Running for Operation Christmas Child
Running for Operation Christmas Child

Although many people pack shoeboxes each year, there are other ways to support Operation Christmas Child. One runner found a way to combine her two passions and help children around the world.

By Jessica Burns, a blogger who is running 26.2 miles to raise money for Operation Christmas Child

Running for Operation Christmas Child

Jessica Burns has found a great way to combine her passion for running with her passion for Operation Christmas Child.

When I first learned about Operation Christmas Child, I was impressed that such a simple idea could impact so many children in such a powerful way. I immediately dove headfirst into packing as many shoeboxes as I could; hunting down bargains and foraging clearance sales became a way of life.

Several years later, I’m still in love with the idea of bringing the Gospel to needy children and demonstrating God’s love to them through simple gifts. It doesn’t take much effort on my part to pack a shoebox; however, one shoebox has the ability to change a child’s life. Operation Christmas Child is an amazing opportunity to spread God’s word to the ends of the earth, and it is a ministry that touches my soul. Packing a shoebox is something I know I will always do.

I also know I will always be a runner. Though injuries and pregnancies sidelined me several times, running is something I always come back to. I think it’s because running is simple. You just put one foot in front of the other and go. And, once you really get into the groove so that the act of running is no longer a struggle, it’s therapeutic. Running unclutters my mind and leaves it open to hear that quiet voice of God. I can put aside everything that gets in the way and really listen to His voice and connect. Running is just something my soul cannot do without.

So, when a friend asked me to run a marathon with her, I got excited (and nervous). I’ve never run 26.2 miles before, but I’m always up for a good challenge. However, I needed some great motivation to get through five months of training as well as the race itself.

The best inspiration I could think of is raising money for Operation Christmas Child by running for Team Samaritan’s Purse. Just picturing the smiling faces of needy children around the world will propel me to the finish line.

I have a very lofty, God-sized goal of raising $5,000 for Operation Christmas Child by gathering pledges from friends, family, and local businesses. If I can reach the goal, I plan to run in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox costume! You know you want to see a picture of that, right? So, please help me spread the word. You can find my fundraising page here.