Imagine retiring only to go to work full-time for the Lord. A dream come true for Jeff and Paula Grossmann, who serve year round in the Treasure Coast Area for Samaritan’s Purse program Operation Christmas Child.
Coordinating a grassroots team of 32 called-ministry partners, the Grossmanns overseemedia communications, community outreach, church relations, logistics (semi-trucks, etc..) and prayer ministries connected with Operation Christmas Child.
Encompassing St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties, the grassroots effort is growing; there are more than 200 participating churches as God prepares and opens doors to more. Last year this Treasure Coast Area collected 20,000 gift-filled boxes; the goal for 2017 is 25,000.
The Grossmanns, married for more than 50 years, work January through June with a light schedule, but in season, July through November, they each easily put in 40 hours a week. Paula has been involved in Operation Christmas Child for more than ten years; she began by packing a shoebox. Paula was also chosen to travel to Uganda, Africa, to a women’s prison, to see the Gospel presented to inmates and gift boxes received by their children.
Jeff is partially retired from his own business, Grossmann Air Conditioning. He and his wife, Paula, have been Morningside Church members for 14 years. They have received Christian leadership training and are equipped and supported by Samaritan’s Purse staff in Orlando. Together the two make a dynamic team.
Did you know that when you pack a box that nothing ever is removed from it? This is called the “integrity of the box,” Jeff Grossmann states. After you fill a gift box and pray for the receiver, the box is collected at a collection site. From there it is transported with other boxes to central drop offs to be loaded into semi-trucks. The trucks travel to eight major processing centers across the United States. Florida boxes are received into a mammoth building in Atlanta where they are individually checked by 300 called-ministry partners and then placed into cargo containers for sea route shipping overseas. At times, some boxes will be placed aboard a plane if the receiving country has a limited time window.
Overseas, in more than 100 countries, children ages two to 14 receive the gift-filled boxes from trained Operation Christmas Child nationals. Many of the children are in need, living in poverty, orphanages, and refugee camps. These children are also invited to participate in The Greatest Journey discipleship program, where they will have an opportunity to meet Jesus and receive Him. “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matt 19:14) Each day thousands of children come to know the Lord through this program.
This year Samaritan’s Purse is introducing a new type of box which may be used for gift-packing. It is a durable plastic box, decorated with the Operation Christmas Child logo and colors, now made available at Hobby Lobby. This box itself is a gift.
It is a blessing and an honor to pack a box and send it.
Paula Grossmann says this, “Last year, Puerto Rico sent many boxes; this year, it is expected that none will come from the U.S. territory.” God is calling us to make up the shortage and then some. If you filled a shoebox last year, please consider filling two this year.
Other ways to pack boxes include organizing packing parties through a community organization or church.
Just as Apostle Paul sent out handkerchiefs, these shoeboxes represent the work and word of God going forth. Children will be won to the love of Christ.
Paula tells a story of a box packed just with socks. The box was received in India by a little boy who had burned feet. Because of his condition he was required to wear socks, but he had only one pair; his mother was constantly washing them. God knew what this boy needed.
Jeff Grossmann adds, “God is in control.”
The work of God goes where no one can go—into the hearts and minds of children and their parents, changing the world for the glory of God.
National Collection Week November 13-20
Drop Off Locations:
- Port St. Lucie: Morningside Church, West
- Fort Pierce: Indian River Presbyterian
- Stuart: United Methodist on Kanner Highway
- Okeechobee: First Baptist of Okeechobee
- Loxahatchee: Oasis Church
- Jupiter: Harvest Community Church
- North Palm Beach: Lighthouse Church
- West Palm Beach: Lakeside Presbyterian
© 2017 "Hometown Heroes" Kelly Jadon