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Operation Christmas Child –
The Journey of a Simple Librarian
by Brenda Storms
“And the King will answer them, I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”
I must admit, I didn’t go out looking for another ministry to get involved in. After all, anyone who knows me knows that my calendar is typically more than filled…it’s overflowing! It started as it so often did, via my kids. They brought home a flyer from school talking about some ministry where you fill a shoebox (what is up with that?) with stuff for kids and it would be shipped off to some remote part of the world. At first, I really didn’t get it. After all, the list said to pack things like underwear and toothpaste. Sorry, but that did NOT sound like a Christmas gift for a kid. But, it was a Graham ministry and I didn’t want to disappoint my kids. So, we filled our boxes and, wouldn’t you know, we ended up finding it surprisingly fun to shop for ‘necessities’ and ‘non-necessities’ alike! And that’s where my journey began. Not long after, I was asked to run a relay center ( a drop off center where people bring their boxes in the next stage of the gift processing) at the FCS Stafford campus where I worked as the librarian. By that point, I was catching the vision of Operation Christmas Child and hoped somehow, sometime, I would be able to go work at a distribution center.
A few years later, the opportunity came! Sharon Newcomb, a long-time member of New Life and an English teacher at FCS, was taking a group of students to work in the distribution center in Charlotte, North Carolina, as she had for so many years previously. That year, she asked me to help assist as a chaperone. I jumped at the chance! The Quanns were the bus drivers and our older two kids, Josh and Erin, were going with us to work. Not only did that make the mission trip even more special, but discovering how amazingly well organized the ministry is run confirmed to me that it was a good investment both in terms of time and money. My next desire was to go hand out boxes somewhere in the world.
Though thus far that dream has not materialized, God answered my desire in a completely unexpected way. It happened a year and a half ago when I was in Kenya installing a library for a school. I had hired a local Christian woman to sew curtains for the library. We became friends and she invited our team over for dinner one night. While eating in her tiny, one-room home, I noticed an OCC booklet. I inquired about where she had gotten it. She told me their community had qualified to receive shoeboxes one year and she had been on the team to lead the Bible school they run for children who receive boxes. With tears in her eyes, she recounted to joy of praying with all the kids who professed faith in Christ at the end of the week. Many of those children still attend the Sunday School she faithfully leads every single Sunday. It was a humbling experience to realize there, across the globe, I was fellowshipping with a sister in Christ who shared in the exact same ministry I participated in, me at the start line, she the finishing line. It was a clear reminder…God has created us to be a body, and that body is being knit together by Him with Christ as the head.
My role within the ministry has changed, often from year to year. I ran one of the largest relay centers in the area for five years in a row, assisted at the local collection center, went on a few distribution center trips, ran packing parties with kids, networked with stores to participate, and led my own trip of FCS students to Charlotte. I have lifted and packed thousands and thousands of boxes into cartons, trucks, buses, and into overseas shipping cartons. Now, my service is primarily assisting with promoting OCC both at FCS and New Life. Yet, what I’ve discovered along the way is, although I have had the opportunity to participate in many facets within one ministry, the one that was eluding me, ‘bringing in the harvest’ by distributing boxes and sharing Christ, is not the part of the body He has called me to be within the context of OCC. Instead, I’ve discovered my journey is simply finding joy in whatever facet He calls me, wherever He calls me, for however long He calls me and in that I bring Him glory.
About Brenda: Brenda Storms is a librarian at Fredericksburg Christian Upper School. She is married to Jay Storms, USMC retired. This is their third time living in the Fredericksburg area over the course of 24 years and have currently resided here for 10 years. They have four children: Joshua, Erin, Nathan, and Joseph. Jay and Brenda serve as NLICC Senior High Youth Leaders. Brenda’s passion is discipling young girls and teaching youth to love God’s word.
How you can participate in Operation Christmas Child
Using the brochure in Sunday’s bulletin, fill a regular-size shoebox with items suggested on the list for a child fitting into one of the age categories listed. Once it is full, go to www.samaritanspurse.org to the OCC link. Select the option to pay shipping online. Print out the barcode it generates and tape it to the box as suggested. This not only helps the OCC team run the ministry more smoothly, but it also allows you to track your box to the country where it is going. Bring your box to church no later than Sunday, November 24th. They will be gathered right after church and taken to the local relay center for the next leg of the journey. Questions? Call Brenda Storms
Trunk n Treat tonight!
What is Trunk ‘n’ Treat? Cars are parked in a circle facing outward. Inside the circle, games are played from the trunk and/or treats are passed out as costumed children move safely from car to car within the circle. Bring friends or neighbors for a fun evening culminating in a presentation of the gospel.
6:15pm Meet in the Fireside Room in costume (please, no witches, ghosts, etc.)
6:30pm Costume Parade from the Fireside Room to the parking lot.
Costume Judging for the:
6:35pm “Trunk ‘n’ Treat” time in the front parking lot.
7:30pm Gather in the Sanctuary for entertainment and costume prizes.
Mental Health and the Mission of the Church Mini-Conference, November 16 8:30am-1:30pm, Room 100
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Biblical counselor Pam Lopes, Dr. Mitzi Sampson and Pastor Sean will be educating, equipping and encouraging us to minister to ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors. Mental health issues are ones that affect all of us in some way or another, yet are often kept hidden and unshared with the church body out of shame or stigma. How should the church respond to mental illness? With compassion and help and the light of Christ – the same way she responds to any suffering. Come spend the morning in worship, fellowship and learning with the women of the church. Breakfast and lunch provided. Bring a friend. No cost, but donations will be accepted day of conference to defray costs. Registration is needed to plan for food and materials. RSVP in foyer on Sunday or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be in prayer for Pam Lopes, Dr. Mitzi Sampson, Pastor Sean, the worship team and those preparing testimonies for the conference November 16th. Pray that God would be glorified and His kingdom built and church strengthened in the truth and hope of the gospel presented that day. Pray for the health and protection of all who plan to attend and that God will bring us all together as a fellowship of women united in Christ.
The Thanksgiving ministry is an outreach to the community. In addition to delivering meals to shut-ins, meals are delivered to individuals in neighborhoods throughout the community. NLICC’s ministry to Muslims has grown out of this initial contact. Look for information in the bulletin in coming Sundays about the Thanksgiving Ministry. There will be a need for turkeys and pies Thanksgiving morning. If you can help, please fill out the flyer and put it in the offering plate. There will also be an envelope for financial gifts to assist the ministry.
RSVP: Répondez S’il Vous Plaît (French: Reply, If You Please; commonly seen on invitations); synonym: reply, acknowledge, answer, respond
One of the most difficult things about planning an event whether it be a conference, Thanksgiving ministry, musical performance, banquet or retreat is anticipating the number of people who will participate in order to best plan and steward resources like food, materials, and seating. As you consider the activities planned by your brothers and sisters in the Lord, please consider their efforts – try to make a commitment to attend and respond as soon as you are able. As a covenant family at NLICC we are fabulous at coming through at the last moment, but it is a shortcoming that we do not always extend the courtesy of replying to a request as soon as we know we’ll be able to attend or assist if help is needed. It is my prayer that we as the women of the church will assist our brothers and sisters by a willingness to commit to one another in faith that the Lord will help us to keep our commitments.
Marveling at God’s wondrous works as I survey the colors of fall,
in His grace,
for the Women’s Ministry Committee