Our Mission Statement

Monday, June 27

The time is now

3 days till the July 1 team leaves for Honduras. Last minute preparations are on the way as all of are getting ready. This is crunch time for most of us. I love this time, right before the trip. It is amazing how much I get done right before I leave. It reminds me of the term papers I wrote in college. Yes, my professor gave us several weeks to write the paper, but I didn’t need all of those extra days. I just needed a good 24 hours to research and write that 15 page paper! Same thing holds true now. Who needs weeks of preparation time, packing time, organizing time? Give me a couple of days and just let me go! I love power shopping at Wal-Mart!!!!

On a more serious note, I ask special prayers from all of you. From team members, parents, relatives, church members, and friends, please keep us in your prayers. I have been reading the blogs of the other teams that have been in Honduras and they have been working really hard down there. The rains have not let up and it has caused massive flooding and mud slides in and around Tegucigalpa. Nathan called me yesterday and told me that there have been several people that have died in the mud slides and that several churches have become relief centers for families that have lost their homes. Torch teams have served as relief teams to help provide food, clothes, and fresh water. They have been digging trenches to channel water away from houses and church buildings. They have assisted in a lot of ways that our teams do not normally do. As we get ready to go down our teams must be prepared to step up and do what is needed in any way that we can. We are on God’s schedule now.

To all of the team members, I pray for you to have a servant’s heart and to come prepared to serve and work as hard as you have ever worked before. We will face many challenges and opportunities in the next few weeks. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let us be His mouth, His words. Let us be ready to rise to the challenge, to have the strength and energy, the faith and will power, to work this week. Let us have humble spirits and a willing heart. The work it at hand; its game time. Let’s roll.

Last minute check list:
• Make sure you have your passports!!!
• Spending money
• Bible
• Supplies (from packing list)
• Work gloves and eye protection (required)
• Gallon size zip lock bags
• Sandwich size zip lock bags
• Hat/ sunscreen/insect repellant
• Torch t-shirts and journals (if you already have them)
• Watch
• Pack extra work shoes (you will need them!)

Contact your team leader if you are not aware of flight schedule arrangements. After months of preparation and anticipation, the trip is here. Good luck, have a great trip down, see you in Honduras!


Tuesday, June 21

all the right reasons

It’s Tuesday night and I just got home from devo at the church building with my youth group. It has been a very busy day and it is only going to get busier as the days and hours start to count down before we leave for our Honduras mission trips. It seems like I do this every year. You know the routine; I bet I am not alone on this. You sit down with a daytimer, pencil in activities and events, stack them neatly into days and weekends, and sit back and say, “I can do this.” It looks so logical, so organized, so, “do-able.” Then, as the events and activities start to take place, and things start to bog down, energy levels plummet, and time slips away before your very eyes, you ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” Yep, been there, done that, came back for more.

I do it all of the time. I do it year after year. You think I would learn, you think I would remember the last time. But no, not me. Here I am again. Trying to do too much in too little time. Squeezing every drop out of the day. Waiting to the last minute to get things done. I am definitely not a type A personality. I don’t know the scale but I figure I am about a type R, maybe even a Z. But that is the way I am, and I get it done. Sometimes I don’t know how, but I guess I thrive on pressure. Some people, maybe a lot of people, are like that.

We are 9 days away from leaving for Honduras. I am getting e-mails everyday from people telling me how excited they are about getting down there to work. Indeed the excitement is running high as my two teams prepare their final preparations. I am excited too, but trying to tie up all of the loose ends, collecting the last of the payments, paying off the rest of the bills, and buying the last of supplies are a pressing matter right now. Trying to plan out the work details for the 2 trips, making housing assignments, and getting all of the paperwork done is suppressing my excitement, and my joy. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been so busy doing good stuff that you have taken the joy right out of it? We need to be careful not to work ourselves into this type of situation.

Tim Hines told me a very poignant story about this very point. “Satan called his demons together for a little meeting one day. He asked them what their strategies were to tempt man and lure them away from their relationship with God. One by one they gave their ideas of how to get man to fall. One said he tempted man with riches. Satan was impressed. Another said he tempted with greed. Satan nodded in agreement. Another demon suggested sex. Again, Satan shook his head in agreement, yet said nothing. One by one they came forward, discussing all of the various ways to tempt man. Money. Promotions. Sports. Hobbies. Work. Finally, Satan spoke. All of these ideas are good, and will work on some. But, he said, I am looking for something that will work on everyone. Something that anyone would fall for. Silence fell on the multitude of demons. Finally, a wise and crafty demon, one of Satan’s highest ranking demons, spoke. He said, there is a simple and easy solution to this dilemma. Just keep the people busy and convince them they have plenty of time. Satan thought for a moment, and with a wicked smile, agreed. Keep them busy, even doing good things, and convince them that they have plenty of time. Perfect.”

