21 Shoeboxes and Alternative Church Sundays

I live in the suburbs where we desperately need Jesus. Teaching our children about the world through the lens of our privileged world is difficult to say the least.

During our church homeless period, we periodically took Sundays to “home” church with lessons from various news clippings to spur on the conversation. Over the summer a colleague on InterVarsity staff alerted us to an exhibit downtown. Doctors Without Borders was setting up a refugee camp in the heart of the city, and we took the kids to do church at the exhibit. Instead of sitting in pews that Sunday, we stood in line talking to the kids about starvation, war and basic needs. It was one of our best Sunday experiences yet.

Last year the kids each filled a shoebox for Operation Christmas child, and having the kids help purchase and collect things for three shoeboxes was a good experience. We bought things they would want (I kept saying, “If you think it’s a junky toy and you wouldn’t play with it why would you give it to someone else?”) and then talked about how we probably would have had more shoeboxes had we planned ahead.

So for the past year we collected the shoeboxes from every pair of shoes we bought – 21 boxes to fill. (Even though Bethany’s feet grew two full sizes I was still horrified.) We brought along a friend and the kids thoughtfully selected flashlights, hair pins, small toys, soap, etc. and we filled and wrapped and talked. It’s not the solution. It’s a step.

We live in the suburbs where many of our neighbors never have to worry about having enough toys or soap for their children. We live in the suburbs where many neighbors are working like crazy to keep up with their neighbors, living paycheck-to-paycheck with a smile on the outside. We desperately need Jesus more than we know it.

What are some of the things other suburbanites are doing to connect their families with God’s heart for the world?


  1. Al Hsu December 4, 2007

    We also do the Operation Christmas Child shoebox thing. And just last weekend our church had a fair trade Christmas shopping event at Ten Thousand Villages – my wife blogged about it at teamhsu.blogspot.com if you’re interested. It’s a form of “ethical consumerism” – suburbia is a consumer culture, but we can take steps to consume more Christianly and justly in ways that benefit others.

  2. Always asking questions January 19, 2008

    I like the outreach as Halloween is just another day that the Lord has made.

    Be blessed in it and outreach to people with pumpkin carving.

    Our church did.

    Lead not follow, love and love is stronger.


    ps 84-7

  3. Pepy3 February 9, 2008

    Kathy, I’ve tagged you with a book meme…I KNOW you have books in the cave…participate if you wish!
    My 2 Cents/Paisley


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