Thursday, October 7, 2010

Planning Ahead

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!

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