Our Mission Statement

Tuesday, July 26

Thank you to everyone!

Back in the States
Thank you to everyone who made every moment of this trip possible. Whether or not you were present in Honduras, you made a significant impact.

To those who supported us...thank you for your encouraging and supportive words. Thank you for the material and financial donations. Thank you, especially, for the countless prayers you lifted up on our behalf.

To my computer people...thank you to everyone who took time to read the daily messages and wrote back to us homesick friends. Thank you to my fabulous point people: Allen, David, Karen, Laurie, Ryan, Mardee, Margaret, Mrs. Roberts, Rachel, and Trish. Thank you to the TORCH people that helped many late nights: Brandy Barnett (the world's best intern), Katie Wells, Wendy Allen, Esperanza Massana, Hannah Wood, Ross Vego, Joseph Noto, and Jack Lipsey.

To the TORCH members...thank you for pouring out your hearts to the people of Honduras. Thank you for every smile, embrace, and kind word (even if it was in broken Spanish). Thank you for every heavy rock you lifted, every nail you hit (every thumb you hit), and every rain drop you endured. Thank you for seeking the will of God and allowing Him to use you daily. Remember that we are all "children of the King" and can do His work in the States, also.

Galatians 6:10,

The Retreat Weekend

Retreat Weekend (Friday, July 22 - Sunday, July 24)
We all enjoyed the time spent at the Marriott Hotel in Tegucigalpa. There were massages, manicures, pedicures, pool visits, scrumptious meals, goosefeather pillows, huge beds, opportunities to flush toilet paper, and the list only gets better.

Saturday, our guys had a soccer match against the Cobras (special forces team of Honduras). Last year, we faced them and won. They couldn't believe a bunch of Gringos (and some Hispanic recruits) could do so well. They have been itching for a rematch. I'm not sure they got what they wanted, because our guys beat them 6-5. Goals were scored by Rodolfo Herrera (3), Matthew Taylor, Nathan Reeves, and Brett Mitchell. MVP for the game was given to Jedidiah Hostetler (Little Hoss) for his remarkable efforts.

Saturday night, the devotional thought was given by Nathan Reeves. He shared his testimony in how God has continued to bless his life. He was born January 31, 1984 to the most amazing parent. He has lived many places and traveled a great deal. In college he found a moment that happens to everyone at some time. He hit a wall and gave up to God's power and control. He asked for God to heal his father and prayed that God take over his life. From that point, he began to change his way of living to allow a focus on God's will. Psalm 139 was an encouragement, as it states that God knows everything about us. God has put certain people in all of our lives. God puts these people in our lives for a reason--you just need to look for it. "You can't mistake what God is doing in your life."

Sunday, we had church service before checking out and going to the airport. Terry Reeves gave a sermon that summed up the past few weeks. He encouraged us to remember all that had happened in Honduras. We should continue strong and follow God's plan for our lives back in the States.

Nos vemos (We'll see you),

Monday, July 25

Our Last Work Day

[I apologize for the delay in this update. "Welcome to Honduras" occurred for me when the Internet went down Saturday night and did not return before we left on Sunday. Many of you have already come in contact with your loved ones and are blessed by their presence. Savor the moments and enjoy the updates on this site as they come at spaced intervals.]

Friday, July 22
The day began with an inspiring and uplifting devotional by Shane Yoder. He relayed a story to us concerning one of his opportunities he had to surf. When he looked out upon the ocean, he was taken back by the enormous waves. He stood on ground deciding if he should take the chance. Then, he realized that after coming that far, he had to at least try. He studied the waves once more before paddling out. Once he made it out, there was a surprising ease. This is how our faith has to be; turn everything to God and allow him to handle everything.

We then loaded up all our luggage to be transported to the retreat. We pulled out of the mission house and traveled 1.5 hours to the Didasko orphanage. Earlier this morning (around 5:30), a small team traveled to the orphanage to finish the playground. When the second group arrived around 11:15, we were amazed at the progress of the building. While the builders continued, the rest of us hosted a carnival for the kids. We had most of the games that were present at the last two carnivals. Surprisingly, the kids didn't spend much time playing these games. As a testament to their character, they chose to spend time with us. Some colored and blew bubbles while the older kids played soccer. Not many tickets were won, but prizes were gladly dispensed.

