Friday, December 06, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #562 featuring Operation Christmas Child warehouse

OOPs!  Hi everyone!  I am so sorry.  I am totally mixed up in my days and didn't put up a FFF post, thinking it was a day behind the day it really is.  I'll put the link up so you can connect and I'll have to join in when I can.

Well what a week this is. I totally didn't even realize it was "Friday" until way after I woke up today.  Since the calendar turned to December I feel like I'm 10 steps behind and playing catch up, never quite grabbing ahold of the thing in front of me.  Whew.  Perfect time to stop and pause and look for some blessings lest they elude me in the craziness.  Please join in!

1.  OCC warehouse volunteering.  Oh my.  What fun it was.  Hubby and I were blessed with an opportunity to go and help process the Operation Christmas Child boxes coming in at the warehouse in Calgary.  It was a really fun day.  Over 300 volunteers per shift that Saturday processed about 8000 boxes.  That's 8000 boxes going out to bless children around the world with joy and hope.

And for those that wonder.  It is emphasized that the integrity of the boxes as they are packed by the giver remain.  Meaning that what you pack in a box is what goes to the child.  They do NOT remove items from a box unless it is a contraband item such as candy, toothpaste, items or toys that relate to war, liquids, playing cards.  (For a full list of things that can't go you can check out Samaritan's Purse websites.)  They do not take items out of a full box and put it in one with less.  They have "filler items" for those boxes.  The box as you pray and pack it remains.  They very much believe that the perfect box will go to the right child letting them know that God knows and loves them.

(Look at all those cases of boxes ready to go in the bottom right)

One thing that I loved was that they encouraged us to take our time with each box, that it wasn't a race, and to repack after inspection with love knowing that a child would be opening it, a child who may never have received a gift before.  They also encouraged us to pray a little pray over each box and the child it would go to as we handled it and sent it down the track to be packed into a case.

Do I look happy?  I sure was.  It has brought my own personal shoebox journey full circle being involved in every step short of loading it into an airplane or being a leader on a connect team (which you bet I am praying about).  What an incredible ministry.  If you have a chance to be involved in any way, I encourage you to do so.

2.  Whew, made it to #2.  Hotel credit.  We stayed overnight in Calgary on our OCC day as we thought  we would just be too tired to drive back home. I had a hotel credit from when I went with OCC to Costa Rica when our plane was so delayed that I no longer needed the room.  My hotel was gracious enough to credit me as long as I used it by the end of the year.  Others on the team were not so lucky with their hotels.  Thank you Applause Hotel.  So thankful to have not had to come up with $ for this stay!  And it was a lovely hotel and room and all the staff from front desk to cleaning staff were super friendly and helpful!  And we got breakfast vouchers to the onsite restaurant to boot!

3.  Birthay Dinner.  Hubby's birthday was in November but he had a huge work order the day of his birthday  and was just too tired to go out.  So I cooked him his favorite meal and instead told him I'd take him out when we were in Calgary to Spaghetti Factory which is a favorite stop of his.  Alas, it was way across the city from our hotel and it was already 7 o'clock by the time we got back to the hotel from our shift at OCC so we just opted to go to the hotel onsite restaurant.  What a great fortuitous blessing that turned out to be.  The food was excellent, our steaks were cooked perfectly.   The service way above, our server was super friendly and right on top of things.  So glad we found Tonic Kitchen and Bar and will definitely go there again.  If you're ever in Calgary I'd recommend both the hotel and the restaurant.

4.  Shopping.  While in Calgary Hubby indulged me with a little shopping in a couple of favorite stores.  It was nice to just relax and look around and I found a couple Christmas gifts.

5.  Arriving home safely.  About 2/3 of the way home we hit horrendous highway conditions.  The area is notorious for high wind and they even have signs posted stating that to warn semi truck drivers.  There have been lots of semi's that don't have heavy or full loads overturned along that stretch of highway when the winds decide they are going to go full force.  The winds hit the highway perpendicular sometimes gusting to over 100 km/hr (60mph) so are super dangerous.  Add a farmer's field fullof snow and all of a sudden you have drifting snow blasting straight across the highway.  Add the dark of night and that is what we faced driving home and I happened to be driving at the time. It was absolutely frightening.  At times I could not see the road at all due to the drifting snow.  At intersecting roads the drift tended to pile and at one point all of a sudden there were cars starting to hit the ditch as the frost was coming out of the ashphalt and coupled with the drift being driven over produced black ice patches.  At some points we were slowed right down to city speeds.  Praise God we got home safe and sound and most people were driving to the conditions.  Very thankful to have turned into our garage that night!

What were your favorite blessings this week?


Susan said...

Now that is a busy wee, Suzanne. And I've done that before, as well. It was a disappointment to know I lost a day somewhere. Glad you are okay.

Willow said...

I can see why you are mixed up on your days.
I might have teared up a little bit as you described the process of packing those boxes. What a blessing you are to those children.
I agree with you on being thankful you were safe on the drive home. (You might pray for us tomorrow-Saturday-as we have a long drive to a memorial service and home again twice crossing "The Grapevine" which is I-5 going over a high pass where there could be snow or ice.)

Susanne said...

I will be praying for as you drive, Willow. God's peace and protection go with you!

Willow said...

Thank you, Susanne!

Faith said...

So thankful you made it home safely!!

I loved reading about OCC of course and it's good to know our carefully prayed over and selected gifts stay in the box. I lovemdoing them each year. I wish i could be there when some little girl sees the doll i packed! Along with all the other treats. Years ago they let you include toothpaste and candy but i noticed that's no longer the case. Probably due to customs,

I hope you have a restful weekend!

Susanne said...

Faith: Yes it is due to customs that those items are no longer allowed.

Deb said...

I love this post! So cool that you volunteered at the OCC warehouse. Our family and donated boxes before and the kids loved picking out the little gifts. I missed the deadline this year, so I will have to get involved much earlier next year, and maybe look for little gifts for the boxes throughout the year. Glad you are safe even though you encountered some really rough weather.

Wendy said...

What a great way to spend the weekend and so glad you got back safely. And what a nice bonus with the hotel and meal.

Barbara Harper said...

What a neat opportunity to go to the OCC warehouse! I had wondered if they rearranged or evened up boxes. I am glad to know they don't and they have fillers. It's so neat this could be combined with a little getaway. How nice to have the hotel and meal vouchers!

I would so hate to drive in those conditions. I'm thankful you got home ok.

Willow said...

Update on our travels==all went well. Rain squalls but no snow or ice. It was a long day (as The Prof stated, He drove 1/4 of the way from LA to Chicago that day). Thanks for your prayers!

Gattina said...

I think you will make a lot of kids happy on Christmas ! We have something similar here too. It's not right that we have too much and they have not even the necessary things ! On top you could combine this with a little holiday, only the return trip was the dark shadow !

nikkipolani said...

Really enjoyed those photos and details about your OCC volunteering. I think my favorite part is how God matches each box to each child in need.

Glad you are safely back from Calgary through wind and snow and dark of night!