It's been a whirlwind couple of days in my Operation Christmas Child life. Yesterday we were blessed to have two packing parties. In each case God answered prayer and made them "immeasurably more" than we could imagine.
By 9:30 in the morning team members Pam and Terri and I had hauled everything out of my van and were set up to pack boxes with a group of beautiful women at the Erie City Mission. We ended up completing 74 of them. My favorite memory was watching a woman who at first didn't seem to want to participate end up creating a well-packed box. When I gushed over it, she beamed. I loved seeing her face light up like that. Two women even took church kits home with a promise to try to get their churches involved.
Mission accomplished, we loaded the boxes and the leftovers into my van. Terri headed to work while Pam and I grabbed a quick lunch and then drove to the storage container to stow the finished boxes and restock my minivan for the evening packing party.
A few hours later Cindy and Heather arrived at my house for the drive to Camp Judson. What an amazing time we had there with 4th-6th grade campers and their incredible counselors and staff. All the staff pitched in and made the evening a joy as we packed 94 boxes together.
The kids really took their time choosing just the right stuffed animal and fillers for their boxes and even wrote letters to the shoebox recipients. We prayed over those boxes and I have no doubt that God will use them to do great things.
We topped off the evening with ice cream before we headed home.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Cindy brought with her a trunk full of stuffed animals collected over the past weeks by her sister in New York.
So this morning started with sorting those 417 stuffed animals. In the middle of that I got a call from a manager at Dollar General and headed there to pick up some unexpected donations. Home again, I loaded the car and took off for the storage container to stow last evening's completed boxes and the leftover items.
I drove home and got ready to head to Chick-fil-A where Pam and I joined Santa Cow in welcoming children who were bringing us donations of stuffed animals.
It was so heartwarming to see the kids who struggled to give up a few precious animals finally make that hard choice. In my experience, donating stuffed animals is a real sacrifice for most kids and it was a great learning experience. Getting a coupon for a free kids' meal from our generous friends at Chick-fil-A helped ease their pain. We collected 123 stuffed animals and some small toys and school supplies also.
Those bags are waiting for the sorting process to start tomorrow...
When I'll return to managing our blessings.
ps--I just got an e-mail from a prospective team member tonight and set up a meeting for Thursday evening. More blessing!