Our Mission Statement

Sunday, May 29

May trip summary

I have received several e-mails asking for a brief summary of the things we did on our May trip. I don't do brief, but I will try my best. Here is a quick run down on the totals of our May trip:
* 1 day of visitation at Hospital Esquela
* Visit at the Blind School (with cotton candy!)
* Visit at the special needs orphanage
* Visit at the Dadasko orphange
* Tour of the IRC property at Santa Ana
* Visit at the Casitas Kennedy orphanage
* Food distribution at Nueva Oriental
* Built 3 new houses (2 in the Valley of Angels & 1 at Nueva Oriental)
* 3 days VBS @ Valley of Angels
* 3 days of adult Bible studies @ Valley of Angels
* Food distribution at San Miguel
* Painted the 3 houses inside and out
* 16 devotionals
* Worship service @ Los Pinos
* Approximately $1,000 contribution at church service
* 540 boxes of food distribution for needy families
* 300 pounds of food at Dadasko
* Food distribution equals 268,000 meals
* 2 pizza parties (560 pieces of pizza!)
* 2 days of work at the IRC warehouse bodega
* Provided paint for the San Miguel church building
* Distributed hundreds of toys and stuffed animals

We had a very busy and productive trip this year to Honduras. Isn't it amazing how much can be done when a team is focused and God is in charge? Once again, thanks to all that made this possible. To the July teams, I challenge you to be prepared to work this hard on your trip! Get ready, God has big plans for us! May God be honored in all that we do!


Saturday, May 28

Home again, home again jiggity-jog

I am writing this blog while sitting on my couch in Sarasota, Florida. After a long day of travel yesterday (Friday) I arrived home and slept in my own bed for the first time in 11 days. I have to admit it was a good night's sleep, resting in the comfort of my familiar surroundings. As exhausted as I am, there is a part of me that just didn't want to come home. That is just the way it is when you go on a mission trip to Honduras. It is difficult to go home, no matter how homesick or tired you are at the time. Now it is time for it all to sink in, time for all of the processing to begin.

We left Tegucigalpa on Wednesday morning, packed up and ready for the retreat. As I metioned in the last blog, all of the Torch teams take a short retreat at the end of the trip to get away from the work and to have some down time to process the trip and to try to re-charge our batteries before we go home. On the way to Lake Hojoa, a 3 hour bus ride, we stopped just outside of Tamera. There is a small orphanage there known as Dadasko. It has about 30 children there. We found this orphanage by accident a couple of years ago while trying to get to the women's prison. The facility at the time was horribly run down and in need of all kinds of supplies. Over the past 3 years we have tried to go out there on a regular basis to check up on them.

Fortunately the orphanage is in good shape, clean and well kept. The children are happy and well behaved. The director is doing a wonderful job although they still live hand to mouth, not knowing when the next assistance will arrive. When we arrived we carried with us 300 pounds of food, such as beans, rice, and corn meal. We had all kinds of toys, kites, candy, and snacks. We took crayons and markers for future art projects, 2 reams of paper, and school supplies. We carried the food and supplies to the storage room where we found depleted shelves where food was stored. They had less than a week's worth of food left. The food we delievered will last them more than a month. The director was so grateful that we came. She had no idea we were coming, we just did a suprise visit. We made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, played games, painted finger nails, and just had a great time. Even though we were on our way to a beautiful place to relax and have some fun, nobody was in any hurry to leave.

We finally loaded up the bus and headed out for the lake retreat. We arrived about 5:00 pm at the hotel. We checked in and had dinner right away. Free time to wander the property and get unpacked took place and then we had our evening devotional out by the pool deck. It was nice and quiet, the evening air cool and calm. We were just about the only ones at the hotel and did not have to worry about bothering anyone. We had some very good singing. This group was a very good singing group. We sang a wide variety of songs throughout the trip with several different guys leading. I spoke about the trip and what we had done during the course of the time we were in Honduras. I also talked about the fact that all of us have taken different paths to get to where we were on the trip. Some within the group had taken rough and rocky roads while others did not. I saw the group as a snapshot in time, knowing the group as who they were, right then, right there. No matter what it took to get us to where we where right then and there, that is how I will remember them. That is the way it is while we are on our spiritual journey. A year from now it will be different. We will all be in different places on the journey.

We had a long period of, "Where did you see Jesus today?" Several spoke of different events of the trip that made a big impact on them. Everyone on the trip has such humble servant's hearts that seeing Jesus was obvious everyday. From tender hugs to brute strength, our group demonstrated the heart of a servant. We called it a night about 11:00.

