Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's Almost OCC Harvest Time!

Tractors, combines, grain trucks, dust, burning field stubble's harvest time where I live! “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)
I see lots of farmers in the fields and it is almost time for us to start harvesting the shoeboxes we have been praying for all year. We have collected items, listened to full-circle speakers, went to kick-off events and anticipated the harvest all year! Aren't you thankful we serve a Lord of the harvest? We should continue to rejoice over our anticipated collections and bathe these precious Gospel Opportunities in prayer. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress...they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.” (Psalm 107:1, 28, 37 ESV). I can't wait to see our yield!

Prayer has a huge impact on our harvest efforts. From packing to distribution, the process of delivering Gospel opportunities through simple shoebox gifts to children around the globe is bathed in prayer. We are asking you to continue to pray for Operation Christmas Child as the year is quickly rolling on by. Pray for:
  1. Packing parties that are starting to be planned by many churches and groups. Lift these up in prayer, that they will be successful and that they will hit their goals or even immeasurably more than expected by their year around collection efforts. 
  2. Also pray for our leadership teams as they continue to make preparations for relay and collection centers. 
  3. Pray for our world goal of 11 MILLION Gospel Opportunities - 11 million shoeboxes means at least 11 million children receive "The Greatest Gift" in their own language! 
  4. Pray for the USA goal of 8.6 Million - that's right, our sending country is responsible for 8.6 of the 11 Million!!! 
  5. Pray for our Mid-South goal (Arkansas, Kentucky, & Tennessee) have set a goal of 737,000 to do our part! 
  6. Our Northeast Arkansas OCC Team has set a goal of 10,200 for this season! The church I attend has set a goal of 200. If we each have a goal we are striving to achieve it with God's help we can do so much for His honor & glory! 
  7. Pray for the processing centers: I'm excited to announce that the Processing Center (PC) Prayer Walk Ministry that was introduced in 2014 will return this 2015 processing season. Prayer Walks will ensure that each facility and the shoeboxes processed are covered in prayer as the gifts are prepared to leave the facilities on their way to the waiting arms of children! While we all aren't able to go to PC and pray in 2 hour shifts, we can pray by ourselves or with the prayer warriors where we live. As we prepare for this upcoming processing season, we look forward to the wondrous ways in which God will bless the work of our hands and do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine! 
  8. Last, Give thanks to God for our partnership with Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE) for the past 5 years to encourage churches to pack shoeboxes through the “Shoebox Challenge.” In 2014, OCC and HFE challenged local churches once again to participate and earn complimentary park tickets to be used in the 2015 season. Overall, some 2,550 churches that took part in the challenge generating 748,141 shoebox gifts. This represented an increase of 109% from the previous year! We are pleased to announce the Shoebox Challenge will continue in 2015, with the goal of 1 million shoeboxes. The 3 parks that participate are: Silver Dollar City Branson, MO, New Port Aquarium Newport, KY, and Dollywood Pigeon Forge, TN.
As I think of all there is to do with collections it can seem a little stressful and overwhelming but Kristian Stanfill's singing "Always" comes to my mind:
"My foes are many, they rise against me, but I will hold my ground. I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way, my help is on the way. Troubles surround me, chaos abounding. My soul will rest in You. I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm. My help is on the way, my help is on the way. Oh, my God, He will not delay. My refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through always, always. I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord....My refuge and strength always, always!"

Aren't you thankful We can rest knowing Help is on the way and that we serve an On Time God who is our Refuge and Strength ALWAYS! Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”

Have and blessed rest of the week & keep praying for OCC,

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