The kids needed to leave for a school trip at 1:30. Many were worried about the completion of the playground. Yet, God guided our workers the entire time. They finished at 12:45, allowing time for the kids to enjoy "Terry World" before leaving. Jorge (headmaster of the orphanage) gave a thank you speech and named the playground after our humbled and astonished leader. The kids loved it--maybe as much as Terry Reeves did.

Shortly after the grand opening, we left the orphanage for the Marriott Hotel in Tegucigalpa. There we began our relaxation and reflection. The night devotional thought was given by Dr. Joe Roberts. He "refreshed our hearts" by speaking about how Christ delivered us from eternal condemnation. Revelation 12 gives us a glimse of what was going on in Heaven when Jesus died and was buried. The war has been won in Heaven, yet we face the battles here on earth.

"Where did you see Jesus?"
  • In the group who worked long and hard on the playground. They did an amazing job, and it was awesome to see the kids play.
  • In Edgar (an old friend from when the Crew took the kids to KFC) who called a TORCH member the only word he knew in Spanish: "brother". Again, in Edgar who told another TORCH member that he would be praying for him. A third time, in Edgar who prayed in Spanish for a TORCH member, who only recognized his own name. Then that member prayed for Edgar in English; Edgar most likely only knew his own name, also.
  • In Niki who has grown so much toward God. It has been amazing to watch her use her Spanish throughout the trip.
  • In Jorge as he is an example of how to be a servant as well as leader.
  • In Shane and the awesome devo. When people complemented him, he simply replied, "God was speaking through me." Also, today he sat in the middle of the playground and was absorbed in the beautiful sight of all the kids playing around him.

Gracias a Dios por todos (Thanks to God for everything),


Saturday, July 23

Patience is a virtue

I just wanted to write and let you know we are safe and on our retreat at the Marriott Hotel in Tegucilgapa. Everyone is busy- including me. So, I promise to write tonight (even if it is 3 am) to tell you about our last work day which was incredible!

Gracias por su paciencia (Thank you for your patience),


Friday, July 22

The last days are near

Thursday, July 21
WOW!! Is this trip really almost over? I cannot believe how fast time goes by when you are working for the LORD. It seems like yesterday the first group arrived. Now we are at the end of the last group´s trip. I have to say it has been a pleasure keeping all of you informed on the progress being made here, but we´re still not finished...

Today started off like all other days with a great breakfast (eggs, ham, and toast). About eleven people left at about 7:30 am for Didasko to finish the playground. For the rest of us, Devo was at 8am. Nolan led singing this morning. Singing has been amazing, I wish all of you could be here to participate in it. After a few songs Paul Forshey from Kentucky gave us the lesson for the day. He talked about why he wanted to come to Honduras. He mentioned how God brought us all here for a reason. God put in this group so many different talents. He challenged us to go out today and use all our talents. Paul did a wonderful job, just like all the others have done.
After devo, we split up into three groups: a paint crew, construction crew, and a crew to do random things. The Didasko team continued there work on the playground. The kids were still so grateful. Matt Mitchell said that all the kids were willing to help out in anyway possible. Terry Reeves was telling us tonight that the team ran out of wood. The worst thing about this situation is none of the members on the team spoke English. Luckly, Terry was able to contact the director of the orphanage to ask if they could use some wood by a storage room. The director said, ¨No, but follow me.¨ He took Terry to the storage room and opened the door. Terry said that there was wood in the storage room. The director then said, ¨Anything of ours is yours.¨ He let Terry use all of the wood in the room, isn´t that awesome? Although the he let them use all of the wood there was still not enough. The team was unable to finish the playground today, but they are leaving at 5:30 am to finish it. These guys are troopers. The painting and construction team went to Nuevo Oriental to paint and build a house. This group worked non-stop all day. They left at 9 am and returned at at about 6:45 pm. They painted 2 and 1/2 houses and built one new home. They did awesome today. For last group today was a relaxing day. This group went out to the Valley of Angels to shop and distribute food. There were about 50 of us. About 8 went to distribute food, while the others shopped for gifts. When we finished there we left for lunch. After lunch we were able to go to the biggest Cathedral in Teguce. There we sang, might I add that there is a 5 to 7 second echo. Yes it was AMAZING!! At about 4 pm we left to go to the blind school. The Blind School is probably one of the most emotionally draining places we go. When we got there, we played with the kids, handed out toys, candy, etc. They loved it. After sometime playing, we went into a room where we sang a few songs for them. When we finished, they sang to us. Their singing will bring tears to your eyes (male or female). It is truely Heaven. They sang about 5 or 6 songs and by the last song there was not a dry eye in the building. God is Awesome!! When all the songs were sang, we took the kids back outside to play a little while longer. That time went by too fast. We left at about 5:45 pm headed back to the mission house.
We got back at the mission house at about 6:15, followed by the construction at 6:45, and then by the Didasko team at 7:30. We had roast, rice, and a roll for supper, it was wonderful as always. After supper we had devo at 8. Singing was led by our awesome leader, Terry Reeves, amazing once again. After several songs Pat Gutherie, from PA, gave the devo. Pat gave his testimony tonight. He has been through more than anyone could ever guess just by talking to him. He thanked Gracie and Rich Gutherie for the help they gave him. He said that if it hadn´t been for Gracie he would probably still be a ¨Sunday Christian¨ Praise God, that Pat has people in his life like Rich and Gracie. We all need to be willing to help each other, and Gracie is a great example for us all.

