POMEROY — This year for the first time, the Rock Springs Charge — which consists of the Chester, Flatwoods, and Rock Springs churches — participated in Operation Christmas Child, packing over 225 boxes filled with gifts to go to deprived children in foreign countries.
The program, organized in 1993, is a project of Samaritan’s Purse of which Franklin Graham is president. It is described as “a way of showing God’s love to hurting children in a tangible way by partnering with churches worldwide to deliver gift-filled shoe boxes with the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Crystal Ratliff, who is the coordinator for 10 counties in southeast Ohio which includes Meigs County, said that participation is growing.
“I’m delighted to see small rural churches like these three so enthusiastic about participating in a project of helping children who have so little,” said Ratliff.
Colorful boxes, marked for a girl or a boy in a specific age range, to be filled with Christmas items were provided by Operation Christmas Child to the churches. Everything to go into them was donated by members of the three church who had a “packing party” at the Rock Springs Church. The items were sorted for boys and girls, and a nice variety was packed into each shoe box along with a Christian message.
They will be taken to Hope Baptist Church in Middleport, the collection center for Meigs County, and then later will be moved to another location where they will be loaded onto a semi-truck and taken to the processing center in Charlotte, N. C. There they will be prepared for overseas shipment and the eventual distribution to children in 151 countries.
Ratliff said that the goal this year from the 10 counties in this Southeast District is 27,000 boxes, and she believes that goal will be achieved.
“So many new churches have gotten on board with large packing parties this year, I think we can do it,” Ratliff commented.