December 6, 2013

Adding a Little Love with a Personal Touch ~ Behind The Shoe Boxes: Stories of Sharing

I would like to introduce you to a crafter extraordinaire:  Pam Suter.  She has added a personal touch to hundreds of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, ones she has personally packed and those packed at the massive packing parties put on by OCC Northwestern PA each year (think tens of thousands of boxes packed in one day).  Her hands are kept very busy.

A Prayer, A Child, A Flyer, and A Packing Party
  by Pam Suter

"Lord, please make me your hands and feet". That had been my prayer for several years, and is still my prayer now. I had been searching for ways to be "Jesus' hands and feet" for quite some time, and had served in some ministries ever since I was a child. Although I enjoyed serving in those ministries, I felt a strong need to serve Jesus.

Through prayer, faith, trust, and waiting, God led me to Operation Christmas Child in September of 2010, when my youngest child handed me a  flyer she had received for an upcoming local Operation Christmas Child Community-wide Packing Party. She wanted to go to the Packing Party, as did I. What a wonderful, amazing, joyful, and fun time that was! To see God at work on such a large scale was simply astounding.

Shortly after the Packing Party, I signed up to become a year-round volunteer on our local OCCNWPA Prayer Mobilization Team. On the eve of Nation Collection Week that year, it was official.

My youngest child and I packed our very first shoebox at home that year, for a girl, ages 5-9. Although my child had brought home the "How to Pack a Shoebox" pamphlet, attending the Packing Party really helped in knowing what to pack in a shoebox. It included a little baby doll, for which I crocheted a sweet little "bunting".

I have always enjoyed crafting, ever since my mother taught me how to sew by hand, and ever since I learned how to knit, crochet, embroider, and sew using a sewing machine, in the 7TH grade. I enjoyed making things and giving them to loved ones, and later on, people I will probably never meet.

Beginning in 2011, I started crocheting little coin purses for the shoeboxes my family and I would pack at home, and for our local Packing Party later that year. After posting about it and posting photos of some of the coin purses I crocheted online on Facebook, friends, including friends on my OCCNWPA Team, started giving me yarn, yarn, and more yarn! A friend from out of state even mailed me some yarn! I felt so blessed and amazed at the generosity of my friends. With God's favor and provision, along with encouragement and support from family and friends, and the things friends had given, I have crocheted for the children who receive shoeboxes:
  • coin purses
  • hats
  • scarves
  • hair accessories
  • miniature Christmas Wreaths
  • Adding a little love to the boxes.
  • bracelets and bracelet bags
For Christmas of 2011, my son and his family generously blessed me with a beautiful new sewing machine. I thought the best way to make things for the shoeboxes, especially clothing,  was by sewing things. I had seen many wonderful patterns, tutorials, and ideas for making things for the shoeboxes online (Facebook) at Simply Shoe Boxes, Clip with Purpose, and Operation Christmas Child. Much prayer and discussion with my family and friends had gone into all of it. Soon, people were giving me lots of beautiful materials for making things. With God's favor and provision, along with encouragement and support from family and friends, and the things friends had given, I was able to sew and send to needy children
skirts
  • pajama pants
  • tote bags
  • headbands
  • soft teddy bears

Early in 2011, through encouragement and support from family and friends, I started crocheting "cuddlies" (stuffed animals) for for the shoeboxes my family and I pack at home, for shoeboxes packed at our annual Packing Party, and for shoeboxes some of my friends pack. The very first one I crocheted was a Sock Monkey.
The Little Guy that Started it All...or should I say Little GAL?!

Again, once I started posting on Facebook about what I was making, including photos, friends started giving me yarn, polyfil, and patterns. Such blessings! I have crocheted close to 460 "cuddlies" since I started in 2011, for the shoeboxes my family and I pack at home, for shoeboxes packed at our annual Packing Party, and for shoeboxes some of my friends pack. Some of the "cuddlies" I have crocheted include well-known TV characters such as
  • "Tweety"
  • "Baby Elmo
  • "Snoopy"
  • "Woodstock" (Snoopy's bird friend)

as well as
Pencil cases upcycled from boxes.
  • monkeys
  • fairy dolls
  • kitty cats
  • turtles
  • reindeer
  • 21 "Pittsburgh Penguins", an idea my youngest child gave to me. She named 20 of them after Pittsburgh Penguin hockey players, and a friend name the first one "Igloo", after the team's mascot.
  • ponies

Beginning in 2011,  my youngest child started crafting for the children as well. She has spent time looking online for things to make, came up with some wonderful ideas, and has enlisted my help in making nice things for the children. She has been such a big and instrumental help with her creative ideas, and has named some of the "cuddlies" I have crocheted and sewn for the children. Some of the things she has made:
Hockey People--designed by Pam's Daughter.
  • pencil cases
  • sewing kits
  • bead kits
  • beaded necklaces
  • "Hockey People"-  all of whom she has named  after past and current hockey players

All that my daughter and I have made,  have gone, and prayerfully, will continue to go to, needy and hurting children around the world, in the name of Jesus and in His love. Crafting things with my daughter, and working on packing shoeboxes together, has brought her and I closer together, which is an unexpected, yet, huge gift and blessing. God is so wonderful!

I am so thankful, and feel so blessed, that my family and I are "Jesus' hands and feet", by serving Him through the amazing ministry of Operation Christmas Child. I am also so thankful and blessed for my family and friends who have prayed for me, supported and encouraged me, and blessed me with all that I need to pack, shoeboxes with simple gifts for needy children, and to make so many wonderful, cute, and beautiful things for them. To God be the glory!

If you would like to get in touch with me, you can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pam.suter.3.

If you are a crafter you may enjoy some of my crafting for shoe boxes tutorials.  You can find them all in this post:  DIY Crafts for Shoe Boxes ~ How to's & Tutorials.

If you have a story to tell or know of someone who would be perfect for this series, check out this page with all the information you need to know to guest post:  Tell Your Shoe Box Sharing Story.  I would love to hear your story.

1 comment:

Gayle Page-Robak said...

It was so nice reading your stories of sharing. What a wonderful charitable program, to be sure. Thank you for your comments on my village. I am now following you as well. Hugs, Gayle.

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