Monday, December 27, 2010
Today is December 27th and that means, I guess, that this is the Post-Christmas season. I don't think I ever fully got into the Pre-Christmas season and I'm hoping that's because Operation Christmas Child makes me 'think Christmas' all year long. Today I packed up two more straggler shoeboxes to mail to Operation Christmas Child headquarters in Boone. When my husband helped a friend move recently they found 2 boxes their children had packed and forgotten to turn in by the deadline. So I'm putting them in the mail today because that means 2 more children will have a gospel opportunity.
Yesterday morning I went shopping at 6:00 am looking for after-Christmas sales. I went to 4 stores and didn't find anything cheap enough to buy for shoeboxes. I came home with only a box of mac and cheese and a damaged tire. In a parking lot my car slid and hit a curb. So now it's at the tire store getting a new rim and new tires and finding out if the tie rods are damaged. It was an expensive trip with nothing to show for it. But we'd been procrastinating about putting the needed tires on the car so I'm taking that as one of God's "working together for good" activities.
Yesterday I looked back over my journal for January and February of 2010 and started dreaming about goals to set for Operation Christmas Child this year. What does God want to give us this year as far as shoebox numbers? What ministry goals does He want us to prayerfully pursue? Each year as I look back and see what God did for us I stand amazed, yet I still want more. I want new territory and bigger victories by His grace.
When we finished with the community-wide packing party this year (if you missed the video you can go to youtube.com and search for "Erie, PA packing party") I asked our team what they thought the maximum was we could pack in a day at Grace Church. This year we packed 12,670 in 6 hours and they felt that maximum would be 15,000 in one day. So should that be our goal this year? God, You can do anything, but what are we ready to receive?
We received 27,444 boxes in Northwestern PA this year--a bit under the goal of 30,333 we prayed for. So how do we set a goal this year? I'm praying about that and asking for God's direction.
So, really, this isn't Post-Christmas at all...it's just Pre-Christmas 2011.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit. I don't know why that's so hard for me. Maybe it's because I kind of 'do Christmas' all year-round with Operation Christmas Child. I just don't feel any enthusiasm for the holiday.
My children are all coming home this weekend to celebrate an early family Christmas. Julie, my youngest, is doing her residency in OB/GYN and has to work at the hospital on Christmas weekend, so she's flying in for this weekend. My oldest, Amy, and her husband, Greg, will be driving from New York City and middle daughter, Jen, will drive in from the Pittsbugh area. I'm trying to get final details ready but it just doesn't seem like it's really Christmas.
So this morning while I was running I started to wonder how I would feel and how I would prepare for my best friend's birthday (this is assuming I actually had a best friend--which I don't). If Jesus is my friend then how do I get ready for His birthday? How do I honor Him?
Let me say that I have a real problem saying that Jesus is "my best friend". I honestly don't feel I have a very friend-like relationship with Him. I've been struggling for several years with trying to get this right. I know, I know--every relationship is different and there isn't any real right, but still, I struggle.
Do I pray to God or to Jesus? Do I seek to have a close relationship with God the Father or with Jesus? How does this really flesh out when one of the persons in the relationship is a spirit? I want to put my head in God's lap but He doesn't have one. So I still struggle to define my growing spirituality and can't bring myself to say Jesus is my best friend.
Still, I think about preparing for a friend's birthday. If I had a best friend I would know what she wanted, I'd be happy to give it to her, and I'd spare no expense or time in helping her celebrate.
So as I get ready for Jesus' birthday I think about what He would want. I know He said that whatever we do to "the least of these" we do to Him. So I think I'm going to go online to www.samaritanspurse.org/occ and use the new Build-A-Box feature to pack ONE MORE box for Operation Christmas Child. I'll bet Jesus would be happy with that birthday gift.
And maybe the joy that one box will bring will stimulate my joy in the season.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I've been writing cards and stuffing envelopes and sticking on stamps, which isn't unusual for this time of year. But I'm not sending Christmas cards; instead, I've been writing thank you notes to all the churches in our area who brought in shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Last year I wrote out 47 of them and this year I've done 110 so far and still have more to do. Some I can't even do yet because I don't have copies of the shoe box drop-off logs from a few of the relay centers.
