"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."

St. Matthew Ev. Lutheran ChurchSaint Matthew Lutheran Church     Warrens, Wisconsin

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A small shoebox can have a big impact.
What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal.
Be a part of changing children’s lives all over the world in Jesus’ name
through the power of a simple gift with Operation Christmas Child.



Through Operation Christmas Child, lives of children all over the world can be brightened... first by the shoebox full of gifts, then by the storybook gift that is included in every shoebox. "The Greatest Gift" is a book of Bible Stories where children learn the true meaning of Christmas... the birth of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior. This year, Samaritan's Purse is anticipating sending out shoebox gifts to more than 12 million children in more than 100 countries around the world.

St. Matthew will have a packing party on Wednesday, November 8, at 7:15pm. There is a list of needed items on the display table in the narthex or pack your own shoebox and bring it before November 8!


The thermometer registers 80 degrees, but it's time to be thinking about Christmas shoebox packing! This year's collection week for Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts is November 13-20, so our packing party at St. Matthew will be Wednesday, November 8, after evening worship. Now is a great time to pick up some sale-priced school supplies! Please remember that these may be the only toys, games, school supplies, etc. that these children ever receive, so we want them to be of the best quality.

A few changes have taken place in the guidelines from Samaritan's Purse. We are no longer allowed to pack candy or gum of any kind or toothpaste, due to customs regulations. Toothbrushes are still a great gift and can do a lot to improve these children's oral health! Also, the requested donation per package has gone from $7 to $9. That money is used for collection, processing, and shipping costs, and for training materials to be used to spread the Good News of Jesus. Every shoebox gets a "Greatest Gift" gospel booklet added to it! (Because "what goes into the box is fun, but what comes out is eternal!")

Check out the Samaritan's Purse website (www.samaritanspurse.org) for suggestions on gifts for boys and girls of different age groups, as well as stories and inspirational videos about children whose lives have been changed by these gifts - your gifts!


Thanks to everyone for the many donations of toys, school supplies and hygiene items for needy children around the world. St. Matthew Church
sent out 3 boxes in 2012 and 116 in the last two years!

Remember to pray for the children who will receive your gift that they may know Jesus as their



There is less than a week left before the shoeboxes are packed for Operation Christmas Child. At this time there are enough items to fill only about 10 shoeboxes and the goal is to surpass last years' total of 100. If you've already bought things for the shoeboxes, bring them to church; otherwise consider shopping for a child whose life you just may change!

There is a list of needed items on the small table by the donation box in the narthex.

(or look right below under the October 2016 section of this webpage)



Donations can be brought to the box in the narthex any time.


    Shoeboxes: Sturdy cardboard or plastic

    Toys: Pack things that children will notice right away such as toy cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls,
        toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc. For most of the children, this will be
        the only present they get, so let's choose good quality items!

    School Supplies: Pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

    Non-liquid Hygiene Items: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.

    Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.

    Crafts: Make your own items! Ideas include hair bows, finger puppets, and friendship bracelets.

    A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself, your family or group.
       If you include your name and an address, the child may be able to write back.

These are some suggestions; more ideas can be found at samaritanspurse.org.

We also welcome cash donations towards shipping costs, each box costs $7 to ship.




The Operation Christmas Child collection box is in the narthex ready to be filled with your donations!

The packing party will be Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 7:15pm
and the mission is to exceed the 116 shoeboxes that were packed last year!



Around this time of year we like to send out encouragement to start (or continue!) thinking about our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes! Check out the end-of-summer children's clothing clearance sales and the back-to-school sales on school supplies for many of the most appreciated items packed in the shoeboxes. Also, don't forget to save your shoeboxes, or purchase plastic ones to donate. Everything can be dropped off at church at any time.

If you're into Pinterest, check out some of the many Pinterest Boards with fun ideas of what to pack for kids of all ages. You can always refer to the Samaritan's Purse website for great ideas as well: www.samaritanspurse.org. Click on "What We Do" and then "Operation Christmas Child."

While you're there on the website, you might want to read about some of the many other services Samaritan's Purse provides, like International Crisis Response, Children's Heart Project, Operation Heal Our Patriots, and U.S. Disaster Relief.


Yves and a Scarf

The Samaritan's Purse Website also shares some fantastic stories of hope with Shoebox Stories, an ongoing series in which shoebox recipients tell about the eternal impact of a simple gift, like Yves in Rwanda:

"...I hated people, because they were capable of such blind violence - all people, except my family. But when I received my shoebox at age 11, it changed everything.

