Miracles happen all around us, even though we often fail to see or understand them. I just learned that one such miracle occurred at the FMSC Woodbury Mega MobilePack. I knew that the shift Five Oaks Church had participated in, the Saturday 6:00 - 8:00 pm shift, broke the record for the most meals packed in a single shift EVER in the history of FMSC. I did think that was really cool. I just didn't understand HOW COOL it really was.
Last night, November 10, I attended the FMSC debrief of our Mega MobilePack event. We went over every aspect of the event from a 3000' view. Discussing volunteer recruitment, marketing, fund-raising, etc. We all learned a lot about putting on an event of this size and scope, but all that took a back seat when we opened the floor to hear personal stories from that weekend in October. We heard a behind-the-scenes story from Lisa Engh that just floored us. I hope I can do it justice here.
Saturday afternoon, after the 12:00 - 2:00pm shift ended, several key volunteers and senior FMSC staff were eating and going over the numbers of the event to that point. They came to the sobering realization that with the number of shifts left, and the number of volunteers scheduled to work each of those shifts, the event was going to fall short of the 4 million meals goal. Up to that point, the 10 completed shifts packed an average of 215,714 meals. Paul Dopkins, from FMSC, who has supervised many, many MobilePacks made it clear that a great shift might produce meals in the high 290,000's, but even that was extraordinary. Only 1 of the prior 10 shifts had breached the 290k mark, and 5 of the shifts had fallen short of packing 200K meals. There were only 6 shifts remaining and some of those shifts had low volunteer commitments. The team came to terms with the fact that they would fall short of the goal by approximately 500,000 meals.
That is when Laura Bernard, the Mobile Operations Manager for FMSC, spoke up. She reminded everyone that they had seen miracles happen before at these events. Though this would require a bigger than usual miracle, it was not beyond God. The group huddled and prayed. That is when God showed up.
The next shift, in the same two hour time frame as the rest, packed 356,832 meals. Unheard of!! Then it was our turn. Over 500 Five Oakers came together to pack meals on that Saturday evening. We did have a full shift, with 1,200 volunteers, but we finished packing an amazing 385,128 meals! Again, that is a FMSC record! 169,000 meals over the average and 100,000 more meals then what an extraordinary shift was expected to pack. It was impossible and defies explanation. Other full shifts had worked hard, had every bit of the same heart that we had, but the outcome was much different. Lisa described it as a real loaves and fishes type miracle. The real miracle lies in the difference between the expected outcome and the 4,066,200 meals we ultimately packed. By hitting and surpassing the goal another 1,551 children will be fed for an entire year. God will see His children fed!
We never know when God is using us to do His work and we rarely understand when we are in the middle of something wonderful. I certainly didn't at the time.
- Jerry Meras