Sunday, December 9, 2012
6.5 Million and Taxing
I've been watching with excitement to see the rising unofficial total of Operation Christmas Child boxes processed at the seven processing centers in the US.
We are well beyond last year's total but still nearly a quarter million boxes away from the 6.5 million goal we've been praying for.
I also realize that as our OCC project begins to wind down for a few weeks, the project is escalating for our international partners who work to train volunteers to distribute these precious boxes and facilitate The Greatest Journey discipleship program.
I often pray for the National Leadership Teams in these countries, and one of the things I pray about is that they will be granted tax exoneration for the shipping containers of boxes.
The need for those prayers came home to me this weekend in a new way.
We support a missionary who works in Haiti and has been trying to help a fledgling orphanage with 17 needy children. My missionary friend asked for Christmas gifts for the children, and it was fun to put together a box. I had some shoebox leftovers and made one small shopping trip to round out the box--not really investing a lot monetarily.
The shipping to Florida wasn't very expensive, either, but then the charges to have the box flown from Florida to Haiti via Missionary Flights International cost almost twice what it cost to ship it from Erie to Florida.
The kicker is that I was chagrined this weekend to learn that the missionary who received the package was charged $100 by Haitian tax collectors. This seems crazy to me.
My missionary friend explained to me, though, the difference in value of the items between the US and Haiti. She said she priced a cheap knock-off Barbie doll in Haiti and it would cost $30.00. Here in the US I could buy a nice brand name fashion doll on sale for about $6.00. No wonder that box looked so valuable by Haitian standards.
Seeing this play out made me realize again the struggles many of our National Leadership Teams go through as they try to get tax exoneration for shipping containers of shoeboxes.
Even as I keep praying God will grant our prayers for 6.5 million boxes in the US and 9.1 million worldwide, I'll also be praying that He will move on behalf of our National Leadership Teams to get these boxes through customs and released to be delivered.
What a taxing job!
Posted by Kathy Schriefer at 5:19 PM