Thursday morning we had a 9:00 breakfast. Several of us still missed it with the first chance on the trip to sleep in. The early risers were up with hot coffee and a beautiful mountain morning. We didn't have a lot on the schedule today. Some rode horses wile others took a dip in the pool. Others just found a place to lounge and read and write. After lunch most went to the national park about 30 minutes away. A giant waterfall is there that has "Kodak moment" written all over it. Besides a breathtaking view and photo op there are several places to jump into the water of the lagoon. Otherwise, it was a quiet day in one of Honduras' most beautiful spots. After dinner God entertained us with a brilliant light show of heat lightning. The outline of the towering mountains was visible as we watched the storm roll in. Another rain storm was upon us.

Nathan Reeves spoke at the devotional. The newest chapter of Hezekiah was read, recapping the highlights of the trip as only those with a sense of humor could. Few were spared from the witty humor. After the reading Nathan led the devotional. The rain came in buckets, a real gully washer. It rained so hard that we could not hear each other talking. After a few minutes we all took turns making a run for the main hotel, dodging frogs along the way. I guess it was only fitting that our trip should end like it started, with rain. But the rain brought the fires to an end and cleared the air and brought back the greenery of the land. What a blessing it was.

Friday we were up bright and early and were on the road by 6:00 am. 3 hours later we arrived at the airport and took a group photo by the bus. A very smooth check-in allowed the group to eat and visit before we finally had to say our goodbyes. The Nashville group left first with the Miami group leaving an hour later. The flights were good and on time and the team returned to their homes. Memories to last a life time.

Many thanks to all of you that helped to make this trip possible. In about a month more than 200 more will be traveling down to Honduras for the second and third trips. Please continue to pray for the teams and other Torch leaders, as we continue to work in Honduras. God's kingdom is alive and growing. May all we do be for His glory. God bless our efforts as we serve Him.


Wednesday, May 25

On the road again

Good morning. Randy Kluge, the slave driver, got me up at 6:00 morning. What is with this guy? He just robbed my of an hour of good sleep. Oh well, getting up early allowed me to get over to Tim's house this morning for one last update.

Today we are going to be leaving Teguc around 9:30. We still have about 45 boxes of food that we plan to give out on the way to Tamera. Tamera is where the women's prison is located. We are going to stop near there at an orphanage called Dadasco. It is a state run orphanage that is very poorly funded. We have about 400 pounds of food to give them and we have saved our last bags of toys and candy to give out there. Can't wait!!! The kids here are wonderful.

From there we will be driving up to Lake Yojoa for our retreat. Will will have a day and a half of down time to reflect and process the events of the mission trip. This is really important before we come back to the states. We have done so much and seen things we have never seen before. Processing all of this is important before we come back to the richest country in the world. We will get a chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Honduras on this trip as we cross over 4 different mountain chains to get there. We will be way up in the Santa Barbara mountains at the edge of the rain forest. As much as we hate leaving the work we are also looking forward to the retreat.

Thank you for reading the blogs, I hope you have enjoyed them. This is my first attempt at doing this and have no idea what I am doing! I have a huge respect for Jennifer Arnold who will be doing this for our July trips!!! May God bless us today as we travel. We love you all, Cristo te ama.


Tuesday, May 24

On a mission from God

Good morning from Tegucigalpa. This will probably be our last log-in before we return to the states. Our trip has flown by and we are at the last 2 days of our trip. It seems so unfair in so many ways that we are going to be leaving so soon. In our minds we have only been here just a short while but we know back home it seems like we have been gone a long time. I guess it is all in your perspective. Never the less, here is the newest update from the team.

Today was another great day in Honduras. We awoke again with beautiful skies and sunshine. The dogs and roosters were outdone this morning with the singing of birds on campus. The breakfast crowd was slim today as most of the team was trying to catch a couple extra minutes of sleep. Morning devotional was led by Anibal Tamacus. AB is from El Salvador and works with is on all of our trips. He is a very dedicated Christian young man who is doing great service for God. He told of his story of growning up during the revolution in his country back in the 80's. His main point was allowing God to work in all situations. He mentioned so many missionaries that had infuenced his life and pointed him in the right direction.

We loaded up the bus and drove out to a beautiful area about 12 miles outside of town called Santa Ana. IRC purchased about 8 acres of land in this quaint Spanish village that will house a medical clinic, children's home, and a Mi Esperanza training center. There will also be a church building and a police post on the property. Tim is also building 8 duplexes on the property funded by the Cucuy foundation. Cucuy is a Honduran who is a radio talk show host in L.A. He has the largest radio audiance in America. His foundation funds several projects here and we have been able to participate with him. Tim gave a tour of the property as the group sampled the different fruit trees.