As I write each note and look at the number of shoe boxes collected by that church, I mentally subtract that number from our total. This reminds me of the impact of each gift and helps me visualize that each box is a part of our goal. If a church brought in 8 boxes, I realize that without them our total would have been only 27,436 instead of 27,444.
I am so full of thanks to God as I look at the totals of boxes that have been processed here in the US at the 7 Processing Centers. Right now that total stands at 4,665,099 boxes.
God, we pray still for that goal of 5.5 million boxes to bless children around the world. The harvest is here and you have abundantly provided. Please move those who could still participate by packing and mailing their gifts to Boone or by using the Build-A-Box online packing to contribute. Move in hearts, Father, to bring in these gifts.
And we'll respond with gratitude for Your glory.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
On Monday, November 22nd our Operation Christmas Child Northwestern PA area team gathered at Chick-fil-A to celebrate all God's done for us in this collection season. Our final total came in at 27,444 (not counting the 8 boxes that came in after the trucks were sent off). This is 5100 more boxes than we collected last year for a 23% increase.
This isn't the 30,333 we were praying for, but I believe it's what God knew we could handle. Our trucks were full and the Warren collection center ran out of cartons long before the boxes were all cartonized. Now we can make better logistics plans for next year and be ready to receive an even larger harvest of boxes.
I took a couple of lazy days over the Thanksgiving holiday and now I'm getting back at it. By God's grace I got letters to the editors off to 8 newspapers in our area of NW PA and now I'm working on writing thank-you notes to the churches who contributed boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Truthfully I'm not a fan of writing by hand. I feel like those days in school when the class was punished by having to write 100 times "I will not talk when the teacher is talking." But I know it's important to thank and encourage the donors so I'm asking God to help me push through it and persevere instead of quitting so often. I have 30 done so far and it wouldn't take long if I could stay motivated.
It was such a joy to watch the Community Celebration live via streaming video from the Charlotte, NC Processing Center this morning. But it made me miss being there even more.
There's a particular smell at the processing center--kind of a combination of the smell of soap and crayons and candy and rubber bands and tape. It's hard to describe but for me it's a smell of coming home. And, when you get right down to it, it's really the smell of hope and joy.
I'm remembering that smell right now and I'm smiling, filled with hope and joy.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I am praising God for all He has done this year and this collection week. I read this morning in 2Chronicles 15:7 these words that are an encouragement. "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." God is rewarding our work in wonderful ways.
I hope to see all of you who can come at Chick-fil-A tonight at 6:00 to celebrate God's harvest. I want our time at CFA to be completely exciting and to that end, while we don't know the final total yet, I wanted to share some thoughts God has been working through in me. First of all, while we don't have final numbers and we know God can do ANYTHING today, it seems to me that outside of a miracle we won't reach the goal of 30,333.
So, like my GPS tells me, I'm 'recalculating'. My new goal is that God would give us at least 26,815 boxes--which would be a 20% increase over last year. As I looked at the numbers yesterday I was, at first, somewhat disappointed. We prayed hard over what goal to set last winter and I felt God was leading us to set the goal of 30,333. It seems like it would be in His will to grant that.
Yesterday I listened to a CD about the life of George Mueller who said that if God doesn't answer your prayer it's because He wants to give us something better. He believed that our GOOD God always does the best for us, even when it doesn't seem so to us. So how does that apply to our shoebox goal? At first I couldn't figure that out but then last night I looked at the truck at Covenant which is very nearly full. If God miraculously blesses us with another 3500 boxes today, what will we do with them? Are we prepared to handle that? We need to do some tweaking with our collection system and some re-evaluating in order to receive larger numbers, I believe.
On the other hand, everyone be on alert in case we have to put out an "all hands on deck call" today to process thousands of boxes!!!!!! It's not over yet but I wanted you to know my thinking before we get to CFA tonight. God has done GREAT things among us. To go from 11,999 boxes in 2007 in our first year as a team to whatever God brings to us by tonight is nothing short of miraculous.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Here we are caught in the middle of National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. I am eager to find out how many boxes have been collected so far in Northwestern PA but I don't really know. I've had reports from a few collection sites, but not all of them.
