Before I started this blog I had the privilege of submitting a few guest blogs for the Samaritan's Purse blog. So for the next few traditional Throwback Thursdays I thought I'd share a trip down memory lane with you by resurrecting those old pieces.
They were written during a time when I was attending a smaller church and the boxes were more of a church project. Our goal in 2008 was 6,000 boxes and our packing was done with smaller groups getting together to pack the boxes all year long. In October we would have a kind of weekend packing blitz on Saturday and Sunday but, believe me, it was nothing like the large community-wide ones we do now. This piece was published on the SP blog on October 16, 2008.
It's Happening Again
I have spent months gathering thousands of items and shoe boxes to pack them in, so by October every available storage space is stuffed. But I just can't wait to see it happen again. Every year, God miraculously fills all those empty shoe boxes to bless children around the world.
Even though I pack shoe boxes year round, the fall season still brings a last-minute shoe box crunch. This past weekend, volunteers from our church came together for two four-hour work sessions, and I'm still riding on that post-packing-party high.
Joining hands to pray for God's direction before packing the boxes and watching them stack up hour-by-hour releases a very satisfying adrenaline rush. The best part is seeing God provide for those boxes in unexpected ways.
This year it happened in a way I can't quite explain. I always keep careful records of everything I purchase, and I know I bought 5,983 bars of soap and put one in every box. So after packing 5,858 boxes, there is no logical reason why we would have almost 400 bars of soap left over. And I also have to ask myself: why is it that our clothing supplies have not run out even though we've packed more boxes than the number of items we bought? Just like the biblical story of the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17) I believe the Lord has multiplied what we've offered to His service.
There are also other ways the Lord provided this year. For example, when we finished packing 653 boxes on Saturday, we'd used every toy car. Several weeks earlier I'd purchased brand new Hot Wheels cars at a yard sale for a very low price. When I returned home I had a message from the woman who had sold the cars to me. Now, just when I needed them, she had more for sale.
In my heart, I can't help but breathe a prayer of wonder: "God, You did it again!" And with that wonder comes a longing to see Him do even greater things. We still have five more weeks until National Collection Week, and I know this year we'll exceed the 6,000 boxes I've been asking God to provide.
I'm already thinking about next year's goal, and I know that the Lord doesn't mind that I'm begging, "God, make it happen again!"