Taking a quick moment to relax on the couch with a diet "Dr. K" (Kroger brand Dr. Pepper) and look around at the slowly emptying apartment. Today my mom and I spent 3 or 4 hours packing and moving stuff. I've thrown out 3 bags of trash and taken another bag to Goodwill along with several small boxes of stuff. Tonight I'll finish packing for my trip to Romania (I leave tomorrow night). I already have two suitcases full of ministry materials, now I just have to pack my clothes!
In between the packing and moving craziness I did manage to take two large boxes of blankets out to the shipping company. The Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project (EEROP) collected blankets for orphans in two orphanages, one in Russia and one in Ukraine. We were able to ship all the blankets to the Ukraine orphanage but it took a little longer to get the ones together for the Russian orphanage. We finally got all the blankets and then I had to wait on funding to come in. Then, I got the funding and I needed boxes and Space Bags to pack them in. I was finally ready to ship 40 of them out today so I loaded up my car and headed to the shipping company which is 40 minutes away from my house. I use a shipping company that works exclusively in Russia and several Eastern European countries. I've never had a problem with them and they're cheaper than the post office (the name of the company is MEEST if anyone is interested). Well, today I find out that Russia has changed their laws on shipments. They will insure large packages up to $150 but anything over that you pay for (one of the boxes as just under that limit). Also, if you send multiple packages to one person they treat them all as one shipment and if the total value of all the packages is too high then they will charge you customs fees. In the past they have treated each package as a separate shipment so I could send 15 packages to the same person and as long as each of them was under a certain value there were no customs fees charged. Now if I send 15 packages to one person they add the value of all the packages together and charge customs based on the total value. This presents a problem when you are sending large amounts of supplies like EEROP does. So, now I have to send packages one at a time every two weeks (when the new container comes in) or I have to send the package to the same address but addressed to a different person. It's just another thing to have to overcome.
Recently though I came across a Bible verse that has stuck out in my mind just about every minute of the day. It's Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (NIV). It's all about enduring, sticking with it, no matter what hurdle comes our way. So, yeah, this new law is really inconvenient. You know what though? It doesn't matter, these kids need these blankets and other supplies so if I have to drive an hour and half back and forth every two weeks to make sure they get them, then that's what I'll do. When I started EEROP I knew I was picking up a task that others have had to abandon because of the time and, especially, money involved. However, I also realized that if I didn't do something then these kids may never be reached. And what an amazing blessing has come out of that venture! We've made contacts steadily and now help support 12 orphanages! There are hundreds of people who have lovingly devoted their time and resources to helping these kids and it is making a profound impact on their young lives. The harvest will be ready one day. Will you stick around long enough to see that happen?
You can follow EEROP on Facebook or Twitter for up to date happenings and links to resources for orphan care and adoption.