Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross - It's Operation Christmas Child time!!!!!!



(sharing my testimony with volunteers at Charlotte, NC processing center)

I was born in a small country of Belarus, located near Russia. In 1986, when I was two years old, Chernobyl happened. The nuclear explosion contaminated with radiation the land and the lives of many people. From the words of my grandmother (I was too young to remember anything), my parent were out of town the day the accident happened. It was a sunny day with a demonstration being held down town of my city of Mogilev. While adults were participating in a parade, us, children, were playing outside at a kindergarten. Because my grandmother was a doctor, she was one of the first people to be notified of the nuclear explosion. She rushed to get me from the kindergarten and informed the teacher to keep children inside. For the next several days I stayed home under my grandmother’s watch. One of the major side effects of the radiation is thyroid cancer. I am blessed and as far as I know my health was not affected by this tragedy. To keep things on a brighter side, I joke that I glow from time to time, but it is because I love the Lord. In fact because of the accident, God has opened many doors in my life and I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination.

When I was 6 years old, my mama took me to a church, whose doors just opened. For the next 10 years the church played an important part in my life. It was during these years that I prayed and prayed for my family. Growing up my daddy drank, which often resulted in my parents arguing. It also lead me to spend a lot of time on my knees praying, crying and begging God to restore my family. Let me pause for a second and let you know that I have the world’s greatest dad, who has a heart of gold. And my mom, well she is just the greatest mama I could have asked for. Needless to say, God has blessed me very much with my family, it just my daddy had the chains of alcohol wrapped around him. What made this matter most difficult is that neither my mom nor my dad knew the Lord then nor know Him today. I would covet your prayers if you can lift them up in your prayer today.

Prayer is a powerful tool, yet often as a child I felt that God was silent to my prayer and wondered if He was even listening to my cries. Today I know that He cares so much that He even bottles my tears. In Psalm 56:8 it says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each on in your book.” Isn’t it amazing to know that God cares about us that much?! I sure do find comfort in this verse.

As time passed, the Lord reminded of His comfort, when one day my classmates and I were instructed to go to our classroom. The bright and beautifully wrapped shoe boxes, sponsored by the Samaritan's Purse, were all piled in the corner of the classroom. The joy of receiving a gift from overseas made us all very happy. We could not wait to pick out our own box and see what goodies we received. For the next day, week and what felt like a month we all asked each other, “What did you get? And what did you get?” More than any toy or school supply, every single child wanted to receive a letter in his or her shoe box. Unfortunately only 1 or 2 children in my class received a letter and we were all so jealous that we could not write and thank the family for the gift.

I am sure you are all wondering what I have received in my shoe box! Drum roll please….
Well. I hate to disappoint you, but I can not remember. My mom remembers toys, colorful pens and pencils, but all the content of my box have been completely wiped out from my memory. I joke that if I knew that God was going to use me ten years later to share my testimony, I would have written it down. But I did not know and did not write it down. As I wondered why didn’t God allow me to retain in my memory all the goodies that I received, and one day He revealed to me as I was sharing my testimony with a congregation in small town in Arkansas. When it was time to tell the congregation about me not remembering the content of thebox, I froze. And right then, right there, the Lord has revealed it to me the truth. The reason that I do not remember all the items is because they were not that important.
      (processing my own shoe box at the processing center)


Now let me explain to you why the toys, candy and school supplies were not important before you quit reading. Candy won’t fill up a tummy of a hungry child in Africa for years; toys may comfort a broken heart of a child in Russia for only days. Pens will be lost and broken. BUT the message of Jesus Christ that the shoe box carries, gives the eternal hope that is found in my Savior to a child! God is so much bigger than any shoe box and He uses a simple shoe box to answer some children’s prayers and to remind others that He loves them so much. As I look back in my life and wonder what the shoe box meant to me, the Lord brings me to Joshua 1:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The days that I prayed as a child and wondered if God was listening, He gently reminded me through a stranger’s kindness that He was there when I wept and He was there when I rejoiced. He did not leave my side. This makes me want to SHOUT and praise His name!!! I don’t know the family who packed my shoe box, but I sure am thankful for their obedience of gving me the gift.

A year after I received a shoe box, God opened the door for me to come to the US to attend high school. A loving family in South Carolina opened their hearts and their home for me to finish high school. During the youth trip in high school, I came to have a personal relationship with the Lord. After my high school graduation, I went on to majoring in international business at the University of South Carolina thinking that I will be a CEO one day living in a New York City. Today I am happy to report that I am not a CEO and I do not live in a New York City. In fact, the Lord has molded me during my college years and shortly after my graduation I went on a mission trip to Kenya for one month. Two weeks after the mission trip I married a man of dreams, whom I am happily married now for three years.

   (receiving a hug from Franklin Graham)


In a fall the Lord blesses me beyond my imagination by keeping me busy as I travel to different churches and share my testimony. I always meet the most wonderful people and always blessed by their desire to serve the Lord through the Operation Christmas Child. If you ever participated or will participate in this project, Thank You for blessing me and all the children around the world through a simple gift of a shoe box.

But before I let you go, we need your help!!! Would you share this story with someone today? If you have a blog, will you link up and share with your readers? If you have a tweeter, will you tweet? If you have a Sunday school class, will you share it? If you have a friend, will you e-mail it? The goal is to involve as many people as possible in this wonderful project, so many more children around the world can experience the blessing of a simple shoe box. At the end God will get all the glory, honor and praise!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at tightwadintraining@gmail.com .