I love what's happening, though. I love watching the boxes pile up--knowing that each of them will be a 'gospel opportunity' for a child in another country. A child like little Mario in the picture above. We met Mario at an Operation Christmas Child distribution in the Dominican Republic and in this picture he's sharing a huge hug with my good friend, Kim Wilkins. The thing Mario found in his box that he liked the most was a picture of my friend, Sherry, who gave him the box. Try to include a picture in your box because the children truly cherish the pictures they receive.
Last night I worked at the Operation Christmas Child relay center at The Federated Church. A precious group of folks from McLane Church brought in 365 boxes and we were able to get them loaded into cartons. Some of them were so full (closed with multiple rubber bands) that they looked like round balls.
Then I stood in awe as a hoard of youth ran up and down the stairs carrying armloads of boxes that Pat and a few friends had packed all through last year--1043 of them.
The harvest is coming and we're caught in the middle. We don't know the end yet and, of course, we won't really know until we get to heaven. But there's nowhere else I'd rather be than standing in the field watching it happen.
And, like little Mario, I want to throw my arms around everyone who has packed a box, and give each of them a huge hug for making it happen.
There's nothing like being caught in the middle of such love.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
(click 'here' to see a wonderful 1-minute video about Operation Christmas Child)
This is it! Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week starts tomorrow. Hundreds of people around the globe have committed to pray during this week for the collection and tomorrow at 2:00 PM will mark the National Moment of Prayer when people around the country will stop to ask God's blessing on the week.
This morning I had a blessed time speaking at Fellowship Baptist Church about Operation Christmas Child, then I packed a few more boxes. Yesterday I packed 92 to get the total packed for the year to 13,106 but I really liked the idea of the number 13,113, so I packed 7 more today to get to that grand total.
Then this evening I had a time of training with our new prayer team member. The eve of National Collection Week is the perfect time to get a new prayer team member started. When I got home I called some of our relay center coordinators to check in and see if everyone's ready for the week. The excitement sure is building.
Recently Randy Riddle sent an e-mail reminder that last year we missed our national goal by an average of 1/2 shoe box per collection site in the US. That got me thinking about the need for each of us to do our very best to get more people involved in packing boxes for OCC. With over 300 million people in the US, if we could get just 1 in every 30 to pack a box we'd have 10 million boxes.
Let's pray about that.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
An Operation Christmas Child friend of mine, referring to me in an e-mail, called me a 'prayer worrier'. I'm hoping that was just a typing error but it got me to thinking of how often I am guilty of praying but not truly releasing my burdens to the Lord. On the one hand, Jesus talked about the importance of continuing in prayer, of being importunate, as the King James Version puts it.
On the other hand, we need to pray in faith, believing that we have the requests we ask of Him. It's a balance, but I want to learn to trust even as I pray that God is hearing and answering.
And the answers to prayer for Operation Christmas Child just keep coming lately. I am blown away by God's goodness. For a few years I've been praying off and one for a larger church in our area, McLane Church, to pack boxes again for OCC. Last year their college group did about 50 boxes but this year, because one of our team members gave them a call, they decided to spontaneously distribute boxes at their service on November 7th. Pat Carter, the team member who originally contacted them, gave them 262 boxes. Rose Dobson, another member of our team, checked in at the church after the 9:00 service on the 7th and found all the boxes had been taken so she gave them 100 more. Those were all taken also. This is a direct answer to those of us who were praying for those boxes to be distributed FAST. Now people are using their own boxes and they're thinking they may collect close to 600!
We've been praying consistently all year long for God to give us 30,333 boxes from Northwestern PA. We couldn't see where they would come from but now He's starting to reveal it to us. On November 2nd we distributed boxes at Chick-fil-A. The deal was that anyone who brought in a filled box on November 9th would get a free chicken sandwich. I was disappointed on November 2nd when we only gave out 30 boxes but then I was elated on November 9th when God gave us a harvest of 100 boxes AND a spot on three news shows. Only You, God!