After the tour we drove back into town and went to Casitas Kennedy, a state run orphanage. This is the first place a child goes when they are pulled off of the streets. Some of these kids are rough and tough and have been through it all. There were 3 girls, all under 14, that were pregnant. Most have been abused and do not have family. The ones that have family have abonded them. It is a very sad situation here. Very few ever come to visit and need is every where. A Torch team in March came in and built a beautiful playground. It has swinging bridges and slides and 2 towers. The kids play on it everyday. We arrived with 40 pizzas and a lot of candy and toys to pass out.

As always, God was at work and was very visible. We had hoped to go to the Good Shepard Children's Home in Zanmarrono. It is a Christian based home and is totally awesome. However, the kids were in school today so we could not go. Casitas Kennedy was the back up plan. Last night a group of thugs broke into Casitas Kennedy and got into the kitchen. The kitchen staff had laid out lunch (chicken, beans, and rice) and the food was stolen. This morning the director was upset because she had no idea how they were going to feed the kids today because they had no more food and no money. When Tim called to ask if we could come for a pizza party she broke onto tears telling Tim that this was a miracle from God. Needless to say we were suppose to be there today.

After the visit to the orphanage we headed out to the Valley of Angels. We got there about an hour early so the group has a speedy shopping spree. About 3:45 the rains came again (amazing, isn't it?, right before the outdoor VBS was to begin. Din't stop us. We went on anyway, playing games with the kids in the shower. It cleared up about 25 minutes later and things went great. We stayed longest today because saying goodbye was hard to do. The classes for the adults went will, Dan Mann, the minister from the Bellview Church of Christ in Ocala, taught the classes. He served 2 years in the Peace Corps in South America and knows quite a bit of Spanish. He did a great job and freed up our translators to work with the kids.

Tonight after dinner we listened and watched a presentation by a Baxter team that is going to Mexico to start a church there. The team is made up of 3 couples and 2 single men. These guys are some of the most talented that have graduated from Baxter. One was the head of his graduating class. They plan to go to the province of Tabasco, on the gulf coast. They are currently working at Los Pinos and have made a huge impact there. We then had our evening devotional. Dan Mann spoke. He spoke of the power of God to use any event to make something good of it. He said not all things are good but that good can come through all things. He said it was OK to ask why, even Jesus did it as he hung on the cross. It was a very stirring and powerful message (preachers are suppose to be able to do that, right?)

Tonight everyone is to pack up there stuff to get ready for retreat. We plan to leave at 9:30 am. If I get a chance I will try to send out a quick note tomorrow. If not, keep us in your prayers while we travel. God bless you all, take care until we return.


Monday, May 23

The early bird catches the worm

We have a guy on this trip you all need to meet. Those back home in Sarasota know him and will understand everything I am going to tell you. His name is Randy. The man is a workaholic. He knows it, even talks about it on a regular basis. He is usually up by 4:30 every morning to work. Poor guy, I feel for him. Full speed ahead for this guy but usually turns into a pumpkin by 10:00. Our schedule has been driving him crazy. Not early enough. Not fast enough. Lasts too long. I am sure you get the picture. So, because I am so nice, I decided to plan the day with Randy. And what a day it was!!!!

We were up and WORKING at 6:00 am (yes, I agreed to this). The whole team was there and we sorted and packed food for 250 families. We used an assembly line and knocked out the project in less than 45 minutes. Totally amazing. Randy was beaming as the team worked in the early morning hours. 7:00 breakfast (first time on the trip everyone was there for breakfast - kitchen staff was caught off guard from this bizzare event and had to cook more food for us!). The packaged food was then loaded onto the bus and we scrambled to get ready for the day. We were determined to be out the gate before 8:00.

Nathan, Joe, and Gena Hines headed up an 8 person team that went to Nueva Oriental to build a house. There is a woman who lives there that has 5 children and her husband was killed during Easter week; being hit by a bus. She was devistated and had no means to build the house that her and her husband had planned. She was living at her sister's house and we decided that something had to be done. It is amazing what can happen when you are working with a purpose. The lumber and supplies arrived and literally 5 hours later a brand new house stood on her lot. The house included a wooden floor, paint inside and out (Gena says Nathan is not allowed to pick out the color of houses anymore). It was a unique color of blue (all the guys liked it)on the outside and white on the inside. Tim arrived with mattresses, chairs, and a giant water barrel. The women cried, "Thank you God!" so many times that the team lost count. Everyone in the village was happy for her, she is a wonderful mother and neighbor.

