Monday, July 27, 2015

T Minus 52 Days

In just 52 more days it will be Packing Party Eve and that's got me feeling a tad overwhelmed from time to time.  The capable volunteer who recruited and organized the volunteers to staff the packing party is unavailable this year.  So....where do we go from here?

I actually took a course when I was working on my master's degree that taught me how to plan events like this.  Unfortunately,  I've never applied that knowledge when it comes to the packing party.

Every year we end up doing things differently.  The one thing I know, the one thing that brings me comfort, is that God has ALWAYS come through for us.

I was especially comforted when I looked back at my journal from 2010.  Wow--if there was ever a year for panic, that would have been it.  With only a week before the packing party I still lacked 3000 boxes of crayons and had no paper to put in the boxes (thank goodness we had a supply of coloring books.)  We didn't have any designated or trained volunteers.  We had to make a trip a few days before the party to pick up more boxes and I also found out just a few days before the event that a film crew from Samaritan's Purse was coming.  I had no idea how those boxes would get packed.

When I read those journal entries and remembered God's goodness I was encouraged.

And, just when I needed encouragement, the 'community' of this community-wide packing party started getting bigger.

Last Wednesday two large boxes arrived at our church.  When I hauled them home I found them filled with beautiful stuffed animals, over 300 filler jewelry items, and 122 new baseball hats--all from an OCC friend in Indiana.

Several times in the past week I've been given donations of cash from people who just want to be part of sending these boxes to children around the world.

Then a few days ago I was contacted by a blog reader from Canada who was going to be traveling through Erie today with her family on their way to vacation.  She asked if we could meet so she could bring some stuffed animals for our packing party.  So, today I got to meet Cathy and her family for lunch.  The picture at the top of this blog shows some of the 133 brand new stuffed animals she brought--along with a tote full of flip-flops and some great filler items also.  It's crazy to think we're going international.  

When I got home from lunch there was a package at my front door.  What a nice surprise from another blog reader from California--eight of the cutest Webkins she found at a yard sale.  How sweet of her to invest in packing them and paying to mail them to me just so the children who receive our boxes could be blessed.  Thanks, C.!

(This area would contain a picture of the Webkins, but I just spent 10 minutes trying to download it and even though it's been imported I can't find it--I have such a love/hate relationship with computers.)

So...the only things standing between us and 25,000 Operation Christmas Child boxes being packed on September 19th is 17,800 stuffed animals, 16,152 more soaps to be bagged, 3,000 more boxes of crayons to be bought and 25,000 bags filled with them, 15,000 more jump ropes to be assembled, and at least 500 or 600 volunteers to pull off the actual packing party with 75 or so of them to take point positions for the day.  That's all.

But, hey, if God could take us beyond our goal in the chaos of 2010, then I know He can do it again in 2015.  And He will...

in just 52 days...

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