Friday, July 8, 2016

Praycation 2016

For the past few years all of the Operation Christmas Child area coordinators in our region, at the direction of our regional staff, have taken a "Praycation" where we break from our OCC tasks for a week to pray and spend time seeking the Lord.

Our regional Praycation will actually be next week, but since we'd already scheduled two major team events that week our local area team decided to celebrate ours from June 30th - July 6th.  It was personally challenging for me this year, though.  I found it hard to keep my mind off the details of the upcoming events, and the interruption of the holiday weekend didn't make it any easier.

Still, I tried to get away from my home at least a few days.  The chapel pictured above at Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery was the venue for my Praycation thoughts on Wednesday. On other days I visited Erie Cemetery,  Four Mile Creek, and the beaches of Presque Isle on Lake Erie.

Though concentration was difficult for me this week, I was blessed by doing something simple.  Challenged by the truth that Jesus is "the image of the invisible God" I read straight through the gospels to get a big-picture view of Jesus' life.

I was amazed by Jesus' compassion.  Even when He was tired from ministry and intentionally retreated for rest, He put aside His needs for those of the crowd around Him.  No wonder He often got up early in the morning to spend time in prayer.

And Jesus focused on doing the Father's will.  He knew His purpose.  How could my purpose for any day of my life be any less?

In the beginning of Praycation I was blessed with a precious package from my friend and blog reader in California. I can't believe how sweet these teddy bears are.  As I counted them and tucked them into a bag I prayed for each child they will bless.  Father, let each one know Your love.

Now, Praycation over, we head into a busy week.  I'm volunteering at a day camp for inner city elementary students sponsored by our local Erie City Mission, and our team is hosting a work day for the community to help us prepare for our upcoming packing party.

We got a great answer to prayer this week when we got word that our local Walmart is ordering 8,700 boxes of crayons for us in one order.  It will be such a blessing to avoid umpteen trips to multiple Walmarts over the next two months.  The crayons are supposed to arrive at the beginning of next week, and our six pallets of soap is slated for delivery next week also.

Meanwhile, where will all these items fit in our storage container?  I was telling my community relations coordinator, Christine, that I have no idea how these details will all work out, and she said, "That's really kind of liberating."

You know what.  She's right.  As we focus on doing the Father's will, we'll trust Him to do what only He can do.

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