Tonight is our last night at the Mission House. We will all be home very soon. We love you all, and thank you for your prayers. God Bless You all!!

Where did you See Jesus?
Jesus was seen in a little boy at the Blind school who was being held by Brandy Barnett. The little boy put his hand one her chest and said this is my sister.
Jesus was seen in Steve Baker at the constuction sight. A little girl grabbed him and he played and talked to her all day.
Jesus was seen at the Blind school when the children were singing.
Jesus was seen in the community at Nuevo Oriental. The truck that delivered the tin got stuck in the mud and people from the community came to help push it out. While they did this a lady brought plates of food for the ones working to get the truck out.
Jesus was seen in the paint crew at Nuevo Oriental. They finished a lot sooner than the construction team and instead of complaining they played with the kids and helped out in anyway they could.
Jesus was seen in Carlos, the preacher at the Valley of Angels. We went to distribute food there today, but instead of distributing the food in the Valley, Carlos took the group to a community that has not had any help yet. It is so awesome to see his concern for not only the Valley people, but also the ones in the surrounding communities.

Thanks so much for all your prayers. We will be home soon. We miss you all and can´t wait to tell you our own personal stories.
In Him
Brandy B

Thursday, July 21

Welcome Home, Choluteca Group

July 18th - 20th Choluteca Update

Friday, July 18:
We pulled out of the mission house at 8:20 am. Leaving early was consoled by our fearless leader who brought Duncan Donuts for the bus ride. To save time, we had a singing devotional on the bus. We trucked it hard until around 11:20 when we stopped for lunch. When we loaded back up at 12:20, we made it about a mile down the road when the bus broke down. A truck full of supplies was traveling with us; we thought to use his battery to jump the bus. However, we learned that here in Honduras, they put padlocks on some of their batteries. Do they do this in the States? Did I miss the memo? Anyway, we didn’t have the key or any way to break through, so we asked a small truck to jump us. To our surprise, God provided, and it worked. We arrived at our hotel around 1pm. We unloaded the supplies from large truck into the bus (which left us with 10 benches for 28 people). When we pulled out of the hotel, we stopped by a local automotive shop and purchased a new battery. Finally, we left for the meeting place.

Choluteca, like many other places in Honduras, has suffered from the weather conditions. We knew beforehand that we would be unable to drive back to the villages (Porvenir, Agua Agria, Laurelada, La Cabezas, Llano Limpio, Ocotillo). Timateo Estrada (wonderful man and active participant in our construction work here in Honduras) is from Choluteca and arranged for the people in his home village to walk to the main road to receive food, clothing, medical care, and Biblical study time. The meeting place was perfect—an obvious sign from God. A sweet, old lady opened up her very nice and spacious home for us to use and allowed us to drive up into her front yard.

We arrived to meet approx. 150 people at 2:45. When we questioned the people, many stated that they had waited two to four hours. These patient people had to wait another hour while we set up the distribution stations (shoes, clothing for all ages, toys, food boxes, and water in bottles). We gave out clothes from the bus; then we had the other areas set outside the bus. At 3:45 we began to bring in three to four families at a time. We continued this cycle until 6:30.

