I mentioned a few posts ago that I'm preparing for an overseas trip. Well, the trip is almost here - I leave on Friday. Destination Far-Far-Away.
Yeah, yeah - I know that's anti- climactic and all, but the truth is I've been asked not to tell. And in this particular situation, I'm going out on a limb and doing what I'm told...so please forgive my secrecy.
So - even though I can't give you all the details, there is one thing I can tell you. Here's a hint...
If you aren't familiar with Operation Christmas Child, they are an awesome ministry of Samaritan's Purse - headed by Franklin Graham - that delivers gift-filled shoe boxes to children around the world. People in nine countries, including the US, take empty shoe boxes and fill them with small gifts, toys, clothing, school supplies... you name it... and they are collected, processed and shipped all over the world. Last year over 8 million children received a shoe box and, for many, it was the first gift they have ever received.
Check out this short (only a minute or so) video...
Did you see the smiles?? I get to do that!! [**breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out**]
I'm still amazed that I have been given this opportunity. It's a dream come true, for sure. My family has participated for years, filling a shoe box or two, but this year I really got to jump in. A few years ago, we began attending our current church, which has been a Collection Center since the mid-90s. This past November, I helped out in the collection process and we handled over 34,000 shoe boxes from our region. Then, I had two opportunities to travel to Charlotte, NC, to help at the Processing Center, which handles millions of boxes. I can't tell you how many shoe boxes I have touched - either collecting or processing - boxes from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, and who knows where else.
Now I get to give them away.
The collection and processing experience was almost overwhelming for me. To think that every shoe box I touched was a gift destined for a child in need frequently brought me to tears. A seed of hope. A spark of love. A reminder that they are not forgotten.
Now I get to deliver that hope.
(It's getting hard to breathe again.)
So, back home - wherever your home may be - pray for my team. Pray for OCC. But most of all, pray for the kids. Pray that they will know they are loved.
Please forgive my silence for the next couple of weeks. In return, I promise to share lots of pictures when I get back.