Well, November is past, so this marks the second year I have not packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box. I had been doing it ever since the first year they started it in Canada, doing it with my family, as a church, and in the community. It has been a wonderful sharing tradition, and while it has its detractors, I believe God has used the generosity of many to reach many children and their parents with the Gospel. I loved the fun of finding good deals and cool items that would be appropriate for kids of various cultures, or organizing the most efficient way to pack a whole bunch of boxes. I loved praying for the boxes as we sent them off, knowing that receiving an unexpected gift from an unknown donor can open a heart to the unexpected, undeserved love of God.
The same holds true for humanitarian aid in the medical field, and I have been proud to be involved in White Cross for as long as I have been involved with the North American Baptists. White Cross is a Christian humanitarian organization that provides medical supplies and relief goods to hospitals, health centres and rest houses in West Africa, with a primary focus on Cameroon. After moving back to Alberta where the Canadian headquarters are, I got more involved with this arm of the NAB medical ministry, and it seems that I have just changed the size of the boxes I want to fill!! These supplies are an important facet of CBC hospitals, health centres and ministry where we now serve in Cameroon, and I am proud to be a part of it. (You can click the link above for more info).
This year we have a very special packing project on our radar screens. We are helping launch a Fulbe medical team in Nigeria. We’ve been involved, through FFS (Friends of the F*lbe) in helping train a doctor, nurse, and practical nurse over the last number of years and are excited to be on the cusp of launching them into medical ministry. Since NAB is unable to ship White Cross to Nigeria at this time, FFS is partnering with GECHAAN, another Baptist mission agency in Nigeria, to facilitate shipping a container of medical and other humanitarian items thru Lagos and up to the plateau. It is our goal to ship this container of supplies in January, and we could use your help. If you live in Alberta or have a way to get items to Edmonton by early or mid January, (like online ordering?)here is what we would like to add to our REALLY BIG (SHOE) BOX! If you have something to bring, please reach out to Bernie or Bert, whose numbers are included on the lists.
- We have a list of medical items we have not been able to source affordably. Alberta has changed the way it deals with its surplus medical items, and it has been more difficult than we hoped. If you have connections to the medical field, perhaps you could click on this medical list and see if you see any items you can help us locate.
- There are a large number of practical non-medical items we would like to add to the container such as lockable totes, small whiteboards/bulletin boards, lockers, etc. that would be helpful for either the mobile clinic or for the inpatient facility being planned. If you can look over the non-medical wishlist, you might have some quality used items to donate, or perhaps you would like to purchase some of these things new for us to send. There’s a few education related things on that list, too, if you wonder at some of the items…
- We are sponsoring some apprentices in things like carpentry, masonry and sewing, and nd quality tools are hard to get. A basic hardware store hammer, hand saw, or pliers are often better than anything they can get here. A half-decent multi-tool is a lifesaver, and very few tradespeople has a suitable bag or box for their tools. Decent sewing scissors are hard to find, and seam rippers, pins and extra bobbins are a luxury for the starting tailor or seamstress. Start up packages for an apprentice would be fun mini-boxes to include in the container.
- (If we get too many for our own use, GECHAAN, our mission partner can use them for their AIDS orphan apprentices.) We’ve included some details on that same non-medical list.
- If you are aren’t close enough to donate items, and/or are interested in supporting this ministry with a cash donation, please see the medical ministry brochure for details as to how you can give.Thanks for reading this and for considering helping out with our REALLY BIG SHOE BOX!! I know you are all inundated with end of the year appeals, so I apologize for adding to the list. But this container is a one-time shipment, and January is coming up quick so I had to at least ask.
Whatever you do, have a very Merry Christmas, and enjoy sharing all your boxes, whatever size they may be.