Hear! Hear! The End of the Year is Near!

It’s November 1 and this year is almost over! Including today, there are 61 days left in 2018. It’s hard to believe how quickly the days turn into weeks, morph into months, and fade into years. 

For Sweet T and I, the beginning of November is marked by the ramping up of Operation Christmas Child and the upcoming National Collection Week. We also start to anticipate the fast-approaching family holidays and a season of thanksgiving and celebration. 

The Devotional Guy_Daily Devotional

18 And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

We have seen God do incredible things since Sweet T and I started actively participating in Operation Christmas Child 10 years ago. We’ve made great friendships and established life-long relationships with people we would have never met otherwise. But God always has an abundant, multiplying plan. I’m continually amazed how the Lord takes our offering and expands it beyond measure.

In the course of co-laboring alongside wonderful OCC volunteers, Sweet T and I have affirmed first-hand that we can’t outgive God. Sweet T and I take to heart God’s command to go out and make disciples. On any given day, we actively seek opportunities to pour into other people’s lives, re-investing the grace and mercy God showered upon us into those amid our circle of influence who need it most.  Operation Christmas Child is one spoke of our vibrant ministry wheel that proclaims the gospel to a hungry, hurting world. 

15 And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15 (ESV)

Every individual in the world needs the gospel. The gospel brings restoration to a world in desperate need of redemption. Every corner of the world hungers for the healing the gospel brings to people near and far. Through Operation Christmas Child, millions of children in 100+ countries receive a simple prayer-filled, love-packed shoebox that carries with it the promise of eternal life. These special gifts, delivered in Jesus’ name, have a far-reaching impact. Along the way, these shoebox gifts are a  blessing to everyone involved in the process of getting the box into the hands of a child.

National Collection Week is November 12-19 this year. We’re looking forward to seeing God at work!


The Devotional Guy™


#OCC2018 #OperationChristmasChild2018 #OCC

Operation Christmas Child 2017 Begins!

Monday, November 13, 2017


National Collection Week 2017 is here!

All around the world, tens of thousands of Operation Christmas Child volunteers and thousands of ministry partners are prepared to receive love-filled, prayer-covered shoebox gifts to share with millions of needy children.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2017 marks our 9th year of involvement in this incredible ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse. Like so many OCC volunteers, Terri and I got started by packing a simple shoebox gift in November 2008. Today, we kickoff our 3rd year as a OCC Central Drop-Off. In 2015, after serving as the Richardson area’s Relay Center for six years, we transitioned to the even bigger responsibility of serving as a Central Drop Off. Terri and I have learned a lot about our amazing God and our faith has grown through this ministry project. In 2015, Terri fulfilled the dream of a lifetime in going to Tanzania and taking part in several shoebox distributions. We have been blessed tremendously through seeing God at work through this wonderful project giving millions of children worldwide the opportunity to hear about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

Packing a shoebox gift is loads of fun and brings great joy to your household, family table, small group, Bible study, or prayer group. Packing shoeboxes with others is a rewarding experience and a powerful blessing. When you pack your shoebox gift, pray over it once you’ve got it all done. Prayer is a vital ingredient in the process. Include an encouraging note and maybe even a picture of yourself. Be sure to pack a WOW item!


If you live in North Dallas and surrounding Dallas North area please bring your shoebox gifts to us at Trinity Bible Church 400 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75085 during any of the following collection times:

Monday thru Friday    10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday     1:00 pm – 5:30 pm
2nd Monday    10:00 am – 5:30 pm


We look forward to seeing you!

Rainer and Terri Bantau


Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NIV)

How to Pack a Shoebox Gift

3 WOW! Items For Your OCC Shoebox

We hope and pray that you are getting excited about packing your love-filled shoebox for Operation Christmas Child this year. It’s hard to believe, but National Collection Week is right around the corner. Before we look at 3 WOW! Items for your shoebox, let’s discuss what kind of shoebox works best.

Does Shoebox Size Matter?

Yes. Pick out an average size shoebox. Not too big, not too small. Odd-sized boxes are harder to put in a big carton, especially if they are really big shoeboxes, resulting in less boxes being packed in a carton. Since it costs about $100 to ship one carton, the more boxes we can get in one carton the better.

Cardboard or Plastic?

Either is okay. The main thing is to get a sturdy shoebox. Cardboard shoeboxes hold up well when they are transported. They are usually more hardy than the red/green “GO Boxes”. “GO Boxes” are great because they are easily recognizable and you can pack 21-22 into one shipping carton. Plastic boxes are great too, provided you get a sturdy one with a flat, snap-on lid. The hinged lids are bulkier, making them harder to fit into a carton. The added benefit of a plastic box versus a cardboard box is that they are longer lasting and can be re-used for a number of things, like storage. If you wrap your shoebox, remember to wrap the lid separately. Don’t forget the label!

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Now let’s discuss some options for your WOW! items…


3 WOW Items to Pack in your OCC Shoebox

  1. A deflated soccer ball and pump

Soccer is the most played sport in the world. The language of soccer is universal and a great way for kids to make friends in their community. Think of the potential for sharing the Gospel that this gift can provide.

  1. A harmonica, wood flute, or small glockenspiel

Learning how to play a musical instrument is fun. Studies show that music is good for your soul and for you mind. Kids love music!

  1. An outfit or clothing to wear

This will give them something that they can think of you each time they wear it and make them feel loved and special.

So you’ve picked out your WOW! item. Let’s look at some other suggested items to include in your love-filled shoebox gift.


Other things to Pack

Toys: yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries).

School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books.

Non-liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, and wash cloths.

Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, and flashlights ( don’t forget the extra batteries)

A Finishing Touch

Consider enclosing a personal note to the child. Include a picture of you and your family or group. Be sure to include your name and address so that the child can write you back.

Are there things I shouldn’t pack?

Yes, there are definitely some things you want to avoid packing.


Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.


Candy specifications: During 2016, the following types of candy can be included in shoebox gifts: hard candy, gummy bears, caramels, taffy, and gum—as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: Nov. 14-21, 2016. Starting in 2017, no type of candy can be included in shoebox gifts.


Toothpaste specifications: Toothpaste can be included this year as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: Nov. 14-21, 2016. Starting in 2017, toothpaste cannot be included in shoebox gifts, but a child’s oral hygiene can still be improved by regular use of a toothbrush alone.


The Power of Prayer
Last and not least, once you’ve packed your box, closed the lid, and labeled it, PRAY over your box. Prayer is the single most important thing you and I can include in our box. God works through prayer to meet the needs of children everywhere. SO PLEASE PRAY HARD AND OFTEN!

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b (NIV)

All done? Here are some locations that you can drop your shoebox off at during National Collection Week.

Remember, each shoebox gift is the opportunity for a child to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. What better gift can any of us give someone than that?