Toy Give Away...

I am trying to get caught up on the end of last year and I almost there....but so many fun things to document in December, I don't want to leave anything out so when I look back at my blog book in 30 years, it is all there ;)!  Hang with me!

You might remember talking about the toy give away in this post from October.  To rewind, as I was thinking about my mission on this Earth and the place in my life as a stay at home mom, I sometimes got caught up in thinking "what difference can I make for you God?"  Well watch out when you ask those sorts of questions because he might give you some sort of divine inspiration and tell you to "GO".  So I wrote my dear mops friends about my idea for a toy give away, since I was serving as community service chair for the group, I thought my idea might just align perfectly.  My idea was not a new toy give away.  Several, er, most moms in our group stay at home and have just one income, meaning they don't have a lot to give monetarily but as God has taught me in 2013 when he says to share it doesn't just mean tangible dollars, it means a lot of different things - time, talents, and things, etc.

These verses kept coming into my head...

And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Luke 3:11

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Gal. 6:9-10

I felt God nudging me and saying, you are extremely blessed, please share what you already own with the process got started and at first it was slow but things quickly heated up when I invited a group of mops moms over one early November meeting to lay out the ground work and again God gave us divine inspiration on how to lay it out! All the details were working out...then prayer and patience as we waited for families in need to help.  

Meanwhile, one Saturday Scott and I had a casual conversation with Solon about sharing with others who might not get anything for Christmas.  In Solon's mind, it was unthinkable a kid would get nothing for Christmas and to my surprise, he quickly started gathering things up.  It was painful at times for him but we would line things up and tell him to pick what he wanted to keep and he would pick just a few.  He did ask if God would replace his given toys with new ones and I had to remind myself, this was painful for him, giving up prized possessions but such a worthy thing that I also gave up some of my prized possessions too so I could feel his pain, so to speak!  

With many people praying, donations started to fly in, my basement began to look like a toy shop and my kids, of course, enjoyed nosing around the goods ;)!  And then just like that so did the RSVP's, one a day at first and by the time Decmeber rolled around I spent nap times corresponding and sending PDF RSVP letters to each family.  Their stories were intertwined with bad luck and heartbreak and all we thankful for the help.  

We spent the evening before the event at the church unpacking and just like that student sanctuary became, in our pastor's words, "Toys R US".  Only God could orchestrate that many toys, games, books, stuffed animals, and dvd's.  It was truly a sight to behold and one that gave me chills.  Before leaving, we divided up responsibilities for the following night and prayed for God to bless us with a smooth evening that would be profitable for His kingdom!  I could barely sleep that night in anticipation of blessing these families.  It is true what they say, there is a great, unexplained joy in giving rather than receiving.

My kids were troopers as mom and dad (who had 2 public forums on the same nights) hung with babysitters.  It took all of our family to serve in their way to make this happen!  A last minute donation of money came in and we were able to buy a few more things for our older recipients, another God moment - amazing!

I was emotionally exhuasted and drained and running on adrenaline when I pulled into the church lot at 4:15 on Tuesday.  I purposely went early to worship our Father alone.  This event was a huge faith builder for me, a tiny seed of an idea and with God all things are possible...why do I doubt his ability?

Everything went so smooth that evening, the mops moms who escorted the families around and the families were great to work with.  We got a few notes and emails after sharing how much this meant to them and their families.  Little did they know, how much they made a difference to our Christmas too, restoring the meaning of the season, honoring our Savior on His birthday.  

After it was over and we served 140 kids and 50 families, we still had a great abundance so a friend of a mops mom had called and asked if they could have our leftovers for a similiar program for an elementary school in Newton.  30 mops moms went into action and had the toys boxed up and packed up two minivans to the brim.  How awesome to connect communities and share the blessing of hope this Christmas.

Right after the event, I didn't know if I had the strength to do it again but God has given me a burning passion for kids and families in our community and I know come October, I will be calling on my friends again to bless families again next Christmas!  

On Christmas Jesus came into the world to be a light and when He left, he called us to wasn't about a toy, it was about involving our families and sharing His light...a light that no matter how down and out you are, still shines bright!  Praise Him for turning my little idea of a few loaves of bread and a few fish into a feast for many in our community, I could not have done this in my flesh - it was all Him!

We used baskets to help the shopper contain their items and had personal shoppers helping them shop with a set amount of items they could take per child...

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