A Peek Inside Operation Christmas Child


“My friend invited us to go with their family to work with Operation Christmas Child.” My daughter thumbed through her text. “The day after Thanksgiving. May we go?”

“Yes.” 

Come Black Friday, we drove the hour trip into the Dallas area, met the family, and walked into a huge warehouse filled with plain brown shipping boxes, showcasing “Samaritan’s Purse.”




The warmth flooded the room, the smiles, the greetings from strangers. We ushered into a holding room and watched a film over our volunteer work. I placed my “chaperone” sticker and my name tag on my shirt. The kids received the “student” stickers.We followed a lady through the huge warehouse full of tables and workers. 

Shouts rang out.

“When a shipping box is completely packed with shoe-boxes, everyone shouts, competing to see who can shout the loudest,” the lady explained.

She led us to our very own worktable#13and opened one huge brown shipping box. We peeked over the edge to see it packed to the brim with green-and-red shoeboxes.

Everyone received their assigned job for the day. I took on the job of sorting through shoeboxesin other words, each packed box had to be unpackedensuring each individual shoebox was full and that there was nothing harmful in itno liquids, no weapons. My youngest daughter stood at my side sorting through boxes with me, with her older sister next to her, who helped tape the boxes we passed along.



I glanced up between boxes to see smiles on faces. I reached for a new box, and my daughter beat me to it. We laughed.

My feet stood right where they needed to be.

My fingers felt over my “chaperone” tag on my jacket. Me? Chaperone? No. Me? Student? Yes.

I yearned to exchange tags with my daughter, letting her wear the “chaperone” and letting me take on the “student.”




















Without my girls, without the invitation, my feet would not be planted on the Operation Christmas Child’s warehouse floor. My heart had not been invested in the past. Oh, I’d assembled boxes, but never with my whole heart. I would never have driven that hour in Dallas traffic, the day after Thanksgiving, on my own. Never.

My heart needed nudging, prompting. My hand needed holding, guiding, leading, encouraging.

We placed hands on the boxes before us and prayed over them.



Something strange happened. The brown turned to green-and-red. My heart began to feel invested, invested in the children whom I couldn’t even see, whom I’d never even meet. 

I stumbled across a shoebox that wasn’t packed properly. And I found myself getting defensive over each one I checked and packed. I felt slight aggravation at the unknown persons who’d assembled them poorly.

But who was I to grumble in my heart? I thought of all the shoeboxes I had thrown away that year. I reprimanded myself secretly. I hadn’t packed a shoebox in a few years, since the girls have gotten older, since they hadn’t prompted me to help make one. Since they hadn’t held my hand and led me there. 

Since my eyes weren’t fully seeing.

I reached into the bins full of toys before me, selected a few things, like a stuffed animal or a children’s Bible, and filled the shoebox. It only lacked one thingcandy. I wished for a bucket of candy so that I could add sweetness to the boxes that were lacking. 

My heart is invested.



I ran across a shoebox that clearly had been packed with an over-abundance of lovedolls, stuffed animals, candy. Someone did it right, and some child will be blessed by their hands. My heart clapped for those unknown persons.

I passed the finished shoebox along, and my daughter taped it shut. Friends packed the beautiful Christmas color into the plain ol’ shipping box, bringing it to life there in the warehouse, there in my heart. Shouts rang out, starting a contagion of shouts down the line. We’d filled another shipping box, ready to go overseas.

“Do you want to go to lunch?” the lady asked.

I turned to the girls. “Are y’all hungry? Do you want to take a lunch break?”

“No, let’s keep working,” they agreed.

I smiled. “Yes, let’s keep working. Our time’s too short. We can eat after.” We can eat anytime.

Why?

We took a peek inside, and now our hearts are fully invested.





We took a peek inside,
our stubborn hearts were tested,
and now we see in color,
our hearts fully invested.

~~


Thank you, Peek Family

**

Are you volunteering anywhere special this year? What is God teaching you?

Being Rescued by a McDonald’s Attendant


Every Sunday, she stood at the cash register at McDonald’s and took our pancake order. The sweetest thing. A young girl with fair skin and blond hair. So friendly. 



I loved her instantly.

I always looked forward to seeing her sweet smile. Because she always seemed happy to see us. If my day had gone South, she’d lift me up, and we’d chat over this and that.

One Sunday, we’d arrived, and she stood off to the side. We made eye contact.

“I’m not working here anymore,” she said and smiled. We chatted a bit. 

As weeks passed, I missed her.

Last week, I took my daughter to volunteer at a local veterinary clinic. She loves dogs and cats and wanted to see if that is something she could stomach. 

The kittens we found on our road. They were loaded with fleas. And they ran straight into our arms. One sat on the roadside, holding out her little claw, for a hitch-hike. 🙂 We tease that their mama probably left them there to hunt for food and returned to find them stolen. Now, we ask ourselves, why did we stop? 
Love and hearts, y’all. Love and hearts.

Oh, my goodness, they were messy.


We had talked to the vet’s wife beforehand, and she’d said how so many kids think this is what they want to do for a living, but it’s amazing how a 6-foot tall young man can flatten like a pancake, by the smell of surgery. “It’s not usually the blood,” she said, “it’s the smell.”

We giggled. My daughter didn’t think she’d have a problem. She’s been through a lot in life and doesn’t seem to mind needles, shots, blood. 

I dropped her off at 9 a.m. I waited and waited. I wondered how things would go.

At noon, I drove into the parking lot, got out, and went inside. Through the reception window, I spotted a familiar face. But it wasn’t my daughter’s face. Wait. It was the face of the young girl who’d worked at McDonald’s. I couldn’t believe it.

I smiled, hoping that was her. If it was her, she’d changed a tiny bit, grown up a little. I didn’t say much, afraid of making a fool out of myself … maybe it was another girl. 

But no. Her face lit up. She ran out to hug me.

“I didn’t know you were working here,” I said. “I came to get my daughter who was sitting through surgery today.”

“That’s your daughter?” She’d never really seen my daughter with me at McDonald’s, because my daughter would always go find a seat to save for us while I ordered.

My daughter peeked around the corner, pale as a ghost. Uh oh.

“She got light-headed a few times today, but she’s doing fine,” my friend said. “I put her to work helping me in other areas when she didn’t feel good.”

“Mom, I was doing okay until I noticed blood dripping off the table. That kind of got to me.” We all laughed.

We said our good-byes and hugged. 

Out in the car, my daughter said, “She was really nice to me today, Mom.”

And I thanked God for using that sweet girl in my life, to help my daughter. Love had rescued my girl, thereby rescuing me. I never knew the love I’d felt for that young lady would be returned in such a sweet way. 



Blue & Hermione, better known as Miney. They are the sweetest cats. So loving. Those rescued know how to love. 
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. 
But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”Luke 7:47











“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

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Has God blessed your efforts of loving-kindness? Do you have a story to share? I know you do. Please?!!