All Because of a Little Shoebox

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If I remember right, the box contained a calculator, a notebook, pencils, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a white t-shirt, a couple washcloths, soap, a ball and candy.

Nothing amazing. Just some things the boys picked out.

Each year since Carter and Owen were toddlers, we have been taking part in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child ministry. I take them on a little shopping trip and we pick out items to be sent to a needy child somewhere in the world. (The first few years this was a quite painful experience, and more than one Harms child has left the store in tears, but I won’t go into the selfishness of my offspring right now.)

Over the course of time, filling those shoe-boxes  has been a great exercise in teaching my children to think beyond themselves.

But this year one of those shoe-boxes turned into so much more than the items that filled it.

Namusubo Kulusumu is a 12 year old girl from Uganda.

She has a pet cat.

She likes to play netball.

When she grows up she wants to be a doctor.

And because Carter sent her a shoebox, she learned about Jesus.

We received a handwritten letter from Namusubo months after the shoeboxes were sent. At the bottom of the letter was the email address of a woman named Florence, the wife of the Pastor of the church through whom the boxes were distributed.

I have since been in contact with Florence, and through her have also received more info and photos.

Through our correspondence, I have realized that 500 Dresses has an opportunity to bless this Ugandan village in a tangible way.  I am now in the process of figuring out how to most economically ship dresses and possibly some sewing supplies to the African country.

How amazing is that?!? Seriously, it was just a shoe-box.  It was a few minutes of our time and a few of our dollars. But in God’s plan it was more.

Thank you Jesus for showing me over and over again that you use our simple acts of obedience to do amazing things.  All we have to do is focus on you and watch you work.

(I plan to get the spring shipment off to Haiti before focusing on Uganda, but I just wanted to share what’s on the horizon.)

March 22 Spring Shipment Deadline

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I’ve finally settled on March 22 as the donation deadline for the spring shipment to Haiti. That means you have a month to get dresses made or supplies purchased to add to the big brown UPS box.

Our current tally is as follows:

47 sundresses

4 pairs of shorts

11 mother-of-the-bride dresses

7 formal dresses

7 flower girl dresses

In addition we’ve received a variety of formal fabrics, velcro, thread and zippers.

I’m looking forward to sending more things to Haiti, and soon I will share about another sweet service opportunity that it looks like God is opening up for us.

Shamed By Selfishness

I’m moving soon. Like 8 days soon. Whew.

I could gush to you about my awesome creative husband who builds beautiful houses which we enjoy for a few years before selling, only to start the whole crazy process over again. But that’s not the thrust of why my move has made it to this blog so I won’t go into the whole back story.

I will say I am totally on board with the overall picture of our goals in this build, move-in, sell, move-out routine.

But there are days I want to sit on my living room floor and cry.

Days that I don’t want to pack another box.

Days I am filled with sadness that I will soon walk out the front door of this home for the last time.

But then I am overwhelmed with my selfishness.

I have the opportunity to live in beautiful homes. I get to redecorate every few years. I will never fear becoming a pack-rat because I have learned the art of donating and tossing. I have the blessing of being reminded of my over-abundance as I box up my clothes and bubble-wrap my photo frames. And yet, I let these feelings of “whoa-is-me” sneak in.

It is so yucky. Seriously yucky. I cannot let myself go down that road of I-have-to-pack-up-all-my-stuff-again-self-pity. Blech.

I need to be reminded of the many people in this world who live in places like this.

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and this.

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And when I think of of this home that Corey helped build in Haiti for Alix’s family last spring, I am shamed by my selfishness.

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Psalm 119: 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

I am thankful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to see poverty first hand. And I am even more thankful that he has given mom and me this ministry that helps me keep from focusing my eyes on worthless things. It is when I get my perspective right and focus on things that really matter that I can get up out of the pit of self-pity and be thankful for the road God has me on. Even though the house number and street name change every few years.

Lord, please help to live in such a way that I am always aware of just how much my blessings outweigh my inconveniences. Amen.