Though it's out of our area, God allowed me to hear of an Operation Christmas Child packing party organized by Christi Rupp, the wife of a player on the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, for wives and girlfriends of team members. They packed over 100 boxes on November 10th and in addition to blessing those children who will receive their boxes in big ways, they may also bring some added media attention to OCC.
Heather Rogers, our team's Church Relations Coordinator, works at Behrend College--the local branch of Penn State University. She said the other day in the cafeteria she saw a table set up where several campus organizations had banded together to collect items for Operation Christmas Child.
We're only 4 days away from the start of National Collection Week and I can't wait to see the harvest start rolling in. Those 30,333 boxes that have been objects of our prayer will now materialize and we'll see the evidence again of God's goodness.
I'm not worried.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
She took what she had and gave it to God, trusting Him to multiply it into more than she could imagine. Now she'll use the profits to finance the packing of gift-filled shoeboxes to bless needy children in other countries.
I'll try to post a picture later of the hand-drawn letter than accompanied the ornament I purchased. If you'd like to join in the project you can see my last blog posting for a link to her mom's blog.
If you want to learn more about Operarion Christmas Child, go to
I'm cheering for you, Amaya, and waiting expectantly to see what God's going to do through you next.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
There's nothing like having a big dream from God and then seeing Him do what only He can do. This week I had a special blessing in my Operation Christmas Child life. I was able to meet a new online friend--a six-year-old named Amaya who has one of those big dreams.
Amaya wants to pack more boxes for needy children through Operation Christmas Child and in order to finance that project she is creating and selling homemade Christmas ornaments. Her goal is to sell 100 and as of last night the count was at 72. Won't you invest just $5.00 (plus $1.50 shipping) and help her reach her goal?
click here to see Amaya's project
You can pay on her site via PayPal by clicking on the button, but if you don't have PayPal, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the address to mail in your payment. And when you hang Amaya's ornament on your tree this year you'll have a tangible reminder of how a mighty God can take our small dreams and use them for His glory.
Oh, by the way, Amaya's original goal was to raise $10,000 for Operation Christmas Child. I would love to see God do that just because He can.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Check out this boy from Uganda and the joy he gets from his Operation Christmas Child shoebox BEFORE he even opens it. No wonder I love this ministry so much!
Things are really kicking into high gear as we're only 18 days away from National Collection Week--the time when we harvest all the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for the year. Life is busy and I wonder constantly if I'm doing the right things with my time.
God has provided great sales on summer clearance items over the past two weeks and I've amassed more than 1100 pieces of clothing for next year's boxes as well as a lot of summer toys. It takes a lot of time to buy it and record it and store it all and I worry that that's taking too much time away from the things I'm supposed to be doing as Area Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child here in Northwestern PA.
This week God blessed us with an application for a prospective team member and now I need to call her and begin the interview process. We don't have any members on our team to take care of media so I have a lot of press releases to send out also. And I need to contact our collection center coordinator in Erie to see about getting training done for our new relay centers.
The most fun part of this season of the Operation Christmas Child year, though, is seeing God answering prayer right and left and up and down. Last weekend our Area Coordinators from the five states in the Mid-Atlantic Region all submitted prayer requests for events happening in our areas over the weekend. What a joy it's been this week to hear of all God's doing all around. There's nothing I'd rather be doing.
And as I wonder if I'm doing enough to promote Operation Christmas Child, I wonder what could ever be enough. If we could reach 99% of the children around the world, that would be pretty amazing. But I've been thinking how even an amazing 99% wouldn't be enough.
99% wasn't enough for Jesus who told of a shepherd who would leave 99 sheep to go and find that ONE who was lost. Jesus Himself is that good shepherd and He calls us to follow Him to find even ONE.
So no matter how large the ministry of Operation Christmas Child becomes, as long as there is ONE child left on earth who doesn't personally know God's love our work cannot be done.
As hard and tiring and sometimes frustrating as it can be, we need to get into that 'easy yoke' with Jesus and keep on looking for ONE MORE box for ONE MORE child.
Even 99% is not enough.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I am so amazed by all God is doing here for Operation Christmas Child in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Two years ago in 2008 we had a total of 15,015 boxes from our three counties at the end of National Collection Week. This year, we have just about that many packed already and collection week hasn't even begun. This is a blessing we never anticipated--a multiplication mystery we can't explain.
We're also learning that God's answers to prayer come in His time, not ours. In 2009 one of our ministry goals was to make contact with the Boy Scout and Girl Scout councils in our area to inform them about Operation Christmas Child. Though we prayed for this last year, we never saw it happen. This year, however, our new prayer team member, Priscila Mirone, is involved with the local Girl Scout council and presented the program to them. We had about 100 Girl Scouts come out to help at the packing party and some of them are now packing boxes in their own troops.
Our new community relations team member, Tracey Berger, is involved with the Boy Scouts. Two days ago she went to their local council and asked if it would be possible to distribute information about Operation Christmas Child to all the local troops. They told her it would have to be approved at a meeting which wouldn't be held until the beginning of November--too late for them to get involved before National Collection Week. Well, God had other plans and by His grace the Boy Scout council sent out an e-mail yesterday to all troop leaders encouraging them to get involved in Operation Christmas Child. Now we're praying that God will multiply this opportunity and bring in many more 'gospel opportunities'.
I think of all the children around the world who are waiting for shoeboxes and pray that God will move multiple people to pack boxes and multiply our harvest beyond 8.5 million this year.
I can't wait for the miracle.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Meanwhile, God's using the packing party in ways I didn't expect. Yesterday I had a phone call from Jeannie in Colorado. I've never met her but she saw the video of the packing party and looked up my number online. Jeannie's sweet daughter Aubry drowned in 2009 when she was 3 & 1/2 years old. In her memory Jeannie is planning a shoebox packing party on November 18th (Aubry's birthday) and wondered if I had any ideas for her. I really didn't--except to say that God provides for every person in different ways. We were able to pray together and I KNOW God has great plans for the boxes she'll pack in Aubry's name.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
On Tuesday I made my first major purchase for next year's Operation Christmas Child giant packing party. I bought 12,000 small tubes of toothpaste and 12,000 toothbrushes just like the ones shown above. I figured I needed to get them while they were still available from the warehouse dealer in my town who offered to sell them to me.
Last night I had a casual meeting at Panera Bread with Heather Rogers, Elizabeth Randolph and Kristin Hesch from the OCC Area Team to debrief about this year's packing party. I reminisced with Heather and Elizabeth, who've been working with me on OCC since 2004, about those first meetings of our Wesley Church OCC team then and how we worked all year to pack 1,780 boxes. This year we did more than 7 times that many (such a perfect number). It's probably a good thing God didn't reveal to us then how far He would take the project or we'd likely have been terrified. He is so gracious to lead us step by step.
We talked about some of the things we need to do to improve the packing party for next year--having assigned supervisors for areas of responsibility; designating key volunteers in advance and having a training session; developing a video that we can show on a loop to orient new guests about how to pack boxes. But even as we talked about needed changes I couldn't get over how amazingly well God blessed us that day despite our lack of human planning and preparation.
While we want to make things better for next year, we always face the unknown because every year brings different challenges. For example, we don't know now what kind of boxes we can get for next year so it's hard to plan for labels and how to pack the cartons more efficiently. We don't know how many items God will bless us with and how many boxes we'll be able to fill.
I never want to come to the point where I think I have everything planned adequately in advance. I want to always be in a place of dependence upon God to make it happen. I don't want to see what we as humans can accomplish. I want to see God do what only He can do and stand in amazement.
Last night I interviewed a new relay center coordinator for our team and today I will interview another. We prayed for three new relay centers this year and God provided them through prayer alone. He gave the contacts in wonderful ways and our Operation Christmas Child collection network in Northwestern PA is growing because of His goodness and provision.
So what am I planning for next year? I'm planning ahead to see God show up and amaze us again.
What a plan!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
If you want to know more details about the Operation Christmas Child giant shoebox packing party, here's a link to an article on the Samaritan's Purse website. Valerie Davis did a great job of capturing the essence of that wonderful day.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
There are only two days left until the Giant Operation Christmas Child 10,000 shoebox packing party. It's really the last leg now. As a veteran of 5 marathons (years ago!) I realize that many runners divide the marathon into two halves. The first half is the first 20 miles and the second half is the last 6.2 miles. Now it would seem that after you've run the first 20 miles the last 6.2 would be easier. Not so.
There's a physiological reaction when your glycogen stores are depleted that runners call "hitting the wall" and it often happens at about 20 miles into the race. Your energy is gone, your body protests, and you can't imagine making it for another 6.2 miles. If you're like me in this Shoebox Race, you might feel like you're "hitting the wall".
What do you do when you come to that point in the race? One thing that always helped me was to take the rest of the race step by step. When I couldn't imagine running even one more mile, let alone 6.2 miles, I would concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. I would refuse to let myself walk. I would take one step at a time, and hold on to the next tenth of a mile. Then I'd do it again for the next tenth.
I need to do that step-by-step thing now. There are so many details to come together in just 2 days. Still don't know if the 3000 crayons will come in. We still don't know if or when we'll be getting any paper donated. I still have carloads of stuff to move from my old church. But if I can keep taking one step at a time there's a hope of making it.
The other thing that helped enormously is the encouragement of others. When someone comes up beside you and runs with you it makes a huge difference. When the crowd lining the course is cheering for you, there's a burst of energy that bubbles up and gives you renewed strength. We can cheer for each other and run alongside one another and, together, we'll get to the finish line.
On Tuesday night my husband and I drove to New Wilmington to pick up boxes from my fellow Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinators, Jim and Joline Urban. When we got there, eight members of Jim and Joline's team were there to help us load those boxes into our truck and minivan and with their sweat and ingenuity we were able to do a miracle and get 6000 boxes into our vehicles. I never thought it would happen! Their servant hearts and willing work are unrivaled.
I am so grateful for the prayers and encouragement I'm receiving this week. When God brings the victory at this packing party on Saturday it will be because all of you in places all around the country joined together with us here in Erie to make it happen.
Let's run the last leg together.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Today starts the big pre-packing-party-prep for our Operation Christmas Child 10,000 shoebox packing event on September 25th. A bunch of youth and adult volunteers unloaded the 40 ft. storage container next to the church today and moved all the boxes and bags inside. There's lots of organizing to be done this week but at least the first stage is completed.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Only 9 more days until our giant Operation Christmas Child packing party. We're praying God will send us close to 200 volunteers to make this project happen, but there will be many more volunteers around the country who won't be there in person on that day and will still be a huge part of it nonetheless. Over the past year I've received packages in the mail from Colorado and Iowa with donations of items.
In the past few days I've sensed God's peace in new ways and I know this comes as a result of prayer from my extended OCC family. My fellow volunteers in the Mid-Atlantic region have sent reassuring messages that they're praying for us.
One of the wisest pieces of advice came from Pam Hatchell, my sister in the Lord and Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinator in Northern VA / Wash. DC. Pam's facebook message said, "How can God handle the details if you won't let go of them?" So I'm trying to let go.
Last night we had our Northwestern PA OCC Area Team meeting. There were only 5 of us there but I was able to share some of the burden of decisions and also recruited some volunteers to bag soap over the next 9 days.
I've said this before, but a few years ago when I headed an OCC team only at my church it was so much easier. We all saw each other at church each week and I felt like I had lots of people to help with decisions and the work load. Now it's harder to get help with the day-to-day tasks and decision making. The packing party isn't really an Area Team event totally and it isn't a Grace Church event totally. I often feel like I'm stuck in the middle by myself.
But yesterday God blessed me with a wonderful meeting with Mike Watson, a pastor at Grace Church, who assured me everything will work out fine in 9 days (yes, 9 days). And I know it will because our God of the Details has His "to do list" all set. He knows the soap that has to be bagged and the 3,000 boxes of crayons that need to come in at Wal-Mart and the 10,000 pads of paper that need to be delivered and the 5,000 boxes that need to be hauled from Jim Urban's area (an hour's drive away). He knows and He cares.
God's care for the details was evident yesterday. A week ago I ordered OCC Prayer Bracelets and wanted them to arrive in time for the packing party. The shipping date, however, was September 27th. I've been praying they'd arrive by the 25th and yesterday afternoon as I sat at my computer typing that out as a prayer request on my meeting agenda there was a knock at the door. It was a delivery and in the package were the prayer bracelets.
He knows about the details and He is on the move.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I think about things like tape discpensers and rolls of Scotch tape and signage and rubber bands. I think about moving hundreds of thousands of items out of our 40 foot storage container and into the church.
I think about all the items still stored and my old church and wonder if they should all be moved or whether we'll just have to cart them back across town unused. I try to add all the items I've purchased and those donated and get some idea of whether we'll run short on certain things.
I think about whether we'll have enough volunteers or too many. How will we accomplish our goal of using this event as a springboard to get more churches involved. Can we schedule a meeting that day to talk with prospective project leaders? When? How?
How can we efficiently stage the event so that we can get items onto the tables quickly as they run low? You'd think I would have figured this out after doing a packing party last year but we're doubling the numbers this year so we have twice the amount of items to manage.
I checked the shipping of cartons and the truck arrangements with the folks in Boone and everything seems set on their end.
So, God of all details, who created everything to minute specifications, will you take over these details that threaten to overwhelm me. Impress upon me those that need to be considered and removed from my mind the ones that You've already worked out.
And in 16 days I'll know that, once again, it was Only You who could have made it happen.
Monday, August 30, 2010
A local service organization was interested in packing gift-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and set a goal of packing 50 at their meeting at the end of the month. But then they realized that Jesus is literally at the center of the program. As Franklin Graham said at last year's media events, the project is Operation CHRISTmas Child.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I've concentrated a lot over the past few years on asking God to help me get OUT of the boat and walk to Him on the water as He calls me--to not be afraid to follow where He leads. But yesterday's sermon based on Jesus' calling of Peter, James and John in Luke 5 made me realize that sometimes I need to get INTO the boat.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
While I was running this morning I had some pretty convicting thoughts. Last night we had our monthly Operation Christmas Child Area Team meeting. We spent some time praising God for all He's done for and in our team since last November. Then we looked at our ministry plan--our goals for the year--to evaluate how we're doing.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Coming into the final session of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit and hoping T.D. Jakes will give more insight on developing combustible passion for Operation Christmas Child.
At Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit this afternoon listening to an interview with Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, by Bill Hybels. Hoping to get some tips for leading with Operation Christmas Child.
Daniel Pink comes to talk to us at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit about human motivation. What motivates people to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? Hoping to find out how to motivate more.
I'm sitting at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit via satellite and God just used a session called The Land Between to touch my heart and remind me that I need to evict complaining from my life and ministry with Operation Christmas Child and replace it with trust.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Some days the shoebox work for Operation Christmas Child can seem almost like digging ditches. There's a lot of manual labor involved and we joke that we do 'shoebox workouts' as we haul loads of items and sort and stack them into our storage facility. Twice in the past week I loaded 63 cartons of crayons (3024 boxes) into my car at Wal-Mart and then unloaded them again. Today I spent four hours in a hot storage container sorting cartons full of shirts into the proper age and gender groups.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I want to learn to truly trust God. Instead of being amazed when God answers prayer, I want to have a grateful nonchalance born of absolute faith that God will keep His word.
Friday, July 23, 2010
The other day I was thinking back to the year 2000 and I commented to my husband, "Do you remember how ten years ago I used to lie in the hammock all summer and read books?" He chuckled and nodded, sharing the memory.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Alexis is seven years old and she loves Operation Christmas Child. She's the grandchild of our pastor, Al Detter, and his wife Marie and last year she worked like a trooper to bag candy for our gift-filled boxes. She was also an enthusiastic volunteer at our huge shoebox packing party and, with her grandmother, she carefully chose the items to fill six boxes of her own.