Tuesday, August 18, 2015

T Minus 1 month

So...one month from right now we should be cleaning up from our September 18th Friday night youth packing party and making final preparations for our major September 19th Community-Wide Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party.

This will be our 7th annual packing party and every year brings new challenges.  As my friend and Church Relations Director, Heather, says, "We never do the same thing twice."

I have to confess I'm getting a little tired of moving things from one place to another.  Sunday's exploits included getting hit with an avalanche of rope spools when they toppled in the storage container.

The good news is that between last week's work day and a crew of people willing to work at bagging from home, we have 25,000 bags of crayons and 25,000 bags filled with soap prepared.  It's wonderful to know we won't have to worry about that during packing party week.  Now I'm recruiting volunteers to assemble another 9,000+ jump ropes.  I'm thinking maybe if I can get 225 rope lengths pre-cut and give them out with a box of 225 sets of handles I might be more successful in getting people to do the job.

I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat waiting for an update on the stuffed animal hunt.  Well, as of yesterday we had 11,101 (give or take a few hundred) animals--not even enough for half of our boxes.  They're still coming, though.  Yesterday our local newspaper printed a letter to the editor I wrote asking for donations and I've had several calls since then offering donations.  A church preparing for a rummage sale this coming weekend allowed me to come last night and choose all I could use--150 nice ones--before their sale even begins.  I was doubly blessed to be able to leave them some Operation Christmas Child materials and encourage them to pack boxes also.

On the positive side, I have an over-abundance of major clothing items.  I've decided I can pair two of those items together for boxes for the older children since I don't have enough stuffed animals for each box.  I calculated I'd need about 5,000 more of those items to be sure each box has two and have been praying over the last week for God to provide a source for them.

Those prayers were answered early Monday morning when I found a source for where I could purchase those needed items for .20 or less each.  I'm excited about that and continue to pray that each of these boxes will bless the child who receives it.

Last year we had fewer than 4,000 extra filler items beyond the basics and this year we have more than 25,000 of them.  I prayed God would allow the quality of our boxes to improve, and I believe He's been answering in great ways.

Now...my main concern is getting volunteers recruited and placed for the packing party.  We've never pre-registered shoebox packers but we have recruited key volunteers and placed them in specific jobs.  The competent volunteer who spearheaded this the past few years is not involved this year and that leaves a large hole.  We've been asking God to fill this need.  I need to start making some lists and praying over them twice (or twice times a hundred.)

Posters were ordered today.  I need to make arrangements for lunch for volunteers.

It's crazy, but over the past few weeks I've learned people are coming from Florida, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, and maybe Virginia to attend this packing party.  My husband jokingly suggested we should sell tickets to make money for shipping the boxes.   It's a lot of pressure thinking people are going to make a long trip and possibly be disappointed.  But not as much pressure as realizing these boxes are going to represent the love of Jesus to kids around the world.  God, please help them to be good ambassadors.

I need to coordinate with church ministries to see when we can use the facilities for setting up for the packing party.  I need to double check on ordering the truck.  And the dumpster.

I'd better get busy making those lists... and praying some more...

Because...31 days from now we'll be on our way.

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