Sunday, April 29, 2012
I love this quote from Billy Graham because it's clear from his life that while he felt he was just watching what God was doing, Mr. Graham was also clearly obedient to what God was asking him to do as well.
As I depend on God for this Operation Christmas Child journey I feel that tension between trust and obedience. I fully know this is God's work but at the same time I don't want to miss participating in His work by not being obedient to His calling.
Case in point: the Stuffed Animal Saga. I've been reminding myself of how God's provided in the past. Last year at this time I was asking God to provide enough items for 15,000 boxes and, instead, He provided for 17,777.
So this year we're asking for enough to fill 20,000 but for some reason lately the number seems so big. As the risk of sounding like the 10 spies who were afraid to conquer the Promised Land, I find myself doing the math and realizing God would need to provide 786 stuffed animals every single week between now and September 29th to bring us to our goal.
Am I missing doing something He wants me to do? Should I be making more contacts with schools who could collect stuffed animals? I don't know. But in the meantime I'm going to keep doing what I know I can do each day.
I'll keep receiving donations and sorting them and hauling them. And I'll keep praying. And I'll keep remembering God's faithfulness.
I'm going to keep watching Him do what only He can do.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Sometimes my Operation Christmas Child life finds me doing the strangest things. I spent almost a full day of my spring break sorting, folding, and organizing used trash bags.
I know. Weird.
These bags were left over from last year's large community-wide OCC packing party. They were used to hold stuffed animals that were separated into groups of 100 per Force Flex trash bag with a pink label attached for girls and a blue label attached for those suitable for boys or either gender.
At the end of the packing party they were stuffed into bins and there I was, 6 months later, finally folding and organizing them so they can be reused.
I figured out that buying all new ones would cost more than $75.00--money better spent on buying soap and toothpaste--so it's worth recycling them. Some of them had small tears but nothing that a strip of tape wouldn't fix.
As I folded them I prayed over them, asking God to fill them up with all the huggable toys we need by September 29th.
We have about 27 bags full (2700) in the Ark (storage container) already so we're only trusting God for 17,300 more.
Right now I'm working on a memory verse for a class at church--John 16:24 "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
I'm asking, Lord.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
There's been some debate lately on the Operation Christmas Child discussion boards about what makes a good Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. As I think more about this, I realize that what is treasured by one child might not be valued so much by another. I know this from giving gifts to my own children. If a little boy really desires a Hot Wheels car, then an expensive watch won't turn his head.
My friend and fellow-OCC Area Coordinator, Jaimie Lindley, had the privilege of distributing shoeboxes recently in the Dominican Republic and she told me about the boy and his mother pictured above. The mother was helping in children's ministry at the church where the boxes were given out that day and when her son ran to her yelling "Mama, Mama!" and showing her his box, she burst into tears.
Jaimie was watching and asked an interpreter to talk with the mother to get the story. The interpreter explained to Jaimie that the son had been praying for only one thing in his shoebox--a baseball glove. And, as you can see from the picture, that is just what he received--the desire of his heart and the answer to his prayers.
A bit later, on the bus with her team, Jaimie told the story and her husband piped up and said, "That's not the end of the story. I was there when he opened his box and all his friends also got gloves and balls in their boxes." So, Jaimie explains, God gave that boy not only a ball and glove--He gave him a whole team! Only our loving God can know what each child who will receive a box needs and desires and as we pray and fill them in the best way we can, He can use these gifts to meet those needs.
The interesting thing is that at the OCC Connect Conference in the Philadelphia area I was in a conversation with another OCC volunteer about what makes a good shoebox. The volunteer said, "Sometimes people just don't pack very good boxes. I went to work at the processing center in Charlotte and one day I inspected this box and all it had in it was a baseball glove and a ball." She shook her head and clucked her tongue.
And I said, "Umm, let me tell you a story..."
Monday, April 9, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
It's a day of waiting, and I wonder how the followers of Christ felt as they waited on that day hundreds of years ago.
I'm in a waiting place, too, in my Operation Christmas Child life. I'm waiting in what Mannion called "The Land Between"--that place of prayer and longing--knowing God will provide but not having sight of it yet.
Today I sorted 80 stuffed animals I purchased at a rummage sale and over 300 more that were donated but still I wait on God to provide more than 17,000 more. I'm waiting for toothpaste and soap and crayons and paper and nice filler toys.
I'm waiting for my Operation Christmas Child area team to become fully functioning according to the High Impact Model. I'm waiting for God to bring the volunteers He is calling to this ministry in Northwestern PA and I'm waiting for them to say "yes" to the call.
You can see from the 'Chip In' widget at the top of the page that God has done great things for our collection for baby formula and bottles for needy babies in Haiti. But I want to close this account tomorrow and I'm waiting for a few more hundred dollars to get to the goal.
If you want to help, you can click on the link above to donate to my PayPal acccount or you can click here to go to the One Mission Society site to donate via credit card or for info on writing a check. If you do this, be sure to put a memo on your donation that is is for OMS--Bethesda Medical Clinic in Haiti and specify it is for baby formula and bottles.
I have faith that Sunday's coming but right now it's Saturday,,,
and I'm waiting.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
As I stated in my last post, waiting is, I think, the hardest thing to do in life. This morning I'm waiting again. Yesterday afternoon my friend Dr. Meg Chilcott who is in Haiti volunteering at a clinic sent some pictures on Facebook that broke my heart. These pictures showed babies who are starving because their mothers have been unable to breastfeed them and have been giving them cow's milk.
They are in a crisis situation and need formula but the clinic's funds to buy formula have run out. Meg has used up all her own resources and God has been leading a young woman named Cora to launch a drive to collect money for this. Yesterday when several of us shared Meg's pictures on Facebook there was an immediate outpouring of desire to help. The problem is that we don't have a system in place to collect those funds.
So we wait.
I called OMS (One Mission Society) the parent organization for the clinic in Haiti but I'm waiting for a call back from the CFO there. I want to figure out how to get the funds there as soon as possible so the clinic staff can arrange to make a trip to the Dominican Republic where they can save on formula and bottles. But they need $1000 to buy enough to make the trip worthwhile.
So this morning I'm sitting on the floor in my living room waiting for a phone call while babies in Haiti are waiting for life-giving formula.
The new front door my husband installed last summer has some prisms of glass in it that cast small rainbows on my carpet and I put my hand into them and think of that sign of God's promise.
Noah had an advanced degree in waiting. He waited for years and faithfully built an ark while being derided by his neighbors. Then he followed God's plans perfectly and waited for the rain to start. Then he waited while the flood came and waited for the rain to subside.
Finally he got to come into the light and God gave him that rainbow--the sign of the promise.
I have the rainbow but I'm still waiting.
I want to have patience but why does it take so long?