Operation Christmas Child Volunteer Brings Hundreds to Springfield

June 14, 2016 • United States
Decision America Tour
Jeanne with some of the people who attended today's rally

A shoebox enthusiast persuades nine buses of people to attend Franklin Graham's Decision America Tour in Illinois

When Jeanne Barclay began praying about participating in the Decision America Tour she thought maybe one or two buses at most would come from her church in Peoria, Illinois. She had no idea today’s end result would be nine buses and 450 people from metro Peoria headed to the Capitol steps in Springfield.

Decision America Tour

Jeanne (front row in scarf) with a group she led to pack shoeboxes

Barclay, 65, is the Operation Christmas Child area coordinator for Central Illinois. She felt so strongly about inviting people to attend the Springfield prayer rally that she put out the call beyond her church.

Barclay contacted her network of churches and volunteers involved in Operation Christmas Child and asked if they wanted to join her in Springfield. She also asked local radio stations to advertise the Decision America Tour, where Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham is visiting the capitals of all 50 states to urge people to pray and vote.

“One thing led to another,” she said. “Pretty soon it was six buses, then seven, and it continued to grow.”

Today, those nine buses rolled into Springfield with people ready to pray for our country.

Barclay said she came to the prayer rally because she agrees with Franklin Graham that America is in trouble and God is our only hope.

“We’ve moved away from God,” she said. “We need to get back to our Biblical foundation.”

Decision America Tour


Barclay appreciated today’s times of corporate as well as individual and small group prayer.

“It was beautiful,” she said. “I could feel that people were encouraged as we prayed.”

Faithful Servant

As an Operation Christmas Child volunteer, Barclay is passionate and dedicated. She’s volunteered as area coordinator four years and prior to that served two years on the church relations team. But even before that, she described herself as an Operation Christmas Child shoebox “mega-packer.”

“My family began packing shoeboxes in 2004, and then as project leader at my church, I encouraged people to pack boxes,” she said.

Last year, about 26,000 shoebox gifts came from metro Peoria.

Barclay’s husband and one of her adult children also volunteer with Operation Christmas Child on the area team. Volunteering has deepened their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.

“It has given us strength,” Barclay said. “It has encouraged us to stand up and be more vocal for our faith.”