I told my 16 year old son last week I made up a new word, CRAMAZING! He looked at me like I was crazy. Here’s how I came up with it…
I was thinking through the adventure that God has had me on with Operation Christmas Child over the last 18 years. I absolutely love being a part of this ministry that brings hope and love to hurting children around the world through gift filled shoeboxes. It has been crazy and amazing, hence Cramazing. Here’s my story and why I’ve started this blog…
I packed my first shoebox in 1995 as the pastor’s wife at Clinton Corners Evangelical Free Church. At that time I started praying for the opportunity to put a shoebox into the hands of a child one day. The next year I was the Project Leader, the person who led the charge for Operation Christmas Child, in our church. In 2003 we moved to the mid west and the church that my husband pastored had not heard of OCC before, so we introduced the project there and continued to pack shoeboxes.
In 2007, a man I knew through work, who also packed shoeboxes felt called to run across the state of North Dakota, in November, to tell people about OCC. He ran the equivalent of 14 marathons in 16 days and arrived in Fargo, ND on the day before National Collection Week began that year. (for those who don’t realize the magnitude, IT’S REALLY COLD IN ND IN NOVEMBER!). When he was sharing about his run afterward he challenged me, “Danielle, what more can you do for OCC?” My response was, “OK I’ll pack another box!” But that question continued to come back to my thoughts. This led me in 2008 to take a team from our church to the MN Processing Center to prepare the boxes for their trip oversees. My oldest son also volunteered at the local collection center with his class.
In 2009 my family moved to NY and my husband began pastoring at Grace Gospel Church. I was bummed that year as I was not able to get a spot at the Processing Center since it was full. I contacted our local collection center to see if my family could work there and was invited to come that night! I met the Northeast Regional Director that night and was telling her my story and she got me onto a Northeast Team going to the Charlotte, NC Processing Center. I have been back every year since.
In 2010 I became the Area Coordinator for the team that serves in Suffolk County, NY. I am so blessed and privileged to work with some awesome people on this team! As OCC has grown in Suffolk County we have seen God at work.
Remember that prayer I prayed in 1995, in 2012, I had the opportunity to have that answered as I headed to Uganda and got to be a part of shoebox distributions there for 6 days! Again it was an amazing experience actually seeing the impact of a shoebox and hearing the children’s response to them.
In addition to loving to pack shoeboxes, I am also an avid cyclist. I was riding one day and thinking of ways I could use cycling to promote OCC. Well, I found a way, it’s cramazing. This year I will be riding Fork to Fork telling churches about Operation Christmas Child. From September 30 – October 4 I will travel 200 miles from Orient Pt, on the North Fork of Long Island in to the Huntington Area and then back out to Montauk Point on Long Island’s South Fork.
Stay tuned to find out how you can be a part of the Fork to Fork Bike Tour, for now PLEASE PRAY…
Pray that I get used to the new road bike that I recently purchased.
Pray that pastors of the churches we have contacted respond.
Pray for our safety on the roads.
Pray that God would use this bike tour to grow OCC, and ultimately to reach children around the world with the message of the Good News of His love.
Hang on Tight,