How God changed my heart towards giving
For the next few months, through a series of three articles, I will
try to capture how God changed my heart towards giving and changed my
direction in ministry.
About 18 years ago my wife Lori started filling Shoe Boxes to ship all
over the world to children who have never received a gift before. My
Christian thoughts at the time was that this was nice and the right
thing to do but I was busy in the working world and probably still a
little into myself and our needs more than the needs for others.
Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child was the organization that
my wife was providing boxes to. This organization would then
distribute them to many different countries around the world.
Samaritans Purse has been doing this ministry for 21 years and has
distributed over 100 million shoe box gifts in over 100 countries.
My thoughts when she started was ok a few boxes can have an impact on
a few kids. I was ok with this small token of giving, although she
was doing it I was a part from a distance so it made me feel good. It
had a very small financial impact so all was good. Little did I know
God was at work in my heart through my wife’s passion for giving to
For the next 5 or 6 years I watched her shop, create craft ideas, pack
boxes and get others involved in this ministry. Then we moved from
California to Idaho. Now that I was retired and thinking of hunting,
fishing, outdoors, no job, Yeah, the good life. We joined a local
church and got really involved in leadership and home groups. As my
Christian walk started to grow feet, God started to open my heart to
His will with regards to giving. I told Lori maybe we should get more
involved with Samaritan’s Purse as well.
Of course she was excited and we volunteered to open a relay center in
Athol Idaho at our home. A relay center collects Shoebox’s from local
churches, individuals and community organizations and delivers them
to a collection facility during the week before Thanksgiving.
My thoughts were, “this is great I can commit a small amount of time
and money and be serving.” Oh, and making my wife happy as well. Her
passion for this ministry was growing larger and larger.
I understood the process. A child receives a box from Jesus, hears and
reads the gospel message, receives salvation and shares it with their
families. I understood and was excited to be a part of this process.
Then it happened. My wife had to go help her mother through a medical
situation in California during, you guessed it, Collection Week (the
third week in November). I was left here to manage the relay center.
In the past my job was to count and place the boxes in a carton and
deliver them to Spokane at the end of collection week. Now I was
dealing with people that were bringing boxes to the relay center and
volunteers that helped the process run smooth.
This week was a turning point for my relationship with God and my
relationship with Samaritans Purse. I learned that it was not only
the receiving child, family, and community that is affected by the
gift but the givers are affected as well. A van pulled up from a local
Baptist church and the two ladies were and had been crying. I asked
them what was going on and could I pray for them. There cry was from
joy. There small church of 120 people had given over 100 boxes and
was filled with joy because of the spiritual bonding that took place
in their fellowship. This got me; I had never thought of the giver
being blessed, only the receiver. God revealed to me that although I
was giving I needed the right heart to find joy in it.
Next month I will share how God has used this ministry to not only
change my heart but change my direction in ministry.
God Bless you all,
In His Grip,
Cliff Hall, Area Coordinator, North Idaho Samaritans Purse Operation