Let’s be on guard. As we get ready to go to Honduras, let’s do some soul searching. Let’s examine our motives. Let’s examine our intentions. Let’s examine our hearts. As we get ready to go to Honduras, let’s get excited about the opportunities to serve God. To serve the poor. To serve the homeless. To serve the fatherless. To serve the weak and broken hearted. Let’s get excited to preach the good news about the love of Jesus. Let’s do it with the right attitude, the right motivation, and the right intent. Whatever we do in word or deed let’s do it in the name of Jesus and give him the glory. In doing this we will foil Satan’s attempt to keep us busy for all of the wrong reasons. LET’S DO IT!!!

Sunday, June 12

I can only imagine

Blogging is a really cool concept. I don’t know the history of it, all I know is it is a really great way to post information, ideas, thoughts, and comments. I am really thankful for Jennifer Arnold who set up our blogspot. She did a great job and has helped me learn some of the ins and outs of how to post my stuff. One of the coolest things about the blogspot is the hit counter. It keeps up with how many people log onto our site everyday. The counter logs each computer that logs on, not actual hits (I know that several check it two or more times a day). So the actual hits are far greater than what the counter shows. It is pretty cool to see how many people are reading the posts and following the information. It just goes to show how many are interested in Torch and the mission outreach that is taking place in Honduras.

I received several comments from my last article, “signs.” Some left comments on the blogspot while most were sent to me via e-mail. I am not a writer and do not consider myself a preacher, although a few called me that after reading the article, I just see myself as a Christian trying to do my part in the work of the kingdom, nothing more and nothing less. However, I am finding myself increasingly taking my Christianity more and more seriously. It seems that the older I get the more intense I get about my relationship with God and the work and I am speaking up more.

I think that for too many of us we are shallow and empty in our relationship with Jesus. We have grown up in a wealthy country with every convenience at our disposal. We have grown up in a Christian society and for many Christianity has very deep roots within our families. We have made religion part of our lives, not our life. We do “church” like we do other aspects of our lives. We go to work, we go to school, we go out to eat, and we go to church. For many, church is just another part of our daily or weekly schedules. And it carries about the same importance as all of the other stuff that we do. We can call in sick for work, skip a day of school, and miss a church service with about the same amount of effort and thought. We plan a night on the town, a weekend fishing trip, or a church service project with the same idea in mind, convenience. Will it fit into my schedule and will it put me out.

Maybe that is why going to Honduras is such a life changing experience. The Honduras mission trip is not just a part of our lives, for a few days, it is our life. For a few days we eat, sleep, drink, and breathe kingdom work. It becomes the very focus of who we are and what we do. It gets us realigned, kind of like going to a chiropractor. If you have ever gone to one, you know how good it feels when you are done. When you get out of alignment you go to the chiropractor to get straightened out. It feels great to be straightened out, too. Same is true when we go to Honduras. We feel great while we are down there (even though we are tired and exhausted mentally and physically).

Going to Honduras is a life changing experience for most of us who go. It gives us a chance to do something really worthwhile and meaningful. We get to do something that really makes a difference. And when we come home, we don’t see things the same way. We see how good we really have it. We see how much we really have. We see how rich we really are. And we see “church” in a different way too.

I wish everyone could experience the Honduras mission trip. I wish everyone could give up everything they had for a few days to go and do nothing but kingdom work. To be immersed totally into ministry. To know, feel, and see what our lives are supposed to be like. Do you think it would change the way things are at your home congregation??? You tell me! Imagine what the singing would be like. Imagine what worship would be like. Imagine the difference that would be seen in the ministry programs. Imagine how many would show up for work days at the church building. Imagine how the focus would change about the lost. Imagine what the contribution would be like. Imagine what the attendance would be like. Imagine the changes that would take place. Just imagine. Just imagine. That is the church that I want to be a part of. How about you?


Monday, June 6

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

We live in a media driven society. At any given moment any of us could be watching TV, reading e-mails on the computer, talking on our cell phones, and listening to a CD in the background. We watch TV shows that have split screen news broadcasts with banners scrolling across the bottom of the screen. When we drive down the road we see billboards, electronic signs, ads on the sides of buses, and people dressed up in costumes holding signs. We have access to software to print dazzling flyers and brochures that rival print shops. We are blitzed by sights and sounds, and sometimes I get numb from it all. When is it just too much?

That is why this is so interesting. I saw a sign at a local church the other day that really, really, caught my attention. Why? It wasn’t anything razzle dazzle about it. Just a plain Jane sign, white background, black letters. Nothing flashing, no one juggling or doing flips, not a laser light show in sight. But it caught my attention none the less. Plain, simple. BOLD. That much was for sure, it was bold. And true. And it cut me to the bone.

What did it say? I am glad you asked. On the sign in front of this church was the following statement, “If your relationship with God won’t get you to church how in the world do you expect it to get you to heaven?” Wow. Did that hit you as hard as it hit me? That is a powerful statement. Why? Is my relationship with God on shaky ground? Is my faithfulness in church attendance wavering? No, not at all. But it did make me think about what is going on around me? And probably you.

