Operation Christmas Child 2017 Begins!

Monday, November 13, 2017

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National Collection Week 2017 is here!

All around the world, tens of thousands of Operation Christmas Child volunteers and thousands of ministry partners are prepared to receive love-filled, prayer-covered shoebox gifts to share with millions of needy children.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2017 marks our 9th year of involvement in this incredible ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse. Like so many OCC volunteers, Terri and I got started by packing a simple shoebox gift in November 2008. Today, we kickoff our 3rd year as a OCC Central Drop-Off. In 2015, after serving as the Richardson area’s Relay Center for six years, we transitioned to the even bigger responsibility of serving as a Central Drop Off. Terri and I have learned a lot about our amazing God and our faith has grown through this ministry project. In 2015, Terri fulfilled the dream of a lifetime in going to Tanzania and taking part in several shoebox distributions. We have been blessed tremendously through seeing God at work through this wonderful project giving millions of children worldwide the opportunity to hear about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

Packing a shoebox gift is loads of fun and brings great joy to your household, family table, small group, Bible study, or prayer group. Packing shoeboxes with others is a rewarding experience and a powerful blessing. When you pack your shoebox gift, pray over it once you’ve got it all done. Prayer is a vital ingredient in the process. Include an encouraging note and maybe even a picture of yourself. Be sure to pack a WOW item!

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If you live in North Dallas and surrounding Dallas North area please bring your shoebox gifts to us at Trinity Bible Church 400 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75085 during any of the following collection times:

Monday thru Friday    10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday     1:00 pm – 5:30 pm
2nd Monday    10:00 am – 5:30 pm

 

We look forward to seeing you!

Rainer and Terri Bantau

#IPackedAShoeBox

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NIV)

How to Pack a Shoebox Gift

Words Tangled Up in God

For me, faith, writing, and recovery are intrinsically connected. These three very different things are intertwined, tangled threads of a beautiful tapestry.

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I wrote my first stories as a young boy. Growing up an only child left me ample time to employ my imagination. Through the years, my writing benefited from excellent teachers and mentors, many of whom I did not realize were influencing my creative prose at the time. In those years, Marshall High had a stable of phenomenal teachers. Most of us, me especially, did not recognize how good they were at teaching us.

Attending Marshall High School, my writing profited from the solid teaching of Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Muchmore. Although dramatically different in their style and approach, both were adept instructors molding my skills even before I fully recognized writing as my calling. A dear family friend recently remarked that she could see Mrs. Douglas’ DNA on the way I write, particularly in the manner that I craft sentences and in the very deliberate, intentional organization of my story. Mrs. Muchmore served as one of my earliest encouragers, lauding the words I put on paper.

My Great American Novel should already be complete by now. But, it isn’t. Life threw me some unanticipated curve balls. That really irks me because I pride myself on my ability to anticipate. However, life takes detours in between here and now. All is not lost, albeit that it is different. Over the years I have managed to write a batch of stories, poems and even a couple of plays. My publishing success has been limited. I chalk that up to being my own fault.

The past three years, as a member of our local writers group, the Writers Guild of Texas, and through creating content for this blog, I have been able to rekindle my craft. It has not be easy. At times, it has been really rough. Telling a story isn’t simply a matter of putting a bunch of words on paper. Writing is a craft. Writing is a calling.

Like me, my writing has changed. I’m not the same writer that I was a quarter century ago. I’m not the same person. What I cared about writing about then isn’t what I care to write about now. But I still have stories to tell. Getting to know Jesus has affected my writing. For me, writing has very much become a form of worship. It has even become a means of ministry.

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Similar to my journey of faith and recovery, my writing remains a work in progress. Words can change the world. I believe that God uses the stories we tell for the good of His kingdom. At least, I believe He can. I don’t write in a vacuum. God has a plan for my writing. Sometimes, I am fortunate that He lets me in on it. But as is true with ministry most of the time, I simply need to be obedient and remain faithful in this creative calling.

Recovery impacts my storytelling too. The stories I care about clean and sober are not the same that appealed to me when I wrote drunk and high. Thankfully, sobriety has permanently altered my perspective. For me, I write with a greater purpose.

Faith, writing, and recovery. These 3 things remain intricately linked.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.