MARSHALL, Texas – The Christmas spirit came to East Texas Baptist University earlier than usual as the student-athletes participated in Operation Christmas Child this week. ETBU student-athletes came together with their gifts for boys and girls and wrapped them all in one night.
In the first year of the ETBU Athletic Operation Christmas Child Wrapping Party, the athletic department collected 181 boxes for boys and girls through donations from over 500 ETBU student-athletes. These boxes were then delivered to Summit United Methodist Church in Marshall.
“For the inaugural ETBU Athletic Operation Christmas Child Wrapping Party, we had a tremendous turnout of student-athletes, coaches, and staff. I know that these boxes and gifts donated by our student-athletes will make a difference in the lives of children across the globe," said Vice President for Athletics/ Director of Athletics Ryan Erwin. "It is always great to see so many students giving up their evening and free time to benefit and serve others.”
The student-athletes came together for an hour in Keys Gym to wrap all the presents together. As part of this new tradition, they all listened to Christmas music, drank hot chocolate, and ate cookies fellowshipping once the presents were wrapped. All the ETBU teams participated bringing toys to fit into the Operation Christmas Child boxes and enjoyed figuring out how to wrap the presents along with serving others.
“Operation Christmas Child was such a great experience for me and the entire ETBU athletics teams as a whole. During our weekly team Bible study, our team has been learning how to be selfless, and put ourselves aside in order to bless others, and I feel like this opportunity was a great way to practice what we have been reading in God’s word as a team,” says ETBU softball player senior Jayme Perez.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Operation Christmas Child is just one of their missions they seek to fulfill as they share God’s love in the World.
ETBU has 14 NCAA Division III sports and six club sports with over 350 student-athletes. Operation Christmas Child is just one of many organizations that these teams serve as they all selflessly serve other people. Along with the community service, these teams have discipleship programs set up by their coaches to help them in their daily walk with Jesus Christ.