I’m sitting in a hotel in the Dominican Republic. It’s very surreal. I was just here a few years ago with World Vision. Now, I’m back with Operation Christmas Child to see them deliver their 100 millionth shoebox.
Early (too early) this morning, we pulled the kids right out of bed and strapped them in the carseats to go to the airport. They thought it was exciting to be in the car in their PJs and weren’t really very sad when they dropped me off.
I, on the other hand, was kind of emotional. For some reason, I have been very nervous about this trip. I’m not a nervous, fearful person by nature. When I’m gone from my kids, I know they are having fun and I’m not worried about them. I usually don’t even call to check in because I know they are probably shoveling down sugar and watching movies with their grandparents.
But this time I’ve been nervous. Last night I was literally imagining that Les was going to the DR and I was staying home cuddled up with my kids. It was one of those moments where I could feel myself looking through a doorway into insecurity and fear. I had to forcefully close that door in my mind so I could focus on the trip!
Even still, when I hugged Les good-bye, I felt like I was going to cry. I said, “Pray for me, please!”And even through the airport–getting my ticket, going through security, finding my gate, I felt incredibly nervous.
Then, as usual, God moved in. I saw someone approach our gate with a matching blue Operation Christmas Child shirt. Her name is Kelly and she works for the DeMoss Group which helps do PR for Operation Christmas Child. We chatted before our boarding call and I felt buoyed by her happy smiles.
When I got to my seat, I discovered no one sitting next to me. I lifted up the armrest, sat Indian style and pulled out my books: my Psalm 119 Journible, my Operation Christmas Child trip guide, my Bible and Canary Island by Robin Jones Gunn.
I spent the next hour and a half writing Scriptures, reading about the Dominican Republic and taking a journey to the Canary Islands. It was glorious. I didn’t have the invisible hand of the internet telling me to check Facebook or return an email, there were no kids pulling on me, no laundry sitting undone. It was just quiet time for me to focus and relax.
It all sounds very selfish when I write it out. But it was so refreshing. One of my favorite passages I read was from Jonah 4. Jonah is being all complain-y but he says something so awesome and descriptive of God,
“I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”
He relents from sending calamity. God loves us! He is slow to anger. Abounding in love and relents from sending calamity! I just love that picture of God.
This week as we deliver shoeboxes to kids from the Dominican Republic, I’m excited to show them that picture of God, too. To deliver God’s abundant love in a little box. To show them a God who is slow to anger and relents from sending calamity.
Just being around the National Leadership Team, the OCC staff and the Samaritan’s Purse folks tonight, I can sense how big of a deal these little boxes are. They see this ministry as something that can change a child, a family, a community and a country. They believe God’s Word, God’s Love and God’s promises are delivered with that box.
I’m so excited to be involved and to share the stories of these boxes with you.
Will you continue to pay for me? for our trip? the kids who receive the boxes? the fabulous team here? and my husband and kiddos as they manage life as three?