This is the busiest time of year at the nonprofit where I work. Our two Christmas programs will serve nearly 1,000 families over the next few weeks and we’ve been slammed since October with sign ups and requests for other help.
On top of that, about 3 weeks ago, I learned that a team of 220+ volunteers would be helping us last Friday, and after our experience with this team last year, I knew this group brought their A-game and would do an incredible amount of work in just a few hours.
So I got busy planning and brainstorming with my leadership team.
We had projects lined up, supplies in place, priorities determined and plans communicated. I had sent the plans to the volunteer team leaders and reviewed it with my team leaders – multiple times.
At prayer time Friday morning, we prayed that God would put His hand on the day. At that point, I realized that I had done my part, and I needed to let God take over from there.
The teams arrived and got to work. Lots of questions, lots of smiles, lots of hard work. We didn’t finish everything and it didn’t go quite as planned, but SO much work was accomplished. And it seemed the volunteers enjoyed the experience.
I left that night feeling the chaos and the parts left undone, but the next morning, after a little rest and some tidying up, my perspective changed. I realized that it wasn’t my plan at all. I was just an instrument in accomplishing God’s plan. I felt God’s blessing.
Now after a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture and decorations in our client interview rooms, offices and lobby, our clients have a more welcoming, comfortable place to come when their lives are broken and they are asking for help.
Our Christmas gift program is set up and ready to open this week to serve our clients and help them have a real Christmas in the midst of the turmoil of their situations.
Our Thrift Store is fully stocked and easier to shop because of new shelving and displays.
Food has been processed and restocked in the food pantry, and is ready to be given to hungry families in coming weeks.
One of the teams of volunteers purchased small gifts and visited some of the senior clients in one of our programs. The team leader shared his experience visiting a woman who lived in a rural part of the county. She hugged each of her visitors with tears in her eyes, saying she was so grateful that someone wanted to come spend a little time with her. That was not something I could have ever planned.
God did place His hand on the day.
This team of volunteers gave a few hours of their time and energy. But their tremendous blessing will live on in the memory of this woman, and in everyone who comes to our nonprofit seeking help.
I wonder if this team realizes what an impact they have had?