During this time, the VBS team flew into full swing. The teens started working with the 42 kids while Paul Forshey and A.B. (our favorite male El Salvadorian) handled the adult Bible study (110 adults). Paul was quick to point out that before today, he had never had his sermon interrupted by a herd of cattle. He covered main points of creation to redemption.

Unfortunately, people were still waiting for items when we needed to pack up. So, we left the remaining clothes, shoes, and toys with the man who had been taking charge of the families. Juan Dario Flores (Dario) did a fantastic job of keeping up with who had been seen and letting in families. He did have some help, though. Milton, Timateo’s son, traveled from Teguc with us to see some of his family and to help. He did a tremendous job—we couldn’t have done so well without him.

After a fabulous Wendy’s dinner, we headed back to the hotel for showers—boy did we need them! The Hondurans state, “Choluteca is where the devil goes to get a hot cup of coffee.” They are not joking! Clean and refreshed (well, most of us), 27 of us gathered in a small hotel room to praise our Father in Heaven. Paul Forshey gave the lesson and recapped his experience today. He used II Corinthians 3:18 as a reference as he spoke about how we represent Christ to these communities. Many people cam from all over the U.S. because of the love God has given us—now we need to share that love.

Tuesday, July 19
For those who wanted to pay 100 limperas, there was an excellent breakfast buffet (beans, bacon, ham, eggs, pancakes, fruit, and fresh-squeezed orange and watermelon juices). We had devotional by the pool, and it was a beautiful site. Brett Mitchell (Canada, Nashville, Alabama—he is from everywhere) encouraged us to be in the Word and to be praying fervently. He used Matthew 4:4 and I Corinthians 13:1-3 to relay the message. We then split into different places in the area and had ten minutes to pray and read the Bible. When we returned, we found out the plans for the day.

We arrived at the meeting place at 9am and set up all the medical supplies in the living room of the little, old lady. Senora Coronada—she was so giving, kind, and gentle. We arranged all the medical jobs: Niki and Milton at the front gate taking names and translating their problems / Katie, Candy, and Margaret working in the pharmacy / Gary and Erin pharmacy runners for the medical people / Judy and Anna wound care medics / Sparky and Val medical advisors to see patients / A.B., Michelle, and Jennifer translators for the medical people. Everyone else (Jacylyn, Travis, Justin, Tyson, Andrea, Chalee, Little Hoss, Lindsey, Miranda, Tara, Devin, Paul, Erika, Brett) was considered VBS team and played with the children while the clinic took place. The clinic continued until 4:00; we saw 140 patients. A.B. had to leave his station to help Paul with the adult Bible study (70 adults) at 2:30 pm. The VBS team did a great job with the VBS (60 kids) and gave out peanut butter and honey sandwiches and bottled water.

Dario (the man leading the communities) had us all gather at the end of the day for a prayer and words of encouragement. He was gracious and considerate, asking forgiveness for any wrong that may have been done. He also thanked us for our hard work and told us to go home content and happy with what we had done in the two days. We, then loaded the bus to go back to the hotel to shower before dinner. Most of us ate at Wendy’s, again. Others braved the pizza restaurant next door. Afterwards, we ran to the grocery store to stock up. Then we headed back to the hotel for another poolside devotional.

Sparky (Steve Kemp) gave the thought tonight. He encouraged us to pray for each of the many facets we do here in Honduras. “If you have faith in the work you are doing, God will take care of you.” He reminded us that God has a plan for all of us. We need to pray for these opportunities.

“Where did you see Jesus?”
· In the lady who cleaned her house and allowed us to use it and was so gracious.
· In Chalee playing with the kids and singing with all of her heart even when she wasn’t completely sure of her Spanish.
· In Jed who was playing soccer with a bunch of boys. A little girl came up to him and wanted him to go with her. So, he left the game and colored for a couple hours.
· In Niki in how she did her best translating for the medical clinic and was so welcoming as well as how she did as a leader for the VBS team.
· In Michelle, A.B., Niki, Milton, and Jen speaking Spanish and then English and then back again. They didn’t get frustrated and even absorbed some of the pain from the patients.
· In all the stuff we have been able to distribute in the past two days. They all come from acts of love from people back home that we know and even people we don’t know.
· In Dario who wanted us to feel good about what we had done. God was speaking through him to tell us that we should be content in what we accomplished and to not worry about what we didn’t get done.
· In Sparky and Val doing what Jesus did in dealing with each individual person’s needs. They did not rush or get flustered. They simply did the best for each person.

