Saturday, February 10, 2007

Apparently I'm the only one amused by my last post

Far be it that I should blog for my own amusement!

As demanded by someone who doesn't even live here any more, please find below a post about Chile. Some of you who do live here will already have heard this story, so bear with me.

At one of the distributions, possibly our third distribution of the week, we were in this gym-like building. We got to the site and immediately, some of the local church folks began helping us unload the cartons of shoeboxes. As an aside, I felt kind of useless as I couldn't really lift these cartons by myself.... must try to develop more core strength :) We had packed the bus pretty full of boxes, anticipating there would be around 700 kids at the distribution. Well, we got inside the gym and found maybe... 400 kids. See below.

See the floor space? Because eventually you could not see it at all! It was standing room only...

and so our team leader told us to pray and pray and pray.... as we did not think we had brought enough boxes. So, we put our faith in God, gathered in groups around the cartons, and prayed that God would somehow multiply the shoeboxes, that there would be a box for every kid. Well, we prayed, and more kids kept coming, and we kept praying....

Eventually, we had to arrange the distribution outdoors as there were way too many kids to give out boxes inside the building... so the NLT helped us to usher kids out the doors according to gender and age group. Such chaos! I handed out lollipops to keep the noisy kids quiet (nothing like a little sugar to quiet a child down, eh parents?) and then the box-handing-out process began....

Well, in the end, we gave out slightly over 900 boxes. Some kids had to put their names down to get boxes the following Monday (as part of OCC procedure, every kid gets a box if they come to the distribution - the pastors will arrange a day to get more boxes for the kids... no one gets left out.) but even though we had thought we only had 700-800 boxes, we gave out over 900. I believe God did multiply those shoeboxes, but the amazing part is that he kept bringing more and more kids to the distribution program. Over 1000 kids heard God's word that day, probably some for the first time ever. One of our team members shared the gospel message, through a translator, using the "wordless book" idea... some of you probably know... it's the book of colours, Black = our sin, White = forgiveness, etc. She pointed to each colour on the box she had brought. Many kids raised their hands when asked if they wanted to accept Christ.

Sometimes people believe that OCC doesn't really provide a solution to the world's poverty - they think, how can a shoebox change anything? Well, to some degree they are right - a shoebox doesn't help to lift a kid out of the circumstances they are in. But the shoebox comes with a message of hope - that the same God who created the child who sent the box also created the child who is receiving the box... that God offers salvation through his son Jesus Christ... and that our lives can be changed by accepting Christ. The best part for me, even more so than watching kids open their boxes, was seeing them come forward to make a decision for Christ. OCC's local teams follow up with all of the kids who have accepted Christ, they are invited to come for Sunday School-type lessons which they can complete and get a certificate for. By reaching kids, we can also reach their parents.

Next time I'll talk more about seeing the kids open their boxes! That was definitely exciting.

1 comment:

pj said...

ah ... got my daily fix, *big smile*. Didn't know that you post by requests, I'll try to think of more but until then, keep them stories and pics coming.