Sunday, May 27, 2012


This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day--an important day to remember those who gave their lives so we can enjoy freedom.  But today I want to expand that idea of remembering and spend some time remembering how God has blessed our Operation Christmas Child project through the years.

In the Old Testament the Israelites were often commanded to "remember."  They even set up piles of memorial stones so they could explain to their children how they were to help them remember the goodness of God.

Back in 1993 God brought the Operation Christmas Child project to the US when, in just a few weeks, 28,000 boxes were collected.  This year--2012--will be the 20th collection season for OCC and we're praying for a goal of 9.1 million boxes this year.  Now that's a LOT of growth.

Personally, I first heard about the project in 1995 and packed 3 boxes that year. The next year I packed 5 (a pretty incredible 66% increase--lol) and then in 1997 decided to collect items all year with a goal of packing 40 boxes.  God provided enough for 80 boxes instead.

Since then I've watched God grow this project year by year.  If you'd told me back then that in 15 years I'd be working with a team to plan to pack 20,000 boxes in one weekend I would have been terrified.

But God is gracious and He's led us step by step from tens to hundreds to thousands of boxes.  And all along the way I remember the trail of miracles.

In 2000 we'd packed 240 boxes and thought we were finished.  Then, through an amazing series of events, God provided enough items for 60 more boxes within one week to give us a perfect 300.

A few years later I got a great deal on a couple hundred soccer balls for our boxes but couldn't find inexpensive balls pumps to pack with them.  I had everyone I knew praying for ball pumps and God ended up connecting me with an online seller who donated all of them just when we needed them.

And in recent years the miracles have only accelerated.  In 2009 I was attending a new church and casually offered the idea of a community-wide packing party to the pastor in a Facebook message.  Within two months God worked out all the details for 5,577 to be packed in the first packing party.  You can read about it here.

I didn't think anything could top that packing party and when we planned one in 2010 I worried that I wouldn't have the same excitement at seeing God do what only He can do.  Of course, I should have known God would once again go beyond what we could imagine as He took us beyond the goal of 10,000 and let us pack 12,670 (click here to read the whole story)

And then came last September where God opened the heavens again and gave us 16,145 boxes in under 8 hours (click here for details).

So now as we pray for a goal of 20,000 boxes and as I wait on God for 15,000 more stuffed animals, 37,000 pencils, 285 reams of paper, 13,000 pens, 6366 (24/pack) crayons, 20,000 soap bars, 17,000 toothpaste, 7,000 toothbrushes, and tons of filler items--

I'm taking some time to look back on all God has done.  On this Memorial Day weekend I'm sitting in front of those memorial stones and gazing in awe at just those tiny glimpses of a God who is greater than I can begin to understand and who can do anything, and....

I'm remembering.

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