National Collection Week is over...and I am done with the 2016 shoebox packing. We ended up with 1,271 boxes packed in our home since the packing party in September and they're all safely on their way.
I did some totals this weekend and was, as always, amazed by God's goodness. Because of generous donations from a few people this year I ended up spending $309.85 less than I spent in 2015 while packing, by God's grace, 1,131 more boxes. God math is always so incredible.
All year long we've prayed toward our goal of 51,500 boxes here in Northwestern PA. We didn't quite make it to the goal but we are rejoicing that God provided 50,306 boxes--3,010 more than last year. I'm trying to give myself some time to just enjoy that but it's hard to stop wondering what God wants our goal to be for 2017.
I'm feeling sad about not being at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Baltimore to work this season. On the other hand, it was good to be home through the end of National Collection Week--to be at some of the sites to visit volunteers and to rejoice and pray with those who were bringing their boxes.
I spent some time on Thanksgiving morning looking up churches that have Facebook pages and writing thank you messages to them for their boxes. In the past two years while I was at the PC I didn't even have my drop-off logs to look at until I got home.
I feel I've been in some sort of shoebox-induced fog for the past few months. I've managed to miss a lot of important messages. I somehow missed an email with hotel information for volunteering at the PC and also never saw any information about signing up to volunteer as a Prayer Walker at the PC. I don't even know what else I may have missed.
Today my collection center coordinator who lives 1.5 hours away drove to pick up 14 leftover shoeboxes from one of her relay centers and brought them to me. We arranged to meet for lunch with our husbands and had a great time. As they were getting ready to drive away I looked in my car, saw the 9 straggling shoeboxes I'd been given at church yesterday, and realized I never got the shoeboxes from her! Fortunately we caught them in time. A real 'senior moment' for all of us. Yes--the leftover shoebox count is up to 23.
And that's after getting those final stragglers at the end of National Collection Week. We had all the paper work completed by late Monday afternoon and the truck was ready to be pulled early Tuesday morning. Then on Monday evening I got a call that one of the relay centers had accepted 115 boxes. The poor relay center coordinator couldn't fit them in her car so my husband and I ended up making the hour drive to get them. On the way, two deer suddenly appeared in the highway in front of us but God allowed Jim to drive right between them. We had some thumps and fur on both sides of the car but, praise God, no damage. We got those 115 boxes safely stowed at the collection center waiting for early morning light, then got another call at 8:30 pm from someone who had 83 boxes and missed the collection hours. She brought her boxes in the morning and we got them on the truck with 10 minutes to spare. Just think of all that fun we would have missed if we'd been at the processing center.
Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday gave me a chance to do some shoebox shopping and I came home with bags of towels--17 bath towels and 68 hand towels for 2017 shoeboxes. The bath towels rolled up tightly will fit in a GO box with plenty of extra room.
I thought I'd try making the hand towels into little bears but I lack crafting talent...
Someone graciously offered to make the bears for me but I ended up deciding it might be better to just put them in the box as is so the child can actually use the towel.
Well, I just got a text message that another relay center coordinator has 11 leftover boxes waiting to go to the processing center. We're still praying for our regional, national, and international goals...
And...it's not over yet...