Gifts in boxes, smiles on faces at Pleasanton Church of Christ

K-3rd grade Journey Land kids with Smile Boxes they assembled for Mision Para Cristo’s “Smile for a Child” program. Back row, from left: Avery Miller, Jayce Bryan, Autumn Roberts, Noah De Leon and Emerson Royal. Front row: Jaylee Cate Maxwell, Kinsley Roberts, Everette Royal and Elijah De Leon. MELISSA THEIS | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

K-3rd grade Journey Land kids with Smile Boxes they assembled for Mision Para Cristo’s “Smile for a Child” program. Back row, from left: Avery Miller, Jayce Bryan, Autumn Roberts, Noah De Leon and Emerson Royal. Front row: Jaylee Cate Maxwell, Kinsley Roberts, Everette Royal and Elijah De Leon. MELISSA THEIS | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

During their Faith in Action class on the Wednesday evening of Sept. 1, nine kindergarten through third-grade members of the Pleasanton Church of Christ’s Journey Land group participated in a service project to benefit children ages 2-12 in Nicaragua and Honduras.

Jayce Bryan, Elijah and Noah De Leon, Jaylee Cate Maxwell, Avery Miller, Kinsley and Autumn Roberts and Emerson and Everette Royal assembled Smile Boxes filled with gifts for other children whom they have never met.

“I love that our kids were given the opportunity to fill Smile Boxes during FIA class!” said Jennifer Maxwell, one of the leaders of the project. “They were told a little about the children who will receive the boxes and how these children have so much less than we do. Our kids were also told how special it is that they get to make these to give joy to less fortunate children ‘in a country very far away from us.’”

The “Smile for a Child” program is a ministry of Mision Para Cristo which has been serving the people of Nicaragua and Honduras since 1997. Since 2001, the mission of this particular program has been to bring smiles to the faces of children at Christmastime. Thousands and thousands of boxes have been sent to children of several regions of Nicaragua. Over 13,000 boxes were sent in 2019.

“The mission’s main objective is for the message of our Lord to be shared with all people,” the brochure states. “To accomplish this goal, the mission works with the churches of Christ in Nicaragua to provide healthcare, food, shelter and education to those in need.”

The list of suggestions, which must all fit in a container the size of a shoe box, includes simple items like school supplies, one item of clothing, toothpaste and toothbrush, comb or hair ties, a few small toys and a handful of candy. This is a chance for kids, who happen to be born in a poorer country, to get just a taste of what the children who put the boxes together consider everyday items. And it gives kids, who happen to be born in a wealthier country, an opportunity to give some of their time and experience the joy of sharing their blessings.

“Our students seemed to enjoy filling the boxes knowing they were going to other children, Maxwell added. “I was proud of our kids and am thankful I had the chance to be a part of it and see the pride our children had in choosing items for their boxes. It especially filled my heart as a mother, to see my daughter participate in this activity!”

Pleasanton Church of Christ’s annual goal is approximately 85 boxes, one per family. With donations from members of the congregation, this group of young people assembled 18 boxes to put toward that goal.

Mision Para Cristo is a certified Texas 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit them at www.misionparacristo.com/ or on Facebook.

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