Wednesday, July 20
The breakfast buffet was basically the same items (with some pound cake added). Not many showed for breakfast because they chose to sleep in. Devotional began at 8:30 by the pool. A.B. of El Salvador (and Harding) gave an analogy between our lives and hacked computer systems. We walk around with holes in our system, which need to be repaired by Jesus. Otherwise, the devil can hack his way into our lives. We need to put up our guard from Satan and allow Jesus to fix the problems.

After loading the luggage, we traveled the three-hour drive with only one stop. This put us back at 1pm. We took a few minutes to unpack and then started to work on food boxes. We spend one and half hours bagging (and then boxing) beans, flour, sugar, rice, salt, coffee, bouillon cubes, lard, tomato paste, and spaghetti noodles. We made 99 boxes to add to the stack of 120 boxes that will be passed out some day soon.

We then spent the rest of the day relaxing until the rest of the teams rolled in around 6pm.

Buenas noches,

Our Final VBS

Wednesday, July 20
Today we had pancakes, and fruit for breakfast. The singing at devo was led by Ty Steffy, beautiful as usual. The lesson was presented by Jack from Memphis. He read scripture from Rom. 8:31-39. This consist of the verse If God is for us who can be against us. Jack wanted us to realize that God is for us and wants us to follow Him. He sent His Son to die on the cross for us and He is pleading for us to follow Him so we can spend eternity with Him. Jack spoke on how God´s love will always be with us no matter what we do. He encouraged us to come to Jesus because God will be there for us when no one else is. Jack did a wonderful job this morning, and he is truely a man of God.

Before devo a group went back to Didasko to try to finish the play ground. After devo we split us into three more groups. A group of 10 went to Nuevo Oriental to build a house along with a group of 7 to paint. The remaining members were VBS members. Today The VBS crew went to Nuevo Oriental to distribute food before going to the Valley of Angels for VBS. We had the great honor of riding on Elroy. For those of you who didn´t know, we thought Elroy had died, but he went to the doctor and had major surgery. I am glad to announce that Elroy is alive and running as smooth as ever. Anyway, we were able to distributed about 100 boxes of food today. We had about 90 or so left over, so we gave it to one of the town officials. He will be handing the rest of them out to needy families. When we had finished distributing food, we loaded up the bus and made our way to the Valley of Angels. We arrived in the Valley right on time, 2:00 pm on the dot. We unloaded all the VBS supplies along with the carnival supplies and made our way to the town square where we had conducted VBS for the past two days. After unloading all the supplies we began singing. When we had sang three songs we did a skit called the Sin Box. Neil was the lucky one to get ¨stuck¨ in the sin box. He did a wonderful job along with the others in showing how sneaky sin is. Sin looks so good, but when you are in it only Jesus can save you. After that skit was finished we sang some more and had more skits. When all the skits were finished we handed out sandwiches for all the kids, and set up the carnival supplies. The kids loved the carnival. They were able to enjoy popcorn, cotton candy, games, and lot of prizes. After about an hour we had to load up the supplies and head up to the mission house.

We arrived back at the mission house at about 5:30 pm and were greeted by the Choluteca team. They made it back safe, praise God. It was almost time for supper when we got back, so we all washed up and made our way to the mess hall. Tonight we had noodles in some type of sauce (don’t ask me), Hawaiian ham with pineapples, carrots, and rolls. After dinner, we had time to catch up with the Choluteca team on all the progress they made; Jen Arnold will have that update. Then we headed to the chapel.

Devotional had a great deal of “popcorn” singing (in honor of Andy Polk). The lesson was given by Rich Guthrie of PA. He gave a powerful testimony and read Psalm 91. While in Iraq, he read this passage a great deal. He has found comfort knowing that God has kept him around through so many things. He knows God has a reason for him, just like He does for all of us.