I don’t know about where you’re from, I can only talk about the place I live. Traffic here is a nightmare 6 days a week. People going and coming from work, shopping, buying, selling; going from before sunrise to way past dark. Going, going, going. Running late, on schedule, early. Got to go to school, got to go to work, got to go shopping. Got to cut the yard. Got to wash the cars. Got to paint the house. Got to cook. Got to clean. We make time for everything, from watching TV to playing sports. We are a very busy bunch of people.

6 days a week, isn’t there 7? Sure, and Sunday is the one day of the week that is different than the rest. Sometimes on a Sunday morning I think I could drive blindfolded to church and not run the risk of hitting anyone. Streets are quiet with only a hint of traffic. Sure, it picks up later in the day, but not the mornings. Why? We have plenty of churches here in town and most of them have services about the same time in the mornings. Why are people not hustling and bustling to their places of worship like they do the other 6 days of the week to all of the other places? Because they are not going.

How is the attendance at your congregation? Is your parking lot full and overflowing? Do you have to circle the parking lot like a vulture looking for food to find a spot to park like you do at the mall on a Friday night? Is the auditorium full with standing room only like a state finals basketball game at the local gym? Is your Bible school attendance always near 100% like schools because people can’t afford to miss? Does your elders constantly have to stand up and announce to slow down on the contribution giving because they are way over budget and they don’t know what they can do with extra money? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any of this where I live. Why? I think it is because we live in a society today that doesn’t have a relationship with God. I hate to admit it, but I think it is true. We live in a society where people think that there relationship with God is just fine the way it is and that He is happy with us and everything is just hunky dory. Just live a good life, be a good citizen, pay your bills, do a good deed every now and then, and everything is cool. Maybe even sing the words to “God bless America” for good measure.

You know what, that just doesn’t cut it. Not at all. God created the church for us. Not for Him. God knew we needed the church. We need to meet together. We need the fellowship. We need the opportunity to worship Him as a family. He knew we needed an accountability group. He knew we needed mentors. He knew we needed role models. He knew we needed a support group. He knew we needed a networking group. We need church. Should I say it again? WE NEED CHURCH. And if our relationship with God won’t get us to church how in the world can we expect it to get us to heaven? How???

Time to wake up people. No excuses. No “reasons.” I hear them all of the time, from people that I am close to. “I have to work.” “I have to go out of town.” “I have to get some rest; it is the only day I can get some real sleep.” “I don’t get along with the people at church.” “I don’t fit in.” “I just don’t get anything out of the service.” Shall I go on? How many have you heard? And these are from people within the church!!! What about all of the others out there?

We need to be about building relationships with God. We need to be about building relationships at church. We need to be about building up the church; after all, didn’t Jesus buy it with His own blood? We need to get focused, get ready, and get out. We need to get out and be about the work of the kingdom. There are countless numbers of people that we see everyday that do not have a relationship with God. And you know what? When we do, the churches are going to be full. There really won’t be a place to park. There really will be perfect attendance. There really will be too much money in the contribution plates. And the Devil will be shaking in his boots because he will realize that the game is on and that his opponents are fighting him, and not against ourselves.

So, when you plan your week, plan your activities, plan your schedules, plan your whatever it is that you are planning, put God, and church, at the center of it all. If it messes up your plans, your plans are messed up. If it messes up your schedule, then your schedule is messed up.

This might be your wake-up call, but it might be the best thing you have done in quite a while. I will end using the words of another sign I saw at another church, “Work for God. Daily bonuses. Retirement benefits out of this world!”

Working with you in the kingdom,


Wednesday, June 1

The work continues in Honduras

When we departed Tegucigalpa last Friday, 2 of our beloved team remained behind. Randy and Melissa Kluge, from the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota, Florida, stayed behind to do another week’s worth of work before coming home. These 2 are totally on fire for Torch and the work in Honduras. They have played a big part in much of the work that is going on right now in the Valley of Angels and other areas around the capital. 10 days was just not enough for them so they made arrangements with Tim and Gena and decided to keep right on working.

In the past 5 days since the team’s departure 3 additional houses have been built. The needy families, living in Nueva Oriental, now have beautiful new homes to live in. You can read more about the families and the work on Tim and Gena’s blog, www.waywalkers.blogspot.com . Besides all of this, Randy and Melissa are working on the new church building going up at the Valley of Angels. The project, overseen by the Central Church of Christ from Sarasota, and the Washington Street Church of Christ in Fayetteville, Tennessee, is on schedule to be completed by the end of July of this summer. Our July teams will be working on the building along with all of the other projects we have planned for the trips.

We are 30 days away from departing again with our July teams. The July 1-10 and the July 13-24 teams are both 100 strong and are biting at the bit to get down there to begin their work. Excitement is in the air as each day passes. Of course, before we get there 3 additional Torch teams will have already have been there to work. Summer is a busy time for mission work for Torch. Nearly 1,000 will participate with our programs this year!

As always, God bless you all that support and pray for us on a regular basis. We appreciate it so much and know it could not be done without the guidance we receive through Jesus Christ. We lift Him up in everything we do and seek to do His will always.

Wishing you the best.