The rest of us went to the warehouse to grab paint and brushes, we were heading back to the Valley to paint the houses we built earlier in the week. Before we went to the valley we went to San Miguel, another colony we have been working in for about 2 years. A church was planted there last year and is in a great location. We used the area just below the church building as a staging area and passed out the food boxes we prepared. Randy shuttled food up to the top of the ridge using Joe's Land Cruiser while other team members carried boxes by hand. John Wallace used our construction wheel barrel to wheel bags of food up the steep hills in rapid order. In less than 2 hours 200 families had food delieved to their doors. We left 50 bags of food at the church building for the minister to pass out to the members there. Some families were so desperate for food that they actaully ate the food right out of the bags when they were delievered. I am sure many prayers were answered today.

Early afternoon we arrived at the Valley of Angels. 2 paint crews tackled the job of painting the houses. Both were well off of the beaten path. We painted in a fury because every indication told us that rain was coming again (have I told you that it has rained down here?). While the paint crews were working another team of Super Bufftrucks went to the church property to do demolition work. With sledge hammers in hand the team busted the top section of a giant concrete well that sits on the front part of the property. It has to be removed because the entry to the church building will be at that point on the property. To say that these guys worked hard is an understatement. Lesser men would have fainted from this task and would have ran way, but not these guys. Awesome work.

At 4:30 everyone met at Carlo's house for the VBS and adult Bible study. Small crowd again today, maybe 40 total. Dan Mann taught the adults and Anibal Tamacus, our translator from El Salvador, led the VBS. Games were played and refreshments were consumed and it didn't even rain on us. Now that is what you call a good day. We wrapped up the day with dinner at the Mission House. We had a great meal tonight (baked chicken, potatoes, and corn on the cob)which really hit the spot.

After dinner we had planned to go play basketball tonight but the rain came and we could not play (have I told you about the rain down here?). Oh well, a quiet night on campus is not a bad thing. Tonight we are having split devos. Guys down stairs and the girls up stairs. Devo will start in just a few minutes so I have to run so I can be there on time.

What an awesome day today. we got so much done today, all because of Randy and his scheduling. Of course, his new nickname is "Slave Driver." But hey, that is OK, especially down here in Honduras. Good night everyone, one more blog to go before we leave for our retreat. Hope your week will be as good and rewarding as ours. Peace.


Lord I lift Your name on high

We have reached the half way point of the trip. Unbelievable. Time is going by so quickly on this trip. No matter how much we try to do it seems as if we didn't do enough and we just didn't have enough time. Now, don't take me wrong, the trip is going great. But already we are starting to see the end of the trip and urgency is starting to set in. The pace is starting to pick up. There is still so much we would like to do and time is starting to run short.

Sunday morning. Clear skies with traditional heat and humidity. The days until now have been cool and plesant, today it was down right hot. No problem, we were prepared for it and actually are looked forward to it. Everone dressed in Sunday church attire (all the ladies had closed toed shoes and I was sooooooo proud!)as we loaded the bus. Today we went to Los Pinos for worship service. Los Pinos is a great village community that Torch has been working for the past 2 years. The congregation there is growing and healthy with about 100 adults and 120 children. I am pretty sure most of them were there today, we had a full house, standing room only. We had a wonderful bi-lingual worship assembly. One of the most moving moments was when the children sang "This is the day" in English. Man, I am getting goose bumps right now as I am writing this note. After services we went to the classrooms and passed out some toys and stuffed animals to the kids. Lots of pictures, hugs, and smiles today!

After church services we went to eat at Camparos and then headed out to Valley of Angels to get ready for the VBS/ gospel meeting. Carlos Toledo, the local preacher there, met us at the site that the new church building is being built. Timeteo has already made big strides on the foundation. Huge footers have been dug and giant stones have been placed and concreted into place. It was pretty exciting to visualize the building being completed at the site. The goal is to have the building completed by the end of July.

Our VBS/gospel meeting was going to be at the church building site. However, rain (have I mentioned that it has rained down here???)interfered with our outdoor plans. Thankfully a new house is being built next door to the property and the owner allowed us to use the facility. The adults met on the Torch bus and the children met in the house. Of course, the house is not finished and water leaked in from just about everywhere but at least we were not directly in the down pour. We sang a few songs in Spanish with the kids and had a great skit covering serval key characters of the Old Testement. John Wallace, from south Florida, was a giant tree with huge leaves coming out of his collar and shirt sleeves. He was the favorite for sure. The line of the day was from Steve Kemp during the skit. As Noah, Steve was suppose to say, "grande Bote'(great boat) but actually said, "grande boca (big mouth)!" Oops! Now you see why I have such great trouble with Spanish. One little slip and look what you could say!

As soon as VBS ended the rain stopped (what timing) and we wrapped up the day by heading over to Santa Lucia. We ate dinner at the restaurant at the hotel and was entertained with karoke performances from the locals (not the best I have ever heard) and our own Katie Gooch, Phillip Jenkins, and Dillon Hines. Not to brag, but they were really good. And we could understand the words too! After dinner we had a singing devo at the church there. The church building was built in 1533 and is the oldest church building in the western hemisphere. Most of the building is still completely original right down to the wooden pegs (there are no nails in the building). What a great way to end the day.

