Monday, June 30, 2014

From "Where Is It?" to "Where Do We Put It?"

A few weeks ago I was thinking about our paper supply for the upcoming Operation Christmas Child packing party.  We received a wonderful donation last winter and all of that paper is stapled into packets and stashed in the back of the container.

I knew, though, that we still needed about 10 more cases (100 reams) of paper.  I didn't pray specifically about this need but God still met our need.

I got a message a few days ago that McCarty Printing, the donors of the last load of paper, had another donation to make.  So tonight Chuck and Lorelei Millet--sweet servants of God--brought the donation loaded in their truck.  Chuck pulled it off the truck and Lorelei and I carried and stacked it into the container.

We didn't get the 100 reams I estimated we needed.  Instead, we got 295 reams! Before they left, we stood and prayed together that God will prepare the hearts of the children who are going to receive this paper to give their lives to Jesus.

As long as I was driving to the container I took my second carload of flip-flops to store there.  This flip-flop story deserves a post of its own so I'll leave the full story for another day.

The bottom line, though, is we now have a wall of the storage container filled with 20 plastic totes containing 1,576 pairs of flip-flops.  Praise God!

Funny thing -- 6 weeks ago we had very little in our storage container and I was praying fervently for a breakthrough.

Tonight I stood in that same container and wondered where I will put the soap I plan to order next.  The space is shrinking at a fast pace.

Ah...from "Where is it?" to "Where do we put it?"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Filling Up

It's hard to believe I haven't blogged for two weeks.  They've been crazy weeks. June 13th was my last day of work as a school nurse.  There were retirement parties and end-of-school tasks and then last weekend all my daughters came home so we could host a bridal shower for my youngest.

Still, I am amazed at how God has been working to fill our storage container with items for our Operation Christmas Child packing party.  On May 13th I noted on this blog that we had only 646 major anchor items for the 23,000 boxes we are praying to pack.

In the past five weeks God has opened doors for the purchase of water bottles  and hats and flip-flops and T-shirts--enough to bring our new total to 14,900 major items.

Today we got a shipment of 3500 nice kids' baseball hats.  I only ordered them last Thursday and had no idea they'd even been shipped.  The trucking company was supposed to call to arrange delivery but...

imagine my surprise when the church admin at the church we attend called me this morning to tell me there was a large delivery there in the church office.

By God's grace my husband and a friend of his were here and were able to drive to the church and move the cartons to the storage container.  I'm not sure I could have handled that on my own this morning.

So it didn't go the way I'd planned but the container is filling up.

Next I need to try to recruit a team to plan the packing party and get a meeting set up.  I'm still not sure how this packing party is going to happen, but I believe it will.

Just keep filling us up, Lord.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Moving The Wall

For weeks our Operation Christmas Child prayer team has been praying for a breakthrough--for God to provide a large quantity of a good anchor item for our boxes.

God blessed us with an answer to those prayers last week when I found some good, high-quality sport bottles for just .25 each.  Please don't ask me where I found them, because I promptly bought them all.

I wondered whether the order would actually be fulfilled because I never got confirmation e-mails on the orders and the company never called me to arrange shipping.

I've asked a team of people to pray about this and God answered again today.

Imagine my husband's surprise when he pulled into the driveway this afternoon and saw the above sight in front of the garage--63 large cartons left by the UPS delivery truck.  My neighbor confirms that all 63 of them came out of one normal-sized brown UPS truck!

I was delighted with these answers to prayer but they posed another dilemma.  Rain was in the forecast and these cartons had to be transported to the storage container at our church--over 6 miles away from my house.  My husband was leaving to play in his golf league so at 4:30 pm he helped me pack the first load of cartons into my minivan before he left.  He was able to get 13 in the van.

Once loaded, I was off on the 6.2 mile drive.  I hit another snag when there turned out to be road work going on as I neared the church that forced me to sit and wait as minutes ticked by.  By God's grace, He moved me to use that time to pray for the children who will received these water bottles.

I got the storage container open--always a chore--and began hauling the cartons.  I had to move and rearrange a number of boxes already stashed.  One blessing, though, is that I was able to stand on the lower cartons to lift bags of stuffed animals onto the top row of cartons to use all the container space.

I finished that load and headed back home for another one (waiting for the road work again)--loaded the car again--and headed out.

(Just repeat the above sentence X 3)

Off and on the skies were gray and threatening rain.  I'd asked Pam, my OCC Media Coordinator, and my OCC Regional Director, Leigh Fisher (who happened to call during the initial loading) to pray that the weather would hold. And, praise God, it did.

I was delighted to see that storage container filling up at last.

By 8:30 pm I was home and the wall was moved--with 52 of the cartons stored in the container and the other 11 stored in my home for another trip on Wednesday.

God is good, as always, and I hope He keeps me in good graces with the UPS guy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

SMURT goals or SMIRT Goals

I've been watching and listening to DVDs of the Operation Christmas Child Connect Conference from a few months ago.  As I consider the rapid growth of shoe box numbers in the past few years, I think maybe they should reconsider the high impact acronym for goal-setting.

We've been taught to set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) but I propose that God might be asking us to change that.

Maybe we should make them SMURT with a"U" for 'unattainable'--those goals that we know only God can accomplish.

Or, maybe they should be SMIRT with an "I" for 'immeasurable'.  No, wait--that would make them measurable AND immeasurable.

Well, whatever the acronym, can we just agree that God has bigger things planned than we can imagine or ATTAIN in our own power?