Thursday, May 27, 2010

God is Devising Ways

This week I read a verse in 2 Samuel 14:14 that I love. "Like water spilled on the ground which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him."

I love to think about God devising ways to bring His lost children back to Himself and as I meditated on this verse I realized that Operation Christmas Child is one of those ways. God is using these seemingly simple gift-filled shoeboxes to bring eternal hope to millions of children and adults in more than 100 countries around the world every year.

And as part of that plan, He's devising ways for us here in Northwestern PA to send more of those 'gospel opportunities'. Last weekend before I left for yard sales I asked God to bless me with 300 stuffed animals; instead He granted me 390.

In the last two weeks I received two more applications from persons who feel God is calling them to join our OCC team. This is a huge answer to prayer.

Every week brings new revelations of God's plan--like socks on sale for 25 cents a pair at Target and trigger-powered flashlights on sale at the K-Mart that's going out of business. God knows how He will provide every item to pack into our 12,000 boxes this year. And God knows who He will move to donate the rest of the boxes to meet the goal of 30,333 we're praying for in our area.

I need to remember that especially tonight. I just found out that we cannot use the pre-printed OCC 'deco boxes' for the 12,000 boxes we're praying to pack for special countries. I have 5,000 plain boxes so I need to trust God for about 7,000 more. I'm glad I found out in May instead of August but I wish I'd known this in January. But, by God's grace, He's reminding me that this isn't a surprise to Him and that He has a plan devised for this, too.

We'll keep trusting and praying and waiting as God devises His ways to reconcile people to Himself. What joy!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Last Thursday my husband Jim and a dear servant of Christ named Bob Boynton drove from Erie to Hagerstown, MD to pick up a truckload of boxes to be used for Operation Christmas Child. Including all the loading and unloading it took 15 hours and 71 gallons of gas to pick up 10,080 boxes. Half of the boxes they dropped off to Jim Urban's North Pittsburgh OCC team. This is a picture of my husband with the boxes in the truck.

This was a great blessing and so I should be still floating on air. But instead I'm loaded with yucky feelings. I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to reorganize bags of clothing and take a few loads to the storage container. Things I'd already counted and packed into bags now needed to be taken out and put into boxes so they won't get crushed when piled in the container. Last year at this time I was breaking down lots of cardboard cartons every week as I was picking up shoeboxes at TJ Maxx. Now, when I need them, I don't have any cartons.

I'm trying to figure out how to load stuff into the container. Are there things I'll need before the packing party? One of our goals is to have some smaller packing parties in the community but nothing's set yet. Not packing boxes throughout the year this year is throwing me for a loop. Instead of spending time packing, I'm spending time wondering how it'll all work out.

I feel like I just can't get the help I need. I need to find someone to take over as project leader at Grace Church and to help with the major packing party. I don't feel as though I have anyone to share in these decisions about how to store things and what to buy and when.

I've given applications to several people who expressed interest in being on our area team, but none of them have been returned. Over a month ago I sent out applications (at the request of my regional manager) to last year's relay center coordinators who are out of my area and had somehow missed being taken through the application process. None of them have been returned either. These are the things I think about when I try to sleep at night.

Satan is beguiling me with his whispers that say, "You're all alone in this. No one wants to help you. No one really cares. You might as well quit. No one would notice anyway." Those lies are all a load of, well--you know what. But the sad thing is that I'm hearing him.