We returned to the Mission House filled to the brim with wonderful memories of the day. Tomorrrow will be a big day for the team. We are going to begin work at 6:00 AM because we have a big agenda planned. Goodnight to all, hope you sleep as good as we will! Blessings.


Sunday, May 22

Blue skies and rainbows

Child at Hospital Escuela - This is what happens when Torch takes over the Hospital!

We awoke this morning with the sun streaming into our rooms. What a welcome sight! After 2 days of solid rainfall from the storm we were blessed with a beautiful morning. A beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds greeted us as we walked outside. The ground was still damp and water droplets fell from the trees. The team was pumped and ready for a big day of work after spending a lot of time inside yesterday. You could just feel it in the air. The breakfast crowd dwindled as the need for sleep became more valuable than food. I for one chose Pop Tarts for more sleep!

Morning devotional was lead by Matt Tabors from Nashville, Tennessee. He talked about doing everything in the name of Jesus. It was all that was needed to get everyone going for the day. We spent about 25 minutes today working in our journals and then packed up gear for the day. By 9:00 we were up and going. We divided into two teams for the day and set out. One team would be in the Valley of Angels and the other would be working in Nueva Oriental.

Kids at the blind school just love toys that make noise!

The Valley of Angels team was made up of two construction teams who returned to finish the houses that were started earlier in the week. Joe Merrilat headed up one team and Nathan Reeves the other. They completed the houses by mid-afternoon and returned back to the Mission House. It was nice to work in dry weather and have chain saws working properly today. The other team stayed on campus and packaged and boxed food for about 200 families. These food boxes will feed a family of 8 for 2 weeks. Once the boxes were done we drove out to Nueva Oriental, a very poor squatter community on the outskirts of Teguc. This is an awesome community, well organized and planned. There is a common area on a hill that we parked our bus. People from accross the vally rim walked to us to receive the food boxes. We distributed the food out the back of the bus while other team members passed out clothes and toys. It was very calm and peaceful the entire time we were there. The excitement of the day was when the bus got stuck in a giant mud puddle leaving the village. There is nothing like seeing a bunch of gringos pushing a bus out of the mud!!! We left the village with the sounds of cheers from the crowd we had just served!

After dinner we finally was able to go to the Jesus statue for devotional. Torch is the only group that is allowed to go there after sunset. The park was locked but we were allowed to walk down the road to the statue. We carried ladders to scale the wall (sounds more daring than it really was) and went to the base of the statue. Tim gave us some history of the city and the statue before we sang. It was a clear night and the lights of the city were clearly visible. It was beautiful to look down onto the city with all of the lights. It really makes you realize how big the city really is. Ryan Brunsink, my summer intern from Virgina, spoke. His lesson challenged us to become a radical follower of Jesus. 10 minutes after devo ended it began raining again. It is amazing watching God work! He just always seems to provide exactly what we need for this trip.

After devo it was back to the mission house. We have been sharing the campus for the past few days with about 300 middle and high school music students. I have to admit it challenged our patience with all of the violins and drums. They were everywhere we turned and most of us still can hear scales in our sleep. Things finally quieted down about 11:00 and most of us drifted off to sleep. Fatigue is setting in but tomorrow should be a easy day for us. We are leaving at 8:45 for worship service and I predict a small breakfast crowd tomorrow.

This is what a family used to live in before Torch Missions bult them a new house!

Buenos noches, Dios te bendiga (good night and God bless you) from all of us down here. Tired but fulfilled in Honduras.


Saturday, May 21

Riding out the storm

One thing that is interesting about Honduras is the fact that it is never boring down here. There is always something to do and there is always something going on. It makes for an interesting and memorable trip everytime. Case in point, hurricanes. Now, those of us from Florida know hurricanes pretty well. 4 in one year last year. As we were tracking the storm it was apparent to us that the storm was losing its punch before it hit land. It was wobbling and wasn't very defined. Besides, we knew it was about to go over several mountain ranges once it hit Central America. We knew we were safe and sound here in Tegucigalpa. We got a steady down pour of rain all day. No thunder or lightning, no floods. We didn't even loose power! All in all it was a very good day.

The rain kept us from going back to finish the houses we had started the day before so we had to adjust our plans. What a wonderful thing too! We had a great day of work and we didn't even slow down. Rain or shine, inside or out, ministry goes on here in Honduras. We began our day as usual, 7:00 breakfast (American pancakes today!) and 8:00 devotional. Joe Merrilat, one of the local full time missionaries, spoke. Joe served on several Torch trips and as a summer intern with Tim. Joe spoke about seeking after Jesus. Answering the call. Once again a great lesson. After devo we spent time working in our journals and then broke into small group discussions. It was a great morning getting to know everyone better and talking about things that have happened on the trip so far.

