On Wednesday, November 23rd, and Thursday, November 24th, a Christmas elf puttered about in the Commons. Julia deJong, Redeemer’s resident elf, dressed up as part of “Beyond the Box”, a campaign she organized and implemented as part of Operation Christmas Child.
An annual Christmas project of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child sends shoebox gifts to children in need around the world and allows them the opportunity to hear the gospel message in their own communities. Gathering over a cheerily decorated packing area, complete with a Christmas tree, Redeemer students, faculty and staff packed gifts, wrote messages and prayed over the boxes.
“Throughout the process, I was praying that God would be at the centre of what we were doing.”
The initiative was intended to focus not just on the gifts themselves, but on the opportunity the gifts provided to show children the love of Christ.
“When I was first asked how many boxes I would like to see Redeemer pack, my hope was for 20 boxes,” says Julia. With the support of the community, over 134 shoeboxes were packed, or the equivalent of raising over $1,000. “Throughout the process, I was praying that God would be at the centre of what we were doing, and now 134 children have the opportunity to hear the gospel message.”
Julia and her team—Elizabeth Ellery, Chantal Masselink and Paige McLelland—had a chance to drop off the boxes together at a Samaritan’s Purse warehouse facility in Kitchener, Ontario to help with inspection and shipping procedures. The boxes that Redeemer packed will be going to Costa Rica, Chile, Senegal, Gambia or Haiti.