A stranger loves me enough to give me a gift? How can someone love me when they don't even know me? How is that possible, when our neighbors in Rwanda had tried to kill us? I thought I had the world figured out, and the shoebox turned my world upside down. In fact, it turned my life right side up . I put my faith in Christ later that year.

At the shoebox distribution, I had tried to trade one of my gifts for a soccer ball. I had received a wool scarf. I lived in the tropics. I had no idea what to do with this thing. But I had been taught to save everything and waste nothing, so I stored the scarf away.

Three years later, years after our initial application, my family received refugee resettlement in Buffalo, New York. It's one of the coldest cities in the U.S.. Was this a coincidence? No way.

My precious scarf is still meaningful today. It is a promise to me that Jesus knew my past, and He knows my future and what I will need..."

Operation Christmas Child - what goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of the box is eternal!



UPDATE: Our shoe boxes were delivered to children in Kenya and Madagascar!



NOVEMBER 11, 2015

From Katherine Enderle on 11-12-2015: Last night about 50 people came to St. Matthew and packed 116 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! Some had done it before, for others this was their first time. Everyone had a great time filling shoeboxes that Samaritan's Purse will distribute to needy children around the world!

 Thanks for the awesome photos, Mrs. Enderle!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

We are continuing what Jesus started by sending shoebox gifts to children in over 130 countries around the world. Shoeboxes can transform the lives of thousands of children and their families. Be a part of changing a child's life by donating to Operation Christmas Child.

In three years, St. Matthew Church has gone from packing 3 shoeboxes to children in need overseas to 90 last year!

Needed items include:

  • non-liquid hygiene items

  • school supplies

  • small toys

accessories such as:

  • t-shirts

  • socks

  • hats

  • sunglasses

    All small enough to fit in a shoebox.

For more ideas of what and what not to donate, check online at Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child.

We also need $7.00 per shoebox to help pay shipping costs.

We will have a packing party on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2015 at 7:15pm, but you can bring your donations to church any time before then!

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/







There are only 7 weeks left until National Collection Week! At St. Matts, we will pack the shoeboxes on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. After picking up back-to-school items (crayons, pencils, markers, notebooks, etc.), it's now on to season-ending items such as t-shirts, sunglasses, hair clips, small toys (may include batteries), hats and jewelry. Also accepted are personal hygiene items such as washclothes and bar soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste and combs.

Yuliya and the Puppy

(Yuliya received a shoebox at age 9 in a Central Asian country.)

The stuffed dog in my shoebox became my new best friend, and I still have it 14 years later.

When I lifted the lid on my purple plastic shoebox, the first thing I saw was a stuffed dog. I was filled with exuberant joy! I just remember hugging it. Even though I had toys growing up, the dog was an item you couldn’t find in my country. It was really soft and had puppy eyes. It was my new best friend, my newfound treasure.

My second favorite item was bubble gum-flavored toothpaste that came in a pink tube. We didn’t know such a thing existed. We would squeeze out a bit the size of the tip of a match so we could get a little bit of flavor and make it last as long as possible. Word traveled fast. My friends would line up in our bathroom and my sister and I would squeeze out a tiny amount on their toothbrushes. I think we made it last about two years.

My third favorite item was an Etch A Sketch. At first we had no idea what it was. We kept pushing down on the buttons and asking, “Why is it not working?” After having it displayed on a shelf for a couple of months, my sister was dusting and she turned the knobs. When she saw the line going up and down on the screen she was so excited. The item we thought was broken was drawing!

The toys were the most important things to me as a 9-year-old but it also stood out that the letter in the box said, “I am praying for you.” As time went on, I realized why. “Here was someone I’d never met … yet she was still praying for me.” With my shoebox, here was someone I’d never met and never seen, yet she was still praying for me. We became pen pals and she would always close her letters, “I am praying for you.” I always wondered, “Why is she praying for me?” The impact hit me more than seven years later after I became a Christian. She was showing me the love of Christ all along, starting with the shoebox and continuing in her prayers. “She specifically chose that dog for me and wanted to use it to communicate God’s love.”
The shoebox was a seed. That’s how the Lord works. He patiently knocks on the door of our heart and waits until we open the door. Sometimes you see fruit right away and other times it takes years for the seed to grow.

I still have my stuffed dog 14 years later. That’s a glimpse of how much the shoebox meant to me because it was packed with love and prayer. It wasn’t just any dog. I could tell she specifically chose that dog for me and wanted to use it to communicate God’s love.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/







No doubt you've noticed the back-to-school sales are starting. Crayons, glue sticks, and child-size scissors are usually at their lowest prices this time of year. It's also the time of year when you'll find lots of cute T-shirts, sunglasses and hats on the summer clearance racks.

