Patrice Lux believes every day is a God story—one she couldn’t possibly make up on her own.
In 2018, she packed 100 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with gifts and other items to be distributed to children around the world by Samaritan’s Purse. The shoeboxes went to places Lux will never visit, to children she does not know by name, to some countries hard to find on a map.
In 2019, Lux felt God telling her not to limit what He could do, so she took a deep breath and ordered 300 Christmas shoeboxes to fill.
And numbers continued to grow. Each time, Lux leaned into God a little more, trusting Him to fill the gaps and provide the gifts.
When COVID-19 hit and many places and people were on lockdown, Lux began shopping every morning for goodies to put into the shoeboxes. She’d pray in the store parking lot that she’d find the right bargains.
It happened every day. She found new packages of socks for $1. Hats, gloves, jackets and shirts for $1. Dolls that were normally $10 marked down to 50 cents. School supplies for pennies.
“There are so many stories of children getting exactly what they wanted,” Lux said. “I believe God gives me the things these kids need. Pencils, crayons and paper mean so much because it means they may be able to go to school. Most of all, they let kids know that God sees and cares for them.”
This year, Lux is busy packing 900 Christmas shoeboxes. Her Southeast Christian Church weekend group and widow’s group are helping her pack the boxes that have taken over her house and garage.
Donors include $9 per box to cover shipping and distribution. Friends, other widows and members of her weekend group helped cover costs. Lux used her inheritance from her parents to cover the rest.
Operation Christmas Child has become a tradition for many families. It began in 1993 when Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham received a call from a man in England asking if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. Within weeks, churches filled 28,000 shoeboxes for children in the Balkans. Each one included a handwritten letter.
Since that first shipment, more than 188 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. It is the only gift many children receive.
Now shoeboxes include a discipleship booklet for children called “The Greatest Journey.” Children learn about Jesus and how to share Him with others.