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.