Sunday, July 1, 2012

"By Faith" Goals

In our Mid-Atlantic region the Operation Christmas Child area coordinators have been praying for God to do some things in our area teams "by faith" by June 30th.  Well, some of the requests are more long-range than that, but I've enjoyed praying for these specifics and can't wait to hear how God has been answering.

For our area, the team prayed for the past month for three goals by June 30th--
1)  two new team members
2)  one new relay center (shoebox drop-off site)
3)  5,000 more stuffed animals

Yesterday, of course, was June 30th.  I went into the day knowing we needed 707 more stuffed animals to get to that goal and I prayed that God would lead me and the other safari-hunters step-by-step to each animal.   It was a joy to see Him do just that.

For example, because my regular barber wasn't available to cut my hair on Friday, his niece filled in.  While cutting my hair we discussed the need for stuffed animals and she offered to donate her collection of new Beanie Babies.  

On Saturday I was excited to see a small article in the editorial section of our local newspaper telling of our need for stuffed animals.  But I didn't get the call I wanted--someone offering me their collection--and things started slowly as I moved around the city from sale to sale adding a few to my total at each place.

 That afternoon I ran into Ruth, an acquaintance who I see at many sales.  She knows I'm on the hunt for animals and asked me how close to the goal we were.  I told her at that point we were probably still a few hundred short.  She said she'd seen the article in the paper and I said, "Well, it only will take one person willing to give up their collection of 400 Beanies."

"I could be that person," she said.  She went on to say she had a collection but was praying and struggling about whether she should donate it.

Several hours later I had my reports from all the other safari hunters on the team and with all animals sorted and counted we were still short.  Just then the phone rang.  It was Ruth.  "How are you doing with your goal?" she asked.  "Well, we're still 155 short," I answered.  She replied, "Not anymore!" and told me she was ready to bring me her collection of 320 mint Beanie Babies.

Last night I sat at my computer rejoicing about the way God gave us 5,000 stuffed animals in just four weekends.  I was excited about the great new prayer team member He provided a week ago, too.

But I thought about how we fell short on getting that second team member and the relay center we were praying for.  As it neared midnight I started doing a Google search about time zones to see how many hours it would still be June 30th somewhere in the world (the answer was 6 more hours).

I believe God always answers prayer.  So when it came to that other team member and the relay center....did He answer "Wait," or was He saying, "You should have been obedient and made a few more phone calls?"

Just past midnight I clicked back to my e-mail and found a new message that came in at 12:01 a.m. on July 1st (but, hey, it was still June 30th in most of the United States.)  It was from a prospective team member and contained her completed application.  Another answer to prayer.

God sure has a sense of humor.

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