Good Monday morning, everyone! I know that I have not been around much over the past few weeks to encourage and support you and your ministries but sometimes God pulls us in many different directions.
I just wanted to take a moment this morning to share what God has done and to encourage you to keep serving...no matter where or how that may look. I also want to encourage you to be obedient when God lays something upon your heart...no matter how small it might seem
15 years ago, I hosted a small Christmas gift-giving program within our church. The idea was to have our children do different things in order to earn love bucks (play money). They earned their love bucks by coming to church, bringing a friend, doing various missions, etc.
The love bucks were used to purchase Christmas gifts for each member of their family. These items were gently used items as well as a pallet or two of returns from a Wal-Mart return center.
This was a simple event to help encourage missions, serving around the church, etc. but God has used this tiny bit of obedience and turned it into something much larger.
On our first shopping day, I had several different people approach me...at different times. How they got into the gym, I have no idea. One asked if they could select one gift for each of their children. Another asked for a gift for a neighbor that needed help. And a third asked for gifts for their foster children.
Ya'll...these were used items (nice...and clean...but used)
Right then and there, God placed a burden upon my heart. A burden for those in our community that would not be opening a gift on Christmas morning. I know that gifts are not what Christmas is all about...however, Christmas is a time when we get to share with someone just how much we love them.
I could have stopped here...with this one little event...but God placed a burden upon my heart that could not be ignored.
So, on year two, I added a second program to help serve under-resourced families in our community. I also slowly replaced the used items with new ones...solicited from local vendors (a year-round commitment).
This little program has grown and grown...and God has done some mighty things.
In December 2019, we went thru a major move when we left the church that we had been members of for many years. I lost my storage space and all of the Christmas store items had to be moved to a storage unit. And then...the virus hit!
To be quite honest, with the move and the virus, I was unsure of the future of the Christmas store. However, where there is a will, God will always provide a way.
In 2020, we hosted a drive-thru "Drive Down Christmas Tree Lane" event and it worked out amazingly!
2021 brought more obstacles...one in particular...a BOX...which I tripped over. The fall resulted in a dislocated shoulder, broken rotator cuff, a few torn muscles and a couple months of physical therapy.
2021 also brought another change...a new permanent home for our Christmas to Remember program.
Earlier this year, my husband had a new warehouse erected for his camper and trailer. He decided to double the size to accommodate the Christmas store products...and to give us a new permanent home!
A few weeks ago, we started moving the items from storage and I began the process of sorting, re-boxing and placing boxes on the shelves. Last week, I put the last box on the shelf.
Although I have missed several weeks of soliciting donations; donations have continued to trickle in. Helping to lessen the stress of collecting.
After placing the last box upon the shelf, I was so relieved but was now wondering how I would finish filling the shelves. But as you know...God always provides a way! And He did it again!
The very next day...after putting the last box on the shelf...I received a message from a vendor.
3 trips later...I am now back to sorting, boxing and shelving donations...God is so good! He is so faithful!
God has had His hand on this little program from day one! He has done some incredible things.
And although Satan has tried his best to destroy and place obstacles in the way, God has continued to be faithful.
There is no way that I could orchestrate all of the amazing things that God has orchestrated each year. It is all Him...and I am so glad that I am the vessel that He chose to reach His people in need.
If God places something upon your heart...no matter how small, no matter how difficult, no matter how unqualified you feel...just step out. Let Him lead, guide, provide...but step out. You never know how big God is until you step out in faith...and it is soooo incredible watching Him work! Thank you Lord!!!