Blessing a child with one shoe box at a time,

Oxana

26 comments:

  1. Oxana, I'm so glad you posted about this again! I love your story and Meghan and I watched your video together. She just kept saying, "Wow!". I loved hearing your voice too because I feel like I know you even more now :) I will link to your post on my blog.
    love, Heather

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  2. Oxana, I'm a tightwad AND an OCC shoebox fanatic, too. Thank you for sharing your story. God has used my tightwad training to allow me to pack larger and larger numbers of shoeboxes for OCC every year. Last year by His grace He provided enough for 10,131 boxes and this year I'm praying for 12,000. I write a blog about this, too, and if you want you can stop over and visit at www.occnwpa.blogspot.com

    Keep sharing your story to generate more gospel opportunities,
    Kathy in Erie, PA

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  3. My daughters and I pack shoeboxes every year. It was a blessing for me to read your testimony this morning. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  4. Oxana, I appreciate your testimony and your boldness to stand for the Lord.
    Your Friend at work
    John

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  5. What a powerful testimony! This reminds me that it's not what's in the box, it's what the box is all about--sharing Jesus! Thank you for sharing this. =)

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  6. Such a great story, thanks for sharing!

    Megan

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  7. My children and I pack shoeboxes every year. We start collecting items in January so we have plenty of things to put in them by November. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  8. What a beautiful & inspirational story. I too collect items for OCC every year.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your testimony. I left a piece of my heart in Belarus, when I went on my first mission trip several years ago. I spent most of my time in Minsk, but visited the orphanage in Rudansk as well. I love this shoebox ministry!

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  10. wow, that's amazing! thank you so much for sharing. my family and i put together shoeboxes when i was growing up and now my husband and i do them together. it's great to have a personalized story with them now. thank you!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony! My family and I have filled shoe boxes for years and we really look forward to it every year. Your story certainly makes it more real.

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  12. Dear Oxana,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had never heard of Operation Christmas Child until now and I am eager to learn more and begin sharing...because of you and your story.
    God Bless,
    Leighann

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  13. Thank you for sharing. My husband grew up in Russia and I always think of the children something like my own children that i send boxes to in other countries, being half Russian, it seems more real to me that way. I never enclosed notes usually, as i figured they could not write back anyway, but I will be enclosing notes now! Thank you for the encouragement!

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  14. Oxana, I am not a religious person (I grew up Catholic, but have since severed my ties with the church for deeply personal reasons) but my family and I have been filling shoeboxes and volunteering at OCC distribution centers as long as I can remember. I feel it is my responsibility to give to those less fortunate than I, and I am especially grateful to know that these small tokens of love can mean so much to impoverished children around the globe. Your story warmed my heart and I want to thank you for sharing it. This year forward, I will be sure to enclose a letter in each box, just in case...

    Many blessings!

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  15. Hey Oxana
    I am new visitor of your blog.I saw your video,all kids were happy with gift but the especially the girl in the window is calling for someone is looking so sweet and pretty that i have no more to explain.
    lead answer

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  16. Alot of times when we do things for the Lord we do not know the outcome....we are still going to do them because we Love the Lord and He is leading us to do them but it is a blessing to hear this testimony and to see a glimpse at the impact of this simply act...it really makes you want to do more!!! Thank you so much for opening your heart for this testimony&I pray that God continues to do such wonderful works in you and through you, In His Name xoxo Lisa Henson

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  17. In 2001, I went on a mission trip to Vitebsk, Belarus and had the honor of handing out OCC Boxes. On that trip, I found my second daughter. It took us two long years to bring her home, but we did it! In 2008, our childrens' choir did the Operation Christmas Child musical for their Christmas performance for the church. It was such a blessing, and the Children's minister brought my sweet daughter forward and announced that she was the recipient of a box only a few years ago, and now she is packing them for other children, it had a very strong impact on our congregants. Our church is very involved with this movement.

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  18. How do people donate 10,000+ boxes. I've been couponing and filling boxes... but I'm a college student and money's tight, so I don't know if I can afford all the $7 fees.

    Thanks!

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  19. Hello I am your newest follower from MGM.
    You can follow me back at http://megankayden.blogspot.com/

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  20. Wow! What an inspiring story! I've never heard of the shoeboxes, but I'm going to follow your link to find out about it now! Good for you for sharing this important message - I'll be sure to pass it on to!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  21. We participate in this with 4H every year :)

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  22. Hi there! I am your newest follower!!

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  23. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony! this year is the first year i have planned on doing shoe-boxes with my 5 children. I will make sure that they each include a written or dictated & written by mommy letter that is so treasured.

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  24. Thank you for your story! My husband and I have done boxes for years. Our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group does boxes every year. I am looking forward to teaching my 2 year old about serving others through this ministry! We will CERTAINLY include a letter!

    I am sharing your story on my blog. I have it set to publish Tuesday afternoon (Sept 14th).
    rediscoveringdomesticity.com

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  25. Thank Oxana for sharing your beautiful testimony. I have posted your story as a link on my blog. My husband and I have 3 children that we adopted from Russia, and they also said the were recipients of a Christmas Box. Olga (our daughter from Russia) was involved in making boxes the last 3 years, while in High school. This year, because of your story, I feel so inspired to do them at home with Eddie (the last child at home).
    Many Blessings, and Much Love,
    Pam

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  26. خدماتنا متميزة عن غيرنا في مجال التسريبات سربات المياه والعوزال وحل بطرق سليمة دون التدمير فعندنا في شركة ركن البيت افضل يوجد افضل الفنين الممتزين في مجال التسربات والكشف عنها بدون اي مشاكل من خلال الطاقم التي تم تدريبه في شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام فتعاملك معنا ستحصل علي خدمات متميزة

    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات بجدة
    شركة عزل خزانات بالرياض
    شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض

    شركة كشف تسربات بالدمام
    شركة كشف تسربات بالرياض
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
    كشف تسربات المياه

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