“Where did you see Jesus?”
· In the people who walked as much as three hours to meet our group in Choluteca.
· In the kids at Didasko who were thanking the workers before they even started to build the playground.
· In the posts of one of the houses that was built. The wood had so many splinters and was so rough, it is hard to imagine what the cross must have been like for Jesus.
· In the kids at Didasko who remembered a crew member who returned to build a playground. They were so happy to see him.
· In Mark Herrera who took the time to sit and draw with a little girl amidst the chaos of the carnival around him.
· In Shane who gave his shirt to a little boy on the mountain when they were giving out food.
· In Devin taking care of everyone in Choluteca. He did so many thoughtful things behind the scenes to make everyone as comfortable as possible.
· In the way God has brought us all together to serve Him.
· In the people who stepped up and helped Brandy to do the blog while Jen was away.
· In our staff here at the mission house that takes so much time and care to prepare our meals.
· In the view at the overlook. Even with so much poverty, you can find a moment of peace to appreciate God’s creation.
· In the family units who were able to come down here together and do such awesome work for the Lord.
· In the children saying the prayers the past three days of VBS. They have been innocent and beautiful, asking God to watch over those with no homes and over the Americans who have come to teach the Bible.
· In Tyler Steffy who busted it all day with the construction crew and simply looked beat at dinner from giving so much of himself.
· In Jose, a little boy who helped hold a paint tray up for one of the TORCH members who was painting high on a house. He did his best to reach as far as he could.

Thank you for keeping up with the blog,
Dios te bendiga (God bless you),
JMA & Brandy B.

Tuesday, July 19

God is Good all the Time

Tuesday, July 19
It has been an absolutely amazing day today. God has blessed us with two really beautiful days. He has held the rain for us and I hope He will continue to hold the rain off for the next couple days. Today we had breakfast between 7:00 and 8:00 am (toast, cereal, and fruit). Nolan led singing this morning, which was amazing. After a few songs Neil Hillis from Memphis, TN spoke to us. He spoke on how God sees all we do and the things we do not do. We are held accountable for all we do. Neil challenged us to give everyone a chance. On the day of Judgment we will hopefully not be looking back and saying “There’s another one, why didn’t I tell them about God?” He also challenged us to do our best and reach out to everyone we come in contact with. Neil did an amazing job.

After devo we broke up into two teams again. A team of 20 went back to Nuevo Oriental. There they painted four houses. Three of the houses were pink and half of another house was painted pink. The team ran out of pink paint so they finished the house in white. They will go back tomorrow to finish. This team also built a house while they were there. They started working at around 12pm and finished at about 5pm. Good job today team. Another construction team of nine went to Didasko orphanage to build a play ground, “Walt Disney World Honduras”. The structure will have three large towers with multi-levels, with slides, swings, suspension bridge, fireman poll, and a climbing rope. The neatest thing was they went out there Monday to meet with the director to tell them what there plans were, the director must have told the kids because as soon as they arrived this morning the kids already thanked them before they had begun. These children are very grateful for what they have, which is little. We should remember this and be grateful for the multitude of blessings that God blesses us with everyday. The remaining members went with the VBS team to the Valley of Angels today. The VBS team did an amazing job. Each person put on the show of there lives. We were all extremely tired before we got there, but as soon as we stepped of the bus our fatigue was lifted. God does amazing things to people while they are here and lifting fatigue is one of those things. It is hard to explain, it’s just one of those things you have to experience yourself. Neil Hillis helped Esperanza with the introduction today. He greeted them in Spanish, which was hysterical. Every time he wanted to say something he would ask Esperanza how to say and then repeat it like 10 times before actually saying it to the kids. The children loved his enthusiasm. When the skits began, which were wonderful, Mark and Nayanne took the adults to do an adult Bible study. After the Bible study was completed Nayanne took the ladies and studied more with them. When the skits and Bible study were finished, everyone had an opportunity to play with the children. We had TORCH members chasing kids, playing games, drawing, jump roping, etc. it was wonderful. The VBS team did an amazing job today, and I commend them for not letting the language be a barrier.

We left the Valley of Angels at about 4:45 pm, and got back to the mission house at about 5:45. We cleaned up and went to supper. We had an amazing meal tonight, salad, chicken, and pasta, yum yum!! After supper we loaded up the buses and went to Baskin’ Robins for dessert. We had an opportunity to sit down with our fellow brothers and sisters and talk about the day. It was defiantly an awesome day for everyone. Praise God!! My favorite saying is God is good all the time and all the time God is good, and today it was proven. God bless you all, good night.

