The past 2 days have been amazing! Yesterday was our annual Christmas Gift Wrap day and what a day it was! I was scheduled to work 2 shifts which was a 4 hour stretch. It felt like 4 minutes. From the first gift to the end of the 4 hour shift there was never time to look up and look out into the mall. The people were lined up at each of our 8 wrapping stations and more than content to wait however long it would take to get their gifts wrapped.
Pastor Dave and I figured out it was the 19th year for the wrap!!! What an amazing outreach this is! As I said, there are 8 stations where people can get their items wrapped with tissue paper and placed in the appropriate sized box before selecting a paper of their choice from the 9 different papers and then selecting the color of bow to match. Their last choice is whether or not to put a gift tag on the gift. When they leave they are speechless as we take absolutely NO donations of any kind! When we advertise it's free -- we mean it! No matter how many gifts they bring, all they have to do is stay with them while they are being wrapped. I had one gentleman who had been there earlier in the morning with 17 gifts and when he found out we were there for only 1 day he came back in the afternoon and purchased 15 more --- he has 7 children!!! One womans husband had just had heart surgery and we saved her a bundle with wrapping -- not to mention praying for her! One story after another and one blessing after another -- blessings to those with gifts and blessings to those of us doing the wrapping of the gifts! A real feeling for the real meaning of the season and a reminder of just how much God gave to us in Jesus!
Today Monty and I were treated to lunch by our friend and neighbor, Shelley. She goes to church with us, even though she worked at Walmart until midnight last night! And do you have any idea what working at Walmart yesterday was like??? Bless her Lord!
This afternoon we headed out into the city. We were blessed to be asked to deliver gift packages to children whose fathers are in prison. Wow!! Another reality check! We had 5 deliveries to make and it was awesome! Each mother was so happy to have gifts to put under the tree that said "from Dad" and at one household I thought the 2 small boys were going to burst with excitement! Inside their apartment they had absolutely NO furniture in the family room or the dining room -- but they had a small tree with some lights on it and those presents were being placed under that tree as we left! In another home the babies were still napping so we had a chance to visit with their mother and she immediately broke down in tears as we entered with our big bag of gifts and a beautiful basket filled with gifts just for her! She told us she and her mother have been looking for a church and hopefully we will see them next Sunday! At the end of our stops I felt both sad and happy. Sad that these children have to suffer so -- yet happy that in a small way we were able to bring a smile to their face and a good memory of their dad to their hearts. Many thanks to Maria at Vineyard who put this all together!!! Jesus has a special place in His heart for children and I think He has a very special place for these very special children!!! Bless them Lord!! Bless them!!!
Once again -- it is my hope and prayer that you are doing something extra special for someone this season. So many need so much and if each of us does just a little it will add up to alot! When Monty and I first headed to Mississippi following hurricane Katrina and into a town where 26,000 homes were destroyed someone asked us "how do you rebuild 26,000 homes?" Our response was "one home at a time" and it will get done. Amen and Amen and Amen. Let's try that with one person at a time -- think what kind of world this would be if we all did that!!!
Until next time . . . Lord, we thank you for the opportunities you give us to serve You!
Susan and Monty