AGAPE Christmas boxes are coming in! We are trying our best to have as many opportunities to work at MERCI as we can in October as we are assiduously working on the boxes which we have already received. Right now, these are the dates that MERCI will be open; from about 9 am to about 2 pm: October 5, October 8, October 12, October 17, October 19, October 26. Other dates may be available to receive groups that want to go to MERCI to work–but you would need to call me Rev. Bill haddock, in advance to schedule such a work day. We anticipate that we will receive and ship about 3000 boxes this year to Nagorno-Karabakh (a..k.a. Artsakh).
We had planned to have MERCI opened tomorrow, Oct 1 for a small group and for drop-offs. However, the company that is working on the railroad crossing leading into MERCI called a short while ago.The access road to the MERCI Center will be closed for most of the day Oct. 1, as construction at that point takes place. There is no other way into the MERCI Center, which means that MERCI will be closed tomorrow. No drop-offs can me made tomorrow either. Sorry for this news, but that situation is beyond our control. The next regularly scheduled work day is Saturday, October 5. For those of you in the western part of the Conference, you can come join us at the Haw River UMC on Saturday, October 5 from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. We’ll be working on AGAPE boxes at that location.
Since Nara Melkonyan will be with us this November, we are hoping that she can be around when we send off the first container. But for that to happen, we simply need more volunteers to help check each individual box before we ship it. We have to inspect the boxes for two main reasons: (1) customs in the countries of Georgia and Armenia (they are very strict about certain items which cannot be allowed in and through their countries); and, (2) our efforts to make sure that the boxes are as equitable as possible (kids do have a tendency to compare what they receive).
I know that the work is tedious, but each box will be received by an eager and appreciative child.
I want to thank folks who have worked at MERCI and have gone home to tell others the importance of following the specified instructions. By the time that the boxes get to MERCI, some of them have been checked and double-checked–which makes everybody’s job so much easier. (And by the way, other organizations that do similar shipping have to abide by the same customs laws and also strive to add items to the boxes that have room for other items).
For questions or to schedule a specific work day, call Rev. Bill Haddock at 910-262-3831.