Another Successful Year for our Operation Christmas Child Mission
Can you recognize the blue dot that is Topsail?
Each day the volunteers reviewed the board that showed how many boxes were processed the previous day and where the boxes were going today. The blue dots on the US map showed where today’s processing center workers called home.
Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel had another successful year participating in the Operation Christmas Child mission. Our affiliates participated in the packing of 75 shoeboxes that were delivered to local drop-off locations in November. Many other affiliates chose to pack a box using the OCC website. In mid-December, 24 affiliates made the trek to Boone, North Carolina to work in the OCC Processing Center either two or three days. We welcomed 4 first timers to our group – Richard Herring, Tina Kirby, Burke Robertson and Carolyn Robertson. They quickly learned the various jobs of the processing line. The OCC shoeboxes are delivered worldwide and on the three days we worked in the center, our processed boxes were headed to Ukraine. Our group, along with other volunteers from across the state and country, processed about 40,000 shoeboxes per day in the Boone center. One highlight of the trip included watching videos of actual shoebox distributions across the world and hearing recipients share about receiving their shoebox and coming to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is hard to describe the pure joy that we saw on these children’s faces from this simple gift.
We are very thankful for all who participated in this mission. It is a great time of fellowship and fun while serving our Lord. EAMC affiliates have been working in a processing center for 13 years, starting in 2009. Please consider joining on this mission trip in December 2023.
Whenever I hear that word, “Tradition” I immediately think of the Jewish character, Tevye in the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof.” In his song, he said that “tradition gives usbalancein life, and without traditions our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on a roof!”
This is the upside of traditions. They give us “balance” in life for they connect us to family and a way of life from the past. They also give us stability in the present and hope for the future.
But there is also a downside to traditions. In Mark chapter 7 we read about a confrontation that Jesus had with “the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem” (7:1). They complained to Him that His disciples were not following “the tradition of the elders” (v. 5). Listen to His response (vv. 6-8).
Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship in vain; their teachingsare but rules taught by men” (Isa.29:13).
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.
As always, Jesus gets right to theheartof the issue. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were saying and doing the right thing but with the wrong attitude. That’s why He called them “hypocrites”. Outwardly they were saying and doing the right thing but inwardly their minds and hearts were in the wrong place.
And this is why we need to be careful with our “traditions”. We say all the right things in church (the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer for example) but do we truly mean what we say? We do all the right things (take Communion, attend Bible Study or Sunday School) but do we truly practice our faith? We talk about loving others, but do we really love? We talk about forgiving others, but do we really forgive? We talk about accepting others, but do we really accept?
Notice that Jesus is not telling us to give up or “let go” of the teachings (“commands”) of God. He still wants us to live right and worship Him in spirit and in truth (see John 4:23,24). Just as He told the Samaritan women at Jacob’s well, for He offers us “living water” (Jn. 4:10) that nourishes us and gives us life, “eternal life” (v. 13). We don’t have to live “right” on our own, but through the power of His Holy Spirit we can be righteous and follow the “traditions” God has set before us to give us balance in life and hope for the future. We just have to have ourheartsin the right place. Amen.
Working Hard and Good Fellowship
Photo Courtesy of Sandra Davis
We are working hard and the closet is filling up with items to give away. We have 3 boxes waiting to be picked up for the Coastal Pregnancy Center. If anyone is going up to New Bern, it would be great to transport it for us, if possible. Contact me and I can give you information. Thanks.
We were delighted to take 170 washcloths to add to our Samaritan’s Purse box packing trip. Anytime a box was not filled we added one of our washcloths. The boxes the days we packed were going to Ukraine. I wished we had packed some of our hats and scarves! Live and learn.
For 3 days we enjoyed each other’s working company. Day one, cutting out. A long day two, still cutting out but sewing began and we shared lunch from Cora’s. Day three was more sewing and putting on snaps. We had a request from a missionary who uses our cottage. She works with girls in an orphanage. They needed reusable sanitary pads. Believe it or not, they are all the rage, even in the US! So all total we made 159! And I believe next time, we’ll buy them, but we had fun. It took 9 of us to complete the sweatshop job, but we had good fellowship.
EAMC has finished our tenth year of providing respite for missionaries serving abroad. This year six families came to us from Kenya, four from various undisclosed locations in the Middle East, in addition to six other families from Lebanon, Central and South Asia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. Ten of these families were here for their first visit. Thank you for blessing our 2022 guests by being their sponsors: Rick and Bettye Benton, Ed and Cecile Broadhurst, Rodney and Laura Dillman, JR Howell and Nancy Howell, Robert and Robin Jackson, Sandy and Lindsay Jordan, Frances Keir, Jim and Freddie King, Kevin and Kay McCloskey, Greg and Sandy Miller, Margaret and Butch Parrish, Rich and Julia Pollock, Mike and Cindy Scaparrotti, Becky Spell-Vann, Rick and Janine Stidley, and Pat Weyher. You provided the “icing on the cake” of a friendly smile, a treat, a phone number to answer a question, and numerous other thoughtful gestures. May the love of God continue to spread forth from our chapel and be an encouragement to these families who are so appreciative of their time spent among us in such a peaceful, beautiful place.