Stone County churches make Christmas special

1/16/2007

Special to the Advocate 

WIGGINS — Thirteen Stone County churches, one business, the Cub Scouts and individuals learned the true blessing of giving just prior to Thanksgiving. 

First United Methodist Church received more than 600 shoeboxes filled with toys, school and hygiene supplies, candy, caps, T-shirts, socks and other items. First UMC served as the Stone County Relay Center for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief ministry program headed by Franklin Graham. 

Other United Methodist churches filling shoeboxes included Bond UMC, Saucier UMC and New Zion UMC. Other churches participating include First Baptist Church of Wiggins, Big Level Baptist Church, Ten Mile Baptist Church, Perkinston Baptist Church, Sand Hill Baptist Church, McHenry First Baptist Church, Lumberton Trinity Baptist Church, Janice Baptist Church and Bond Baptist Church. Other organizations and individuals include Stone Elementary School, Solare Sign Co., Audrey Fontnote, Donna’s Women’s Bible Group, Tim and Jeannine Ishee and family and the Scouts. 

On Nov. 20, Steven Evans of Evans Trucking delivered the shoeboxes packed in 48 shipping boxes to Immanuel Baptist Church in Hattiesburg. There they were carried to Atlanta to be processed and shipped by plane and boat to needy and hurting children around the world. More than 100 countries, including India, Russia and Latin American and African countries received boxes. 

After the various countries receive the boxes, pastors and community leaders use a variety of methods such as jeeps, bicycles, canoes, donkeys, camels and motorbikes to transport the gifts to local churches and communities. Local pastors follow up with discipleship opportunities for the children. 

 Each shoebox contains “The Greatest Gift of All,” a booklet in the child’s language explaining the love of Christ. 

Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion live in poverty. It is estimated that 59,482,076 children were born into poverty in 2006. Churches can join the effort to give a needy child hope and joy and carry the message of love. Contact Bonnie Jean Bond at 601-928-9182 or log on to www.Samaritanspurse.org/occ. 

Churches, business, clubs and individuals that wish to participate in 2007 can drop off boxes at the First United Methodist Church, Stone County Relay Center the week before Thanksgiving.