Brandy B

Monday, July 18

VBS Rocks

Monday, July 18
Today was a great day for VBS! God blessed us with a beautiful morning this morning. For breakfast we had french toast, omelets, fruit, and orange juice (YUMMY!!). After breakfast we said our goodbyes to the Choluteca team of 24. They will have the great honor of riding 3 hours west of Teguce. While in Choluteca they will conduct a VBS, set up a medical clinic, and distribute food and clothes. Good luck team, and God’s speed.

After they left, we went to the chapel for devotional. Today Tyler Steffy from Dayton, PA presented the devo. This is Ty’s fifth year on a TORCH trip. He began by telling us how Honduras has taught him to be more thankful for what he has. When you are here you become more thankful for the little things. Ty gave us examples like “We throw our clothes out because they are out of fashion, but the poor throw them away because their clothes are worn by washing them on rocks.” “They are poor and humble, we are rich and proud.” These are great points and Ty gave them to us because he wants us to be content with what we have. These people have little and want little, but we have a lot and want more. Ty did an amazing job with his lesson, I wish you all could have been here. Thank you Ty.

Today, the remaining members of our team split into two groups. A construction group of 20 went with Joe (a fulltime missionary) to Nuevo Oriental. The remainder, which was the VBS crew, went to the Special Needs orphanage. While the construction crew gathered the equipment, the VBS team made about 250 peanut butter and honey sandwiches and lemonade. After both teams were finished gathering the needed supplies, we went our separate ways.

The construction team went to Nuevo Oriental. There the team built a house, painted a house, and painted two classrooms in a school that had been built on a previous trip. The VBS team left for the Special Needs orphanage at around 9:30. Everyone was anxious to go to the orphanage. When we got there everyone was quick to grab toys, stuffed animals, and bubbles so they could interact with the children. We were there for about 15 minutes when Mark Herrera decided to sing some fun songs. We started out by singing the potato chip song. The kids loved it. Mark was hilarious, he over exaggerated every movement. We did four or five different songs, and every TORCH member participated, it was so awesome to see the joy in the eyes of the children. Who knew that acting crazy could bring so much joy to people. Afterward, different individuals took children outside around the playground. It is so beautiful there, and the children are amazing. We played with the children for about one and ½ hours, then we made our way to the Valley of Angels for VBS.

The ride to the Valley was so long. We got stuck in a traffic jam in down town Teguce, that was interesting, but “welcome to Honduras”. We finally arrived in the Valley about 15 minutes late. The children were waiting on us when we got there, so we had to put our game faces on immediately. While the VBS team got ready to do there skits, the others played with the kids. When they were ready, Esperanza, Wendy, and I did some VBS songs. That was interesting. Wendy and Esperanza know Spanish, but I do not have a clue. I did my best anyway. The kids didn’t know a lot of the songs, so Esperanza got Mark Herrera and Neil Hillis to do the fun songs we did at the Special Needs Orphanage. Neil is the funniest guy ever and when you put him and Mark together, well let’s just say we were brave today. The children, once again loved it. After our performance, the actors were ready to go. They did an amazing job. The kids really loved it, and participated in it. Great job guys!! When the skits were finished, we lined the children up so they could get there sandwiches and drinks. We finished just in time for it to start raining, again.

We arrived back at the Mission House at about 4:30. During this time some people wrote in their journals, played soccer, and napped. The construction team got back at about 6 and we went straight to supper. Tonight’s supper was delicious. We had chips, rice, beans, and beef tips, it was great. When supper was finished, we went to the chapel for devotional. Steve Baker from South Carolina did the devo tonight. Steve gave his testimony tonight. He is a wonderful guy and has been through a lot of struggles. He grew up in the Church and has a great family, but he was somewhat rebellious. After a few years of his rebellion he went on a mission trip to Australia that changed his life. Now he is faithful and lets God lead his life. He told us this so we would trust God and let Him control our lives. He ended by singing a song, which was called I Surrender. It was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

We ended the night like every night with Where did you see Jesus?

Jesus was seen in Pat, Ken, and Mr. Hoss today while they built a house. They made sure every nail was perfect. We have a new saying this year “No Junk for Jesus”, they made sure the house was not junk.

Jesus was seen in Aly today at the Special Needs Orphanage. Aly found one little boy and focused on him the