Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV)
Most of my life, I've been a person who accepted the opinion of others when they said something couldn't be done. That was before a couple of weeks ago. On Thursday, November 9th, I was standing in a gift shop signing a copy of my latest book, "Christmas in the Maritimes", when I overheard a lady say, "I'm sending this to my nephew in Afghanistan, and I know he'll love it. When he's finished, he'll pass it around to the other Maritimers in his unit."
Her comments gave me the idea of sending a copy of my book to all the troops in Afghanistan from Atlantic Canada. One friend thought there was no way it could happen, but this time, I wasn't about to take "no" for an answer. The news this year has been full of stories about the conditions our troops are serving under, and I thought that if this little book would mean something to the members serving our country, then I would at least try to find a way to send some to them.
A retired air force friend I e-mailed encouraged me to pursue this idea. He wrote back, "One of the things we treasured the most was a Canadian newspaper or word from home." The more I thought on it, the more I was convinced it would be such a morale booster. I felt compelled to investigate the possibilities and started by making phone calls, doing web searches, and writing e-mails. However, the results from my early inquiries only served to cause doubt that this was going to be a workable project. My major stumbling block was the fact that I was unfamiliar with all the rules and considerations involved in sending something to our troops.
Somewhere along the way, I read an article about another Elaine who was able to help the troops through her project, "Operation Wish." She didn't listen to the "no's", and her story encouraged me to press on.
On Wednesday, November 15th, I received a positive response from the Coordinator of Deployment Services at Canadian Forces Base Greenwood. She wrote, "We're doing our packages to the troops on November 21st. I guess the question now is if you can make Christmas miracles happen by next Tuesday."
I called Nimbus, my publisher, and they assured me they could fill my order for 140 books at cost price, if I could raise $1,200 to buy them. I needed to meet the deadline of Friday at 3:00 p.m. in order to leave enough time for the books to be delivered from Nimbus' warehouse to Greenwood in time to be packed with the parcels on Tuesday.
I e-mailed the lady at Greenwood, "I'm believing this Christmas miracle will happen!"
My idea was to work with the media to ask the community to sponsor the books as a way of encouraging the men and women serving our country. Two reporters agreed to help, but before the afternoon was over, I ran into more snags. I didn't have a business address where people could drop off the money, and setting up an account for this purpose would take some time. Wednesday's deadline for getting the story out in Thursday's papers was fast approaching. Around four o'clock, I decided, "This is a Christmas miracle, so why not ask God?" I did.
Within minutes I had an unexpected phone call from someone I'd talked to earlier in the day. "Elaine, I was touched by what you want to do. You're going to get your Christmas miracle." The person donated the whole $1,200!
The books arrived in Greenwood in time to be sent out. Someone who read the newspaper report of my Christmas miracle wrote me, "Our Bible Study group have 'taken on' a soldier, and we all pray for him and his troop mates in Kandahar." This gave me the idea of asking as many prayer groups as possible to join us in adopting a soldier and praying for their safety and salvation this Christmas. Would you like to join me?
Prayer: Dear God, we may not know each soldier by name, but You do. Help us to be faithful in praying for the safety and salvation of the men and women who serve this great country of ours. Amen.