By Sharon Mager

WALDORF, Md.—It’s just a few days before Easter Sunday, but First Baptist Church of Waldorf is preparing for Christmas. Church members are making Christmas gifts to fill 1,200 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. And they’re having a blast doing it! They call their project, “Let’s Make It!”

Once a month on Thursday evenings, church members and friends join in the fun of making goodies for the boxes. They’re starting with salvation bracelets. Soon they’ll be making jump ropes.

“They have to cut the rope and burn the ends, then the kids put the handles on,” Joan Snyder, project coordinator, said.

“All ages participate, kids, adults, seniors and youth make the crafts. We have 15 to 30 on any given Thursday and they’re not always the same people. We start at 6:30 and end no later than 8:30 so it’s not too late. We make it a party,” said Debbie Kempson, wife of Senior Pastor Wayne Kempson and minister of discipleship and children’s ministry.

As the group makes the toys, they snack on cheese and crackers, cookies, and other snacks. Sometimes they bring neighbors and friends.

Snyder said she encourages those making the gifts to pray. “I tell them to say a prayer for the child who will receive the gift, that they will feel the love of Jesus.

In addition to the monthly Thursday “parties,” on Wednesday mornings, several retired women bring in their sewing machines and work making stuffed bears and dolls for the boxes. The “stuffing” is also taken care of at the Thursday “parties.”

“They’re making 1200 bears! They’re taking over the church,” Debbie laughed. The church is also collecting wash cloths, soap and other toiletries for shoe boxes.

When November nears, they’ll gather all their goodies and have a huge box stuffing party. The challenge is the cost. Debbie said the postage to send the boxes rises to $9.00 a box this year. With 1,200 boxes that’s $10,800.

But they’re confident and moving forward, one box at a time!