National Collection Week 2009 is over and so is Thanksgiving Day, but my thanksgiving for the harvest of shoeboxes God gave us is new every morning. The shine of God's amazing grace hasn't worn thin yet.
On Monday, November 16th, the Family Life Network did a live broadcast from the collection center at Church of the Covenant and by the end of the first day we had 1605 boxes already. Rose Dobson brought the 950 boxes from their small church of 35 members and they kept a crew of us busy cartonizing until nearly 6:00 pm.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we had plenty to keep us busy and on Thursday Pat Carter brought her 1166 boxes from Federated and a few other groups over to fill the truck. The first truck left on Friday morning with over 3,700 boxes.
On Saturday morning I worked with Judy Hyde and again we were busy cartonizing all morning. In the afternoon I called around to see how all the relay centers and the Warren collection center were doing and from the tallies I was pretty sure we'd make the 18,000 goal.
That evening I went to Fellowship Baptist--a small church that's been faithfully filling boxes for OCC since 1994--and helped with their packing party. It was great to see another 133 boxes filled.
On Sunday after church I drove to Church of the Covenant and found four cars in line to drop off boxes. I was the only one there and it was pretty busy for a while as car after car pulled up into the line. The garage was full and thankfully a few other people came to help.
That night the relay centers brought their boxes -- 2626 from Meadville and 1178 from Seneca. My fingers flew over the calculator adding up boxes. Depending on the final totals in Warren, I thought we might go beyond 21,000 and was so excited I couldn't sleep that night.
On Monday the boxes were still rolling in and Seph had to keep extending the collection center hours. Kristin Hesch helped him in the morning. I was making phone calls from school in spare moments to check on Warren and get updates on their relay centers.
After school I went down to help Seph put the final boxes in cartons and got the FINAL TOTALS by 5:30 pm. Last year we had 15,015 boxes and our goal this year was 18,000, including the new collection center in Warren.
Well, God did it again. Just comparing our Erie collection center were were up to 19,768--a 32% increase--and adding in the Warren center our grand total for Northwestern PA was 22,331 (loved those repeating numbers again)--a 49% increase from last year.
God, I'll never get used to this--seeing You do what only You can do and watching You go beyond my imagination.
Now I'm praying about next year's goal. Whatever it is, I want it to be beyond imagination.