(singing) On the eighth day of National Collection Week the good Lord gave to me eight bitten nails, seven volunteers, six relay centers, FIVE ANSWERED PRAYERS, four carton pallets, three wide rolls of tape, more than two full trucks, and another great collection victory.
This is by far my favorite day of the year--the final day of Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week. Hundreds of times--even thousands of times-- I prayed this year the same prayer, "God, please give us 40,000 boxes from Northwestern PA."
Our team prayed. We recruited. We prayed. We met. We prayed. We worked. We prayed. We went on safaris for stuffed animals. We prayed. We spoke at churches. We prayed. We gave out brochures. And.......we prayed.
And after all those days and weeks and months, today it came together in boxes full of cartons filled with precious gift-filled shoeboxes, aka Gospel Opportunities.
I spent the day doing heights and weights and vision testing on 40 kindergarten students. I don't know who was more antsy--me or the kids. None of us could contain ourselves. Believe me, it's not easy to keep five-year-old kids focused on identifying tiny squares and circles and apples and houses when all you want to do is call your relay centers and FIND OUT WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE.
Finally, at 3:30 I got the totals.
And my socks flew off.
It was hard to contain myself as I headed to the local Chick-fil-A in Erie where Casey, the owner, and Tina, the marketing director, had graciously arranged to feed our team dinner for the "big reveal".
After our terrific meal it was time to share the big news. So I handed out five folders--each containing one digit of our team total. Starting at the end of the number, we revealed the 5th digit (6), then the 4th digit (7), then the 3rd digit (3) and then---
We had the persons holding the folders with the 1st and 2nd digits reveal them simultaneously and the result was---
Praise God! I just keep playing Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons/Bless the Lord Oh My Soul" over and over.
Only in my version it's 40,376 reasons.