Every 16 seconds an Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoebox gives the gift of Jesus.
Lynette Loewen, OCC's Regional Manager for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario says," Every 24 hours, 30,000 kids hear about the Gospel through OCC."
For Loewen, she loves what she does because of the hands-on approach of sharing God's Good News, "through a simple shoebox."
What some people may not realize about giving a shoebox, Loewen says, "It is so much more than a gift. That shoebox got us in the door."
With every shoebox given, there is an invitation to learn more about Jesus and be a part of a 12-lesson discipleship course.
That is the "why" for what OCC does, says Loewen. The act of packing a shoebox with toys and gifts for children all over the world is only how they create relationships and a lasting impact in the lives of these children.
Loewen says the gifts given to these children builds trusts with the parents. She says, "The kid comes home smiling and the parents look in that box and see all the things that they could never provide for their kids - that's huge.
"They say, 'Wow if somebody loves on my kid enough to give them this gift then maybe I will let them go to the next 12 lesson discipleship program."
Loewen also says the booklet given with each box, The Greatest Gift, makes a difference in not only the life of the child that receives it but also everyone that they share it with. "It's not just the kid now," she says.
"What we are finding is that every kid that receives our booklet, when they receive the shoebox, they are sharing it with six other people. That one shoebox, that one book, has now reached seven people with the Gospel."
The effects of OCC are felt even before the shoeboxes are opened. Everyone involved in the journey of a shoebox is impacted in a different way.
"People think it is only a ministry on the other side of the world, but it is a ministry right here next door."
Loewen says, "You always hear these incredible stories of how truck drivers will pick up the boxes, drive them to our processing centres and ask, 'What am I actually hauling in the back of my truck?' That gives us the opportunity to witness to them then and speak with them.
"Then they want to partner more, they're coming to our events, and they're walking into a church for the first time."