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On This Side of Things…

March 14, 2013

Christmas, the season, is over, but not the celebration and meaning of it. Yesterday, the boxes arrived for Operation Christmas Child (OCC). We were supposed to get 679, but I think we got just under 500… not sure why, and it will be difficult to choose whose names get crossed of the list, but still a huge blessing! Pastor Dan did a lot of work to get these here and God provided.  It is so neat to be on this end of it… Before… long before I ever knew I’d be going to the Philippines, our family participated with our church in OCC and it was fun to do with the kids… to bring things they thought other children might like, that lived in other parts of the world.  But I have to admit, being on this side of things is way cooler, just seeing how it all works and getting to be a part of it!  

Part of the requirements were that the receiving church outreach… However many children a church has, should be 30% of the recipients, and that church is to outreach to 70%. So, everyone got on the move and soon developed a list of names… 679 children’s names, ranging in age, from 2 to 14, also requirements of OCC. We had to get their name, age, gender, and address. John and I went on one of these excursions to find kids, up and down trails in the mountainous jungle. It was super tiring but super fun. We got to meet several families living in these remote areas, who seemed very happy to see us and provide the information, although we were not allowed to say anything about the gifts. We didn’t do much of the talking. Rachelle and Carmen, the two sisters I wrote about before, did the talking. We just smiled and greeted everyone and prayed with them. By the way, I don’t know how they, and most of the others we traveled with, wore flip-flops up and down those trails… Hum… and I just got to thinking… how are we going to carry all these boxes to them… Anyway, it will be adventurous and well worth it, nonetheless… 🙂 …

Another requirement of OCC was that we have at least one teacher per 30 children, and at least eight of us teachers had to attend an all day training for it. I took 8 pages of notes!

“Every box is a Gospel Oppurtunity.”

“OCC gift boxes are given to represent God’s love and free gift of His Son.”

“OCC gifts must never be sold, opened, divided, or traded for other services.”… 🙂

We got a book with 12 lessons and a leaders guide (all in Tagalog). The purpose is discipleship training, founded and facilitated with prayer. We must be strategic and deliberate in plan and purpose for the greatest long-term spiritual impact. A child is only allowed one OCC gift box in a lifetime, therefore we must make it count.

I was amazed at the organization and discipline of it all and I am so honored to be a part of it, especially on this end…

*Note: All playing cards are considered gambling here in the Philippines… so I wouldn’t recommend them… We have been asked a few times if it’s true that the United States uses cards for games other than gambling… 🙂

And now I would like to ask for your prayers… for OCC and for our family… It is hard to be here sometimes, especially when things are not okay back home… First, John’s mom had a minor heart attack and they discovered 100% blockage in one artery and 70% in another. She is on medication that hopefully will make it possible for her to get a stent, but if not, she may need surgery. Also, we heard news last night that our niece passed away. She was 14 years old and lived with a rare condition called criduchat syndrome. I remember when she was born, just a month after my oldest son, Riley. I was a new mother and I was in awe of my sister-in-law’s strength. Their new baby girl had to be fed through her stomach and breathe through a trachea. And they took the best care of her imaginable. So please pray for God’s everlasting comfort. Thank you so much…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Connie Bennett permalink
    March 14, 2013 1:57 pm

    Praying all goes well. We love and miss y’all.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. March 15, 2013 4:41 am

    Praying for your family tonight. I don’t know what to say, but the spirit intercedes and how amazing is that!

    Billy & JoJo

  3. billy frady permalink
    March 18, 2013 12:41 pm

    Mandi, please know that we are praying for you and your family.  Sorry to hear about John’s mom and about your niece.  We pray for the Lord’s healing for John’s mom;  He is the Great Physician.  I cannot imagine losing a child.  She is well now in Jesus’ loving arms.  Praying for her family.  God bless you all for all you do.  Love and Prayers.


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