I was recently asked to speak at a ladies’ missions meeting about something near and dear to my heart- Appalachian Christmas Outreach Backpacks. ACO Backpacks are a ministry of Baptist on Mission of North Carolina. I have been involved with this ministry for many years now. ACO Backpacks are important because, for many children in the Appalachian Coalfield regions, the backpack will be their only Christmas present. Items included in the backpacks are warm winter clothing items (gloves, scarves, socks, etc.), a new toy, canned food items, candy, hygiene items, a copy of The Christmas Story leaflet, and a Bible (the most important item.) Normally, I begin packing backpacks near the end of September through the month of October since the collection day is the first Saturday of November. However, the night before speaking at the ladies’ mission meeting, I felt God nudging me to pack a backpack to show the ladies. I picked out a backpack that was blue with bright pink zippers and trims. My plan was to pack this backpack for a girl in the 11-14-year-old age category. I began packing all the items that go in each backpack. One thing I love to do is coordinate and match items that go in the backpacks so I chose a bright pink Bible and used as much pink as I could with the other items. I love to pack a warm hoodie or soft sweatshirt in my girls’ backpacks but did not have one on hand as I was packing. I looked through all the items I had on hand to no avail- hoping for a hoodie or sweatshirt, but finding none that would work.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
One thing that Psalm 37:4 speaks to me is that when our desires are lined up with the desires God has for us – He will give us the desires of our hearts like a soft pink hoodie for the backpack I was packing. I have a friend and sister in Christ, who is so faithful to search for backpacks and backpack items. Often she leaves the items sitting in my chair at work. As I went in to work the next morning, I found in my chair several new backpacks and a bag from Belk (a clothing department store in our area). In the Belk bag was the nicest soft, pink hoodie in a size perfect for an 11-14-year-old girl! God blessed me that morning with one of the desires of my heart just in time to share with the Ladies in their missions meeting.
Later this year, in December, an 11-14-year-old girl will receive this backpack. I pray this backpack will be one way God gives this girl the desires of her heart!