Cards for the troops
By Linda Beck
As the cards for our soldiersí ministry continues to grow, the expenses also increase. I almost said my ministry, but it no longer belongs just to me. More than 30 people took part in the 2011 Christmas card drive in one way or another.
Many folks donated thousands of cards to be recycled, some donated new cards, and others furnished card stock and double-sided tape. Then there were the busy bees who gave their time to fold card stock, trim cards, and put the fronts on to make new cards. There are several ladies who provide the thousands of envelopes needed to send with the cards.
In all, more than 10,000 new and recycled Christmas cards were sent to our soldiers overseas this year. These were not sent as personal notes to the soldiers, but rather for them to have cards to send to their families and friends. But this is not just a Christmas mission; it is year-round for all occasion cards. Since 2004 with the help of others, over 50,000 cards have been shipped from my house!
Iíve shared how this ministry got started in other stories but I know sometimes there are folks who missed reading the paper that day (just as some folks still donít know that I have two books in print.)
This brings me up to the point again about Godís involvement in this ministry. At times, I become so engrossed in making cards that I fail to do other things. I get the Salisbury Post every day, but if I donít have a story in the paper, sometimes I stack them up to read later when my hands need a break.
I work on the cards morning, noon and night. When I fall asleep early, I wake up between 1 and 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom. Thanksgiving morning, I woke up at 1 a.m. and was not sleepy, so I reached over on the stack of papers to pick up the top section. It happened to be the business section from the previous Sunday; I usually only scan the headlines. But as on some other occasions, God led my eyes to an announcement about how Food Lion sponsors a card ministry somewhere up North!
Well, I knew it was not my card ministry, so I read to the end and questioned myself as to why I had never thought about asking the home office of Food Lion to help with this local ministry. There was a contact personís name at the end of the article, so as soon as the holidays were over, I called Jeff Schall. I took my notebook of thank-you notes from the soldiers and all the receipts showing how much money had been spent mailing cards since 2004.
I had been praying that God would give me some other avenues for donations. He knows I love doing this but also that I can no longer cover the financial aspects. As soon as I read it, I knew this was another way God was ěexpanding my territory.î
He had used my husband to teach me about fundraising years ago. Joe always said when you ask someone for something, they can say yes or no and I should never take it personally if someone says no. I called to share my excitement and plans to seek financial help with my friend, ěthe other Linda.î She said, ěYou are just like a gun; loaded and ready to fire the starting shot!î So off I went Ö ready to take aim and fire the shot that would be heard around my little world. Just a few days earlier someone had told me that maybe it was time for me to bow out gracefully so I would not have to continue asking for financial help.
I had also been asked how long I intended to continue this project. Iíve said before that either until God brings the soldiers home or until he is ready to take me ěhomeî to be with him. With the willing support of Food Lion and others, one might say both the soldiers and I are in it for the long haul. (Food Lion generously agreed to mail three boxes a month from their distribution center. Thank you, Jeff, for this offer.) And thanks be to our Heavenly Father for another one of those God things!
Linda Beck is an author, speaker and free-lance writer living in Woodleaf. Email: lindainthecards@ gmail.com.