This would be a great time to stock up on some goodies to pack in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!

For several years our church has been packing and sending these gift boxes through Samaritan’s purse, an international relief organization. Every year we've been getting bigger and bigger - last year we packed and pay for shipping for about 100 boxes!

The shoeboxes are shipped to needy children around the world, and are sometimes the only Christmas gift the child ever gets. Imagine the impact when a child get such a gift, from someone who's never met them - what a beautiful way to demonstrate the love of God! Each box is also packed with a booklet called The Greatest Gift, a colorful presentation of the Gospel message in the child's own language. They are also invited to attend classes on the Great Journey discipleship program, and they sometimes invite friends and family!

Shoe box packing at St. Matthew Church this year will take place on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. You can bring donations to church anytime up to that date. Sturdy cardboard or plastic shoeboxes are also welcome; wrapped ones are especially appreciated by the children!

Check out the Samaritan’s purse website for more great ideas of what to donate, at www.samaritanspurse.org. Go to “What We Do” and click on “Operation Christmas Child”, then “Pack a Shoebox.” Watch future editions of the St. Matt's newsletter or website for further suggestions in the next few months! (and take a few minutes to surf around this website - Samaritan's Purse is a fantastic organization doing good in so many ways. It does the heart good to see the sheer number of Christians doing good in Jesus’ name all over the world, for anyone in need - Christian or not.)

So take a moment to consider how richly you've been blessed, especially in comparison with these children around the world who often have no school supplies or personal hygiene items of their own. Maybe you'll be moved to throw a few extra items in your cart the next time you're at Walmart, Target, or Shopko. As you do, don't forget to say a small prayer that God would bless the children who do receive these gifts of love.

Remember, what goes into the box is fun, but what comes out is eternal!

Livia and the Hairclips

(Livia received her shoebox in a Rumanian orphanage when she was 12.)

All my life I really wanted hairclips but growing up in an orphanage where we had very little I could never get them. But I really, really wanted hairclips. Then Operation Christmas Child came and there it was - a big packet of hair clips sitting at the very top of my shoebox! I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought, how can someone give me something that I've wanted for so many years? Someone far away decided to pick it up, never knowing that it would be somebody's dream come true. But before we even got the shoebox gifts they share the Gospel with us. That was something brand new to me...

Shoebox Stories is a 13-week series by shoebox recipients who give a first-hand account of the eternal impact of a gift delivered in Jesus’ name. Read the continuing story of Livia and others by going to www.samaritanspurse.org. Go to “What We Do” and click on “Operation Christmas Child”, then click on “Shoebox Stories” at the bottom.

NOTE: If you're a fan of Duck Dynasty, check this out! http://video.samaritanspurse.org/story_line/uncle-si/
Uncle Si has teamed up with Samaritan's Purse - watch Uncle Si pack a shoebox!!

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/



Operation Christmas Child delivers great joy to millions of children around the world through shoeboxes lovingly and prayerfully packed with gifts that will bring delight to a child. In the hands of local churches, every gift-filled shoebox is a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship—transforming the lives of children and their families around the world through the Good News of Jesus Christ! After receiving shoebox gifts, many boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, our 12-lesson discipleship program where children learn what it means to faithfully follow Christ and share their faith with others.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/


FACTS (from their website)


• The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world.


• Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 124 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories through Operation Christmas Child.
• In 2015, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another
11 million children.
• Shoebox gifts are collected in the U.S., Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and the U.K.
• More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.


• Individuals, families, churches and groups fill empty shoeboxes with a “wow” item—like a doll or soccer ball—and other fun toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.
• During National Collection Week (Nov. 16 – 23) Samaritan’s Purse collects the gift-filled shoeboxes
at more than 4,000 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
• Operation Christmas Child also offers a year-round opportunity to pack personalized shoeboxes online. Go to samaritanspurse.org/occ to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement and “pack” them in a shoebox. These gifts will go to children in some of the hardest-to-reach countries around the world.
• Shoebox gifts are prepared for overseas shipment at eight major processing centers across the U.S.—Atlanta; Baltimore; Boone, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Denver; Minneapolis; and Orange County, Calif.
• Samaritan’s Purse and its partners will deliver the gifts to children in more than 100 countries.
• Participants can follow their box online to discover where in the world their gift is delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org/occ.


• More than 4.7 million children have participated in The Greatest Journey, the Samaritan’s Purse discipleship program that is offered to many children who receive Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. The Greatest Journey is implemented through a global church network to help children learn how to know and follow Jesus.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit their website at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/





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This website was last updated on April 14, 2018.