Saturday, July 2, 2011

Operation Christmas Child Connecting--"I Do"

I spent the day today at one of the most enjoyable weddings I've been to in quite some time. Becky Marsh, our Operation Christmas Child Relay Center Coordinator in Corry, PA, married Jon Foster in a sweet and sacred ceremony in the guest-packed Faith Evangelical Church (our OCC relay center).

The thing is, a year ago I had never met Becky or Jon. At this time last year our team was praying for 3 new relay centers for our Operation Christmas Child area in Northwestern PA and we wanted one of them to be in Corry, PA. One night in August I was working on sending out a back-to-school press release to the Corry Journal and was trying to figure out who I could find in Corry to quote in the release. I stopped to pray and asked God to help me find someone in Corry who participated in the project.

Just then my computer beeped to signal an incoming e-mail and I checked to find that Heather Rogers, my OCC Church Relations Coordinator, had forwarded a message from Becky Marsh who was inquiring about having me come to speak about Operation Christmas Child at their mission conference at Faith Evangelical Church in Corry. I called Becky, and not only was she willing to be quoted for the press release, but when I asked if she thought her church might be willing to become an OCC relay center she said, "I do."

Within a month Becky had not only said, "I do" and signed on as the Relay Center Coordinator for Faith Evangelical Church but she'd also organized a group from her church to volunteer at our community-wide packing party on September 25th. She'd also arranged for me to speak at their mission conference on the evening after the packing party.

I met Becky for the first time at the packing party and had such a fabulous time sharing at her church that night and meeting her boyfriend, Jon. Standing around a fire behind the church that evening while still riding the high of all God did that day is something I won't soon forget.

Becky and I talked on the phone a few times over the next months and on the Friday of OCC's National Collection Week I went to visit Becky and Jon at their relay center. Sadly, by that time Jon's dad had been diagnosed with advanced cancer and was traveling to Erie for treatments. I and the whole rest of our OCC team continued to pray for him. Becky kept me updated on his condition with e-mails, but all too quickly Jon's Dad died. By God's grace he had given his life to the Lord before his death.

I was excited to see Becky and Jon's engagement announced on Facebook a few months later and sent them a card of congratulations from me and our OCC team. I was honored to be invited to their wedding and enjoyed having lunch with Becky a few weeks before the wedding date. I love her heart for missions and for the Lord and her desire to please Him in all she does.

So today, by God's grace, I watched Becky and Jon each say "I do" and pledge themselves to one another before God. I loved everything about their day and was especially enamored with the pint-sized ring bearer who held the pillow over his face as he walked down the aisle in his black Crocs with his black-belted pants hanging precariously low on his hips. Oh, and the food at the reception? If we're feasting in heaven, I bet it'll be just like that--homemade yeast rolls, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade broccoli salad and cookies and...well, homemade EVERYTHING.

And because Becky had said "I do" to God's call to serve with Operation Christmas Child I was blessed to be connected to her and share this amazing day.

What adventures can come in our lives from saying that short and meaningful promise, "I do."

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