Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Adding It Up

When it comes to Operation Christmas Child I always seem to be adding it up.  Always trying to figure out how many filler items we have or how many affirmation notes we still need to write (the answer to both questions is: a lot.)

I've been praying about a delivery I was expecting and today was the day it arrived.  The shipping company called yesterday and made an appointment to deliver between noon and 3:00 pm today.  So imagine my surprise when the driver call at 10:10 am and was already at the church.  My apologies to Sara, my Student Relations Coordinator.  I had to shoo her out of my living room so my husband and I could hurry up to the church where the truck driver was waiting for us.

My prayers were answered when the predicted rain didn't come.  I should have prayed for the mud in front of the container from yesterday's steady rain to dry up.

We systematically hauled our five pallets of treasures into the storage container--50,000 pencils, 58,320 pens, and 675 bags that each held 48 small toys for filler items.  Oh, and there were 2400 packs of bracelets and 2,000+ tote bags.

Every one of those boxes needs some work.  Items need to be removed from inner packaging or sorted or folded or counted.  That means they need to stay accessible and can't be stacked in the back of the container.  And...that means the storage container looks pretty full.

Praise God another church offered us some storage space and we have items stored in a few private homes.  Truthfully, I alternate between praying for more items and praying for places to put those items.

As we were hauling cardboard boxes today I was adding it up again.  If we want to fill four trucks with well-filled boxes it makes sense that we need more than a 40 foot container to store the gifts that will fill them.

So, I keep adding our resources and adding the contacts God gives us--like all the women we spoke with about Operation Christmas Child at last Saturday's WCTL Women's Conference.

In the end, though, I know it never adds up.  We never can humanly explain how our dwindling team with so few resources could even attempt to pack 30,000 boxes.

Yet, week by week God blesses us again and again.  Last week's work day brought 40 volunteers who assembled 5,000 jump ropes and 1,200 packs of paper.  God knows our needs and meets them in His time.

There are wins (like the donation of tennis balls Patti finally picked up after her multiple phone calls to a local tennis club) and there are, well, non-wins (like today when I dressed up in OCC attire and went to a local Credit Union that just changed their name and branding and asked if they'd donate their old promotional items only to be told they discarded them.)

We keep praying...for 24,000 more stuffed animals and for places to store them, for good deals on items and resources to purchase them, for volunteers and for wisdom and grace to manage them.

As I look at totals from previous years I realize it's always a mystery how it happens. On paper it just never adds up.

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