It’s hard to believe that Christmas will be here in 43 days, 14 hours, 4 minutes and 18 seconds..
With Christmas comes one of my things :) Operation Christmas Child! This year the kids at my church began a journey in January to pack shoe boxes all year-long. I am proud to say that as of last night they had packed over 271 boxes to send to OCC! Who says little people can’t do big things?
I’ve been packing a shoe boxes for OCC every year since I was 12 :) This year was no exception. My grandma and I got our boxes and went shopping. It’s become one of my most treasured things about the holidays. She packed her first shoe box with me in October of 2002 when I had just returned from living overseas. We laughed and giggled as we picked out the “perfect” items to fill our boxes. But there is one item that you can’t buy in a store that gets packed into each of our boxes…prayer.
Last night, I headed to church filled with excitement and joy. I knew that it was going to be a night to remember. While these may seem like “just a shoe box” to most people they are so much more for me. As a teenager living in a third world country, the amount of poverty and brokenness I experienced was heart wrenching. So many people go on week-long mission trips only to come home to their comfy houses and forget about those less fortunate. For over two years of my life living in Senegal, West Africa, it was a reality. I was there when the Marines helped unload the OCC crates of boxes to be delivered to villages in my country. You haven’t really lived until you have seen a child swollen from malnourishment open his box and grin :) It never ceased to amaze me at how just the right box finds just the right child. There is no statistical justification for it..it’s a God thing.
As I sat in my seat last night, all I could do was cry….Family after family came in carrying boxes…close to 400 boxes lined the walls of our gym last night :) 271 stacked high in the shape of Christmas tree. They only needed one final item and they would be ready to head up to the road to Charlotte where they’ll be processed and sent out all over the world. As the music played, Jennifer prayed. I knelt by my box holding it close and placing my hand on the others. I believe in the power of prayer. I prayed in French, I prayed in Wolof, I prayed in English..I don’t know why the words just flowed out from my heart. I prayed for a hedge of protection for the planes, boats, camels, donkeys and people who would deliver these precious treasures. I prayed for the right child to receive the right box. I prayed for God to love these children like no one else could…I just prayed.
Each one of those boxes represents a child that for a few moments this season will experience love. It’s so simple..a shoe box. It takes less than $20 to fill and less than 10mts to pack..but has the potential to change a life :)
Have you packed a box this year? It’s not to late :D It’s so easy even Uncle Si did it!
After the service, we hung around enjoying pie and fellowship :) I made some yummy pies to take..a little cherry..some apple and a derby pie. They must have been delicious because by the time I rolled through the line there wasn’t a drop of the three left :) Most everyone else cheated..I have never seen so many Marie Callender pies…
One Tearfully Blessed Lemon :)
PS: I’ll be headed to Charlotte in Dec. this year to work at the warehouse! Stay Tuned :)