After small group we divided into two teams. A small team of 8 went to the IRC warehouse to continue cleaning and organizing supplies there. The larger team stayed at the Mission House and worked on food distribution. We had hundreds of pounds of beans, rice, sugar, coffee, and other items, that was re-packaged into smaller bags and packed into boxes for distribution later in the week. With measuring cups in hand an assembly line formed to work on the food. Today's effort will feed over 200 families for 2 weeks. The warehouse team did a huge anount of work in the bodega. They moved, stacked, and organized about 25 pallets of supplies for summer teams coming in. Thjey also organized some medical equipment and also some food supplies for the First Lady.

We went to the mall for lunch to eat at the food court. I think all of Tegucigalpa was there since many businesses and schools were shut in preperation for the storm. After lunch we stopped by the warehouse to grab some supplies (toys and stuffed animals) and we headed over to the special needs orphanage. Most in our group had never been there before and did not know what to expect. There are about 25 children there, suffering in varying degrees of physical and mental handicaps. The facility is absolutely beautiful and is well staffed. The rain certainly didn't keep us away, especially since much of the facility is under roof.

We stayed for a couple of hours playing with the children. Small toys and stuffed animals were passed out (no candy, dinner time was soon and we did not want to ruin their it!) along with beaded necklaces. Bubble guns again blazed away both from us and from the children. Torch members took turns walking the children in their wheel chairs while others were carried. Bouncing balls were everywhere along with one on one time with the kids. Many of the children were severely handicaped and could not play so team members simply sat with them and rubbed their arms and backs. Slowly but surely it all began to sink in for the team. The ride back to the Mission House was quiet with a lot of tears.

One of the children from the orphanage that Steve Kemp had met over the years passed away about a month ago from complications from a cold. Franklin was the first graduate of the school there, receiving hos 6th grade education at age 17. Steve was so sad when he heard this but continued on through the day ministering to others. What a trooper he is. Another child, Daniel, was the focus of a lot of hugs and attention. Franklin was found abandoned in the province of Moskita, on the northeat coast. He had suffered from horrible misquito bites and his finger nails had been chewed off by wild animals. He could not understand Spanish (the people of Miskito speak their own language) or English. He is 5 years old and looks like he is 9 months old. He cannot walk yet but is getting healthier each day. If it were up to several in the group he would be coming home to the states! He is a very beautiful child and the staff therre love him so much.

We got back just in time for dinner and then had our evening devotional. I spoke tonight and talked about my cousin Tommy. He was born severely handicapped and the doctors did not ecpect him to live a year. Tommy is now in his early 40's and has lived a very happy life. I stressed the idea of maintaining our child like manners, after all, Jesus said we were to be like little children Himself. We spent a lot of time in song, many of the songs were slow paced and deeply heart felt. During our nightly "where did you wee Jesus today?" segment there were numerous comments about the events at the orphanage. Tears flowed as we experienced the day all over again. God moved within our team today.

We are hoping and praying for good weather tomorrow. Hurricanes usually clean up the air for a few day and we are counting on it. We want to try to get back to our houses and get them finished. I am sure tomorrow will be another great day. Thank you for the prayers, we ask that you continue as we work down here. We are having a great time and look forward to the days ahead. Blessings to all.


Thursday, May 19

Rainy days in Honduras

You know, Honduras had gone weeks without rain until we got here. Yep, weeks. Dry as a bone. But since we got here it has rained every day. Rainy season began about a week ago and we can all say without a doubt that it seems to be working just fine. So, with that in mind lets talk about the day today!

Morning began again with the sounds of roosters and dogs. Do these animals ever sleep? City slickers like me are just not used to this stuff. Never the less, most of us were up before sunrise and were showered and dressed for the day way before breakfast. But it was a beautiful morning. The rain stopped late last night and the skies gave us a false sense of hope that it would be a dry day today. Oh well. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast got us going on the right foot. And refried beans too! Now we're talking.

Morning devotional was led by Steve Kemp, better known as Sparky. A veteran Torcher, Steve talked about his spiritual journey. He stressed the importance of being a Christian, not acting like a Christian. Good stuff. The troops set off to work in their journals during focus time and then we loaded our gear on the bus for the day. Today we were anxious to get out of the gate early and get to the work at hand. Today was going to be our first day of construction. On the docket today were 2 houses in the Valley of Angels.

