Norfolk churches support discipleship with shoeboxes
As many Christians in Norfolk are filling shoeboxes with Christmas presents for children overseas, the Regional Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child Trish Ellse emphasises it is more than a shoebox - it can also lead to The Greatest Journey.
Last year 9,585 shoeboxes packed with toys, toiletries and stationery were donated by families, churches and schools across Norfolk and given as unconditional gifts to needy children in the Ukraine.
With the annual shoebox appeal underway in Norfolk churches Trish Ellse is on a mission to let them know that filling a shoebox with Christmas presents is much more than a material gift. Trish is the Operation Christmas Child Regional Manager for the East of England and a member of Alive Church in Wymondham.
She said: “I would really like our churches to know that it is so much more than a shoebox. It is not only a tangible way of showing love but provides the opportunity to learn about Jesus through The Greatest Journey.”
The Greatest Journey is a 12 week discipleship program that gives children the opportunity to learn about Jesus. Trish said: “The suggested donation for the shoeboxes helps Operation Christmas Child to resource church partners in receiving countries, equip them to hold outreach events in their communities and train them to teach The Greatest Journey.”
Children are invited to take part in The Greatest Journey after they have received a shoebox. The discipleship course is completely voluntary and children can only attend with their parent’s permission. Last year 3.8m children participated in The Greatest Journey with 1.9m saying they had decided to follow Jesus.
Trish points to the story of 10 year old Larisa in Romania who attended The Greatest Journey and became a Christian. “Larisa invited her entire class to her church’s The Greatest Journey club meetings. Wonderfully, 11 new children from Larisa's school joined the club. They have gone through the 12 discipleship lessons and they are now regularly attending church. What’s more, Larisa prayed for her family and the Lord brought first her mother, then her sister and then her father to church. Now, they are baptised members of the Alexandria church.”
Trish is very happy to speak at churches about The Greatest Journey and Operation Christmas Child or provide more information. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07525 814 920.