First of all, logistically, a month is not a lot of time to assemble the items we had hoped to receive and given the time frame we had I think we did pretty well. We were able to assemble 100 bags with a variety of things. Things that are both useful and a treat. We will definitely be partnering up with the Holland family this next year to get a head start on collecting items! We are all excited at the prospect of starting in January and featuring an item every month so we are more prepared come December 2013!
Going into this, I was really concerned about the boys losing focus on why they were doing it and getting caught up in a lot of the praise they might receive. And, of course, so many people have been very encouraging to them, and that's great. It would be hard for a mature person not to get caught up in the praise. (And, to be clear, we are very proud of them and have been encouraging them for following through on their idea and helping others). But, in the middle of all of it we had a teaching opportunity with one of the boys to remind him that we aren't doing it so people will recognize us. We do it because God has burdened our hearts for it. We do it because people are hurting and the more important thing is spreading some love to them whether we are praised for it or not. Ultimately I hope the praise and glory will be given to God. We prayed over those bags as we filled them - for the individual people that would have them in their hands tomorrow. My prayer tonight is that (if they haven't already) they will find the same hope for this life that we have. That they will feel the unconditional love, acceptance and grace that can only come from knowing Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has changed my life. It's that simple. I am so grateful for all He has done for me and I feel so incredibly blessed this Christmas in the ways He has shown Himself to me and the MANY blessings He has showered on me and my family.
So, with that. Here's some pics from today:
Tomorrow morning a reporter from the Tri-City Herald is coming over to interview the boys. I have no idea what will come of it, but would love your prayers that it is a positive experience for them and hopefully an opportunity to share what Christmas means to us!