We left right on time (first clue that something was going to go wrong today). The drive out was beautiful. The sky was overcast and it was nice and cool. Fresh. We met up with Carlos Toledo, the local preacher, who led the group out to the work sites. Joe delivered our wood and supplies right on time (clue number 2). We got to the work site of the first house that Nathan Reeves was heading up, and the work began. Randy Kluge headed up the other team that departed with Joe to the other site. As Nathan said, "I will never forget this day."

So many stories, so little time. The rain began about 2 hours later. It did not start off as a drizzle, it just went straight to pouring. And it never let up. It was wet, it was cold. You could see your breath. Chainsaws would't work. The truck got stuck in the mud. Trees were cut down to get it out. The teams couldn't communicate with each other. And it rained. All day long it came down. Teams returned to the Mission House soaked to the bone and looking for a hot shower and warm, dry clothes. It took all night to get warm again.

We went to Tim and Gena Hines' house for dinner. We had quite a spread and it was so good. We had an early evening devotional led by new comer Matt Wilkinson. He did a great job. Real Christianity. Taking what we know and applying it to what we do. Very appropriate for the team. After devo we loaded up the bus and went back to town. We broke our media fast to go see the opening night of Star Wars. Many of the group had never seen a Star Wars movie (what's up with that?) and some were so tired that even an action packed movie couldn't keep them from nodding off. But those of us that are faithful fans loved it and agreed it was the best one of them all. Classic good vs. evil.

We are waiting to see what the weather will be like before we decide what projects we will do tomorrow. For now we will remain constant in prayer about the storm and the rain. We are high and dry and have plenty of indoor projects on deck. Love you all.


Have pizza will travel

Hello everyone,

The long awaited rain fell all night here in Tegucigalpa. What a great way to sleep, hearing the rain falling on the heavy tin roof of the dormitory we are staying in here at Villa Graicia. But by early morning the rains had stopped and we awoke to a beautiful day. Smoke still hung heavy over the city but on the mountain where we are staying we saw beautiful blue skies. Our first day of work was going to start off with the beauty of God's creation being seen all around us.

Early morning breakfast was easy to make since the roosters and dogs started their morning about 4:00 am. French toast and fresh pineapple and water melon today! After breakfast we had morning devotional, lead by first timer Michael Rosemblum. His lesson on being a humble servant was excellent and so was the singing. What a way to start the day! We spent a half hour working on our journals and then pooled supplies brought from home to take with us for the day. We departed about 9:00 am.

First up today was Hospital Esquela, the largest hospital in Central America. 1,200 beds. We divided into 2 teams and went ward to ward, floor to floor, visiting the patients, many of which were children. We made balloon figures (OK, some were unrecognizable, but they were neat anyway) to give out and we had bubble guns blazing away at full speed. Toys and candy were also given out. We prayed over the sick and passed out a lot of smiles and hugs. Pretty cool stuff even though it was emotionally draining.

A very quick bit to eat on the bus and then we were off to the Mi Esperanza training house. Mark Connell and Leo Silva gave our team the deluxe tour of the house. The house has facilities to teach women beautician skills, sewing, and key boarding. Classes are also being taught on personal skills such as writing resumes, interviewing, and running businesses. It is almost unbelievable the good things that are taking place here.

After the tour we headed out and went to the blind school, my favorite place to go. 40+ students attend the school and live at the facility, located next to Hospital San Philippe. Not only were we going to get to visit and play with the kids, we came loaded with all the extras. Candy, toys, and stuffed animals were passed out in abundance. We sang some songs for them (in English of course) and then we were treated to a fabulous concert from the children! Tears of joy flowed as we listened to these children sing from the bottoms of their hearts and souls. It was awesome!!! And then for the grand finale, we treated the kids to a pizza party! Oh, did I mention the cotton candy? Tim Hines has a cotton candy machine and we had a blast making it (pink hands and all!) and watching the children and staff eat it! Most had never had it before and they didn't know what to do with it! Some tried to eat it like ice cream while others pulled it loose and stuffed it into their mouths! We left with a ton of pictures and a thousand memories.

We finished the work day with a stop at the IRC bodega. It is a giant warehouse that we ship and store our working supplies. It used to be a manufactoring plant for medicines at one time. We sorted and organized hundreds of boxes of supplies in the main warehouse and did a lot of clean-up work. We also moved hospital beds that are going to the police hospital. We worked up a good sweat and then loaded up the bus and stopped at the grocery store to buy food and snacks for the week.

After well deserved showers we ate dinner, steak and mashed potatoes, we had evening devotional in the chapel. We had several (about a dozen) visitors from Los Pinaras School come to be with us. Good crowd, GREAT singing. Tim Hines spoke on stepping out of the boat and throwing away our fears. The Apostle Peter was used multiple times during his analogy. We finished by singing, "I belong to Jesus," and "The Days of Elijah!" Whew, what great songs!

