Yesterday I was able to speak about Operation Christmas Child for the sermon time at two churches and then loaded about 200 boxes from the storage container into my minivan. I also packed my last 60 shoeboxes to bring the grand total for the year to 17,777 (such a perfect number).
Today I did hearing tests at school and fielded a few phone calls. After school I was excited to drop boxes off at the Erie Collection Center--my first official glimpse of Collection Week 2011--then headed off to Meadville and Conneaut Lake to visit relay centers there.
Cindy Woolstrum has served for years as the relay center coordinator in Meadville and it was great to see the cartons already lining the halls there and to lay hands on them and pray for them again. Ideally, every box should be prayed over at least several times before it makes it to its destination country.
Cindy Catlin relay center coordinator at our new relay site in Conneaut Lake and they'd already taken in 400 boxes in their FIRST HOUR of operation. Again, we prayed over those gospel opportunities.
The rain started when I left Conneaut Lake and came in driving sheets that made it nearly impossible to see, even with the wipers on their highest speed. I hunched over the wheel and drove through the darkness but I had a strange peace--the result of the prayers of my prayer team, I'm sure.
The rain kept up for the entire hour drive home but fifteen minutes into it I drove up on a truck and blessedly followed those taillights. And as I drove I thought about the results of passing through a storm. God seemed very near.
The storms of the past year in Operation Christmas Child leadership have given me a greater appreciation of not only God's nearness but of the imminent victories of National Collection Week.
Bring on those boxes!