Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cinderella & The Stuffie Saga

When it comes to Operation Christmas Child, some things make me pray harder. Last week I found 25 pairs of these adorable little girls' patent leather dressy shoes for $1.00 a pair at Gabriels. There have to be 25 little Cinderellas out there just waiting for a pair of party shoes, so I'm praying that God will get each of them to just the right child.

The clothing count is progressing nicely but I'm starting to pray more diligently for stuffed animals. According to my count I've bought 1,436 this year so that means we need 10,564 more to put one in each of our boxes. Sometimes as I walk or run through my neighborhood I think of all the homes that must have unwanted stuffed animals just waiting to be adopted. I think of all the children I see every day who probably have dozens in neglected corners of their bedrooms. What joy they would bring to children who've never had a gift of their own.

God is answering prayer, though. This weekend's rummage sales and yard sales netted 261 more lovable stuffies. If I could just get 106 people to each commit to providing 100 stuffed animals we'd be all set. That shouldn't be so hard, right?

I'm putting Prince Charming to work on that right away.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Least of These

Near the end of His ministry Jesus told His followers that when He returns in His glory there will be a great separation of those who know Him and those who don't and somehow which group you're in will be reflected in how you treated others. The point is that how we treat others shows our love for Jesus--especially how we treat "the least of these".

In most of the world you can't get much lower than being a child. So to clothe a child in Jesus' name is like doing it for Jesus Himself. I'm again astounded at the ways God is providing clothing for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this year.

This weekend took me to several K-Mart stores where they offered their winter clearance clothing items for 99 cents each. God gave me quite a haul.

In 2008 at this time I had 1,528 clothing items and last year at this time I had 3,321 (more than twice as many.) But I added up the total this year and it's already 9,338 and when you add in the items that others have purchased for our packing party the total of clothing items must be well over 9,500. That's close to THREE TIMES as many as we had at this point last year.

Just picture thousands of children, each with a new shirt or shoes or pants or a hat given to let them know that God loves them.

What a blessing these will be to 'the least of these' from a God who loves to give. I am seeing once again God keeping the promise He makes in what have become my life verses in IICorinthians 9:10,11 "Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Feet

Today Toms Shoes is celebrating "One Day Without Shoes" and encouraging supporters to go barefoot as a means of raising awareness for the millions around the world who have no shoes to wear. Shoes are a great cause. Even in warm climates shoes protect feet from injury and from worms and other parasites. In some places children are not permitted to attend school unless they have proper footwear, so receiving a pair of shoes can be the means to an education.

I'm glad for this business/ministry that is willing to provide a new pair of shoes to be sent to a needy child somewhere in the world for every pair purchased on its website. The problem is that buying a pair of canvas shoes from their website costs $48.00.

On the other hand, last week I was able to buy 60 pairs of nice quality sandals on sale at Wal-Mart for 50 cents a pair. All together so far this year I've been able to buy 2,431 pairs of shoes and sandals to put into Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and none of them cost over $1.00 per pair. By owning only a few pairs of shoes myself that I buy at rock-bottom sale prices I can finance the purchase of a lot more shoes to distribute to needy children than I could if I bought shoes regularly from Tom's site.

Think what it would mean to kids around the world if all of us gave up buying one pair of shoes this year and used that money to buy at least one pair to put in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

We could make a lot of happy feet.

(to learn more about OCC go to You can search the website for 'Lejla Allison' to watch a video about a girl who learned about Jesus when she got a pair of white sneakers in her Operation Christmas Child shoebox in 1993.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nighttime Nudgings

Easter ended over an hour ago and I still can't sleep. In the hour before I went to bed I was reading over my journal entries from last summer and thinking of all the wondering I was doing then about how God would provide for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. The goal of 10,000 boxes seemed so far away a year ago, yet by the end of September, 2009 God had allowed us to pack 10,131 boxes and get them loaded on a truck for shipping.

This year I'm praying for 12,000 and knowing how God's provided in the past should make that easy to anticipate, right? But it's not. As always, every year seems different. By this time last year I'd already packed 1,256 boxes. This year I've packed none. Not one. Last year by this time I'd been picking up empty boxes at TJ Maxx and DSW Shoe Warehouse for weeks. This year I've picked up none. Not one. This concerns me because I'm not sure how God will provide 12,000 boxes for us. On the other hand I haven't had anywhere to store boxes.

Hopefully, a storage unit will arrive at Grace Church on Tuesday. So should I start collecting boxes now? I just don't know.

The one thing I do know is that God continues to provide items. I'm up to over 8,600 clothing items whereas last year at this time I had about 3,000. But once again the details that I'm in the dark about seem overwhelming.

As I read through last year's journal I saw the theme being repeated again. Nighttime wonderings and tossing and turning. Is this a lack of faith or a nudging to continued prayer and a ramped-up level of faith?

I think my faith muscles are being stretched and causing nighttime soul cramps that keep me from sleep. In eight months when I'm on the victory side it'll all seem so easy again.