We finished the night with a birthday party for the three on our team that have birthdays during the trip. I really believe that I had the best cake I have ever had in my life (outside my wife's angel food cake), a blueberry layer cake. The rain has returned and we are going to play it by ear for tomorrow as far as what we are going to do. Welcome to Honduras!

As always, keep us in your prayers. We are aware of the potiental storm coming our way and we are in prayer over the situation. We are in a very safe place and our concern is not for ourselves but those who live in such poor living conditions.


The Mission begins

Greetings from Teguciglapa, Honduras! It was a classic landing onto one of the world's shortest runways, hugging the mountain peaks, steep banking, a roller coaster drop and a "slam on your brakes" stop! It was quite a rush to say the least. We went through customs in record time and loaded the bus and off we went for a quick lunch at a local Honduras resturant. It is so good to be back in this place.

Once we arrived at Villa Graica (Mission House) we had orientation at lookout rock. A short time later the rains set in, such a welcome sight! Honduras needed rain so badly and we were glad to see it. We claimed our rooms and unpacked our gear and had a few minutes to visit and meet each other. We have 14 from up north (Nashville deparure site) and 15 from the south (miami deparure site). A hot meal for dinner and an evening devotional finished off the evening. No Jesus statue devo tonight, rain kept us inside. Maybe tomorrow. Big day planned for tomorrow.

Keep us in your prayers, we are primed and ready. Can't wait to see what God has in store for us this week! Love to all.


Sunday, May 15

Its time!!!!

After months of planning the first trip is here! Tuesday marks the start of the first of 3 trips to Honduras for our teams. Excitement is running high as the hours count off for our departures. Our May team is made up of 29 people departing from Nashville, Tennessee, and Miami, Florida. We will meet up with each other in Tegucigalpa about an hour apart from our flights into the city. We have a busy 10 day schedule planned as we look forward to the opportunities God will place before us while we are there.

Many of our group just finished finals this past weekend and getting away is exciting. Leaving to go on a mission trip makes it even more exciting. What a great way to begin the summer! All of the hard work leading up to this point is about to seen as we get away from our comfort zones and immerse ourselves into the Lord's work. For 10 days it will not be about us, it will be about others. Lord, free us of the shackles that bind us and release us to do Your work. Help us to be instruments of good will and love, mercy and grace. Lord give us the strength we need to carry out Your will. Help us to see through Your eyes. Help us to be your hands, feet, and mouth. Give us safety and good health, help us to be wise. Above all else, help us to know that we are your children, hijos del Rey!!! We pray this all in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Keep us in your prayers while we are gone. We will keep in touch! Love to all.


Tuesday, May 3

Update for May Group

Once again, it is time for another update...

  • 14 days until the May departure
  • 59 days until the first trip in July
  • 71 days until the second trip in July

May 10th: Next payment is due (complete balance for May group).
June 20th: Final payment for both July groups.

* May 17 team members please remember to be at your hub airport (either Nashville or Miami) at least 1 1/2 hours before departure time. Nashville team needs to be at the airport no later than 4:45 am and Miami team 10:00 am. Nashville team meets at the Continental Airlines ticket counter and the Miami team meets at the American Airlines counter.

* Make sure all checked luggage has the yellow Torch ribbon tied securely to each bag. Steve Kemp will have them for the Nashville group and Terry Reeves for the Miami group.

* Please check in as a group. Do not check in by yourself, we want to make sure we have a complete listing of baggage for the trip (just in case something gets lost). Steve will collect all baggage claim tickets for the Nashville group and Terry will collect baggage claim tickets for the Miami group. This will make baggage claim in Tegucigalpa quicker and more efficient.

* All team members need to bring at least 1 box of zip-lock sandwich bags and 2 boxes of gallon size zip-lock storage bags with them. These will be used for the VBS snack packs and for the food distribution projects.

* Remember to bring $20 to help pay for your exit fee this year.

* Recommended spending money is $100, we will be going out to eat a couple of times and there will always bee opportunities to buy snacks. Also remember we will have a day for shopping for gifts to take home.

* Pillows, towels, sheets, and blankets are provided by the Mission House but you might want to bring an extra towel with you (or a favorite pillow).

* Rooming assignments will be given out once we are at the mission house.

* Bring your own work gloves and eye protection (sunglasses are OK), they are required at construction work sites this year. We will have them for sale in Honduras if you forget yours. Money will go into the work fund!

* Be familiar with the rules sheet, just because you signed and notarized it doesn't mean you know the rules! Failure to have notarized rules sheet on file will cost you $10 for a notary to notarize a form once we get to Honduras.

~Terry Reeves