After an initial group of friends packed so many boxes at our home (see Part I of the box story), I discovered more depth and variety in cubby holes, drawers, bins, and shelves in the weeks that followed. The vast majority of things came from Linda’s experiences providing educational helps to people for decades. It was like finding buried treasure, where the owner had left with dozens of projects packed away for future work but suddenly left. No matter what room or shed I walked into, I found pieces of project history that, in most cases, she had conceived or done during our 43 years of marriage. Some I knew about and had forgotten. Other things I never knew.
As I sorted things, I checked with a friend at Advancing Native Missions and asked, “do you know someone in South or Central America that could use a combination of educational things, consumables, and a laminator with supplies?” A text reply within hours came from a little school in Honduras. Within a week, I filled the back end of a truck with treasures that will head south by the end of the year.
More bins of stuffed animals were found, which were repacked in bins and sent to ANM for shipment to ministries serving refugees in the Middle East. More puppets were found that are headed to the Philippines. More educational things found that were sent to a Shenandoah Valley group of home schoolers as well as a Christian school. In one two week period I had large numbers of boxes and bins going to three continents.
I also got excited as a fellow night sky observer in the Shenandoah Valley wanted to help. As we talked back and forth, he offered to do the work on telescope mounts that had been given to CHRISTWORKS to make them compatible with equipment already in the Philippines. By middle November he had 4 mounts ready to send. But I also found more sewing supplies and personal items that were ideal to pack with the mounts. These are soft things that help cushion the mounts, which is essential, but they also provide more things for the people. As this is being written, special boxes are half constructed in the living room that will be completed, packed, and eventually sent to the Institute of Foundational Learning in the Philippines. My living room is a workshop for the third time in as many months.
Another friend had called in October and sent two additional specialized astro video cameras that could be used for either training or for groups or institutions that qualify in the United States. I plan to train people as needed with the contents of Astronomical Observing from a Biblical View and provide kits of telescopes with reference material. The most capable groups may qualify to get one of these specialized cameras. This is a future project that will get started when the next trip to the Philippines is over, although my Philippine family would be just as happy to have me stay with them rather than return to the United States.
This afternoon I walked through the house and the sheds to see how many bins and materials have yet to be opened whose contents could be sent overseas. There are many. Although I helped Linda organize much of the material and stock the bins on racks several years ago (the image shows a small fraction of unopened bins), there are treasures that yet wait to be put in the hands of those who need it. There is more to give. It seems no matter what doors the Lord opens to give out, and I am finding more things to send.
My heart is in the effort to send things to folks that need it. I will say, however, that much of the present process is not easy. Through the tedious unwrapping, selecting, boxing, and doing the paperwork for boxes and bins headed out are times when I simply have to stop. The memories of Linda’s hands and mind at work to give of herself or things she found for others is frequently too much for me to take all at once. Those are the times when I stop, pray, praise, and ask for help to move forward without her.
I hope to see the lady one day that runs the school in Honduras that will get the material sent from here. Likewise, I would love to see the ministries in the Middle East where dozens of stuffed animals and other things will be received that were sent from here. I especially want to see my Philippine “family” soon. That will happen in early 2017. It is a wonderful privilege to meet and love those who receive the things that are sent. For those who have helped me on this end, I say “thank you” again. When I meet the people and children in the Philippines, where most of these things are going, I will have many stories to tell as I remember the faces of those who have helped me. They will ask about Linda, too, and those stories would write a book.
Back to my boxes….
P.S. For anyone wanting to assist with this continuing project, let me know. Work will continue in some of December and pick up again after a mission trip to the Philippines in early 2017.