you can go online to find out more, Keplinger said.
“If you go to samaritanspurse.org/OCC, you will get all the information you need to contact people in your area, ”she said. “And, I would be in touch with these people and we always welcome more participation. Because it’s just a win-win situation. It’s great for donors. It’s great for recipients. It is a blessing for everyone in between to see the powerful way God can work through this ministry.
Below is a list of all drop-off points in the Morgantown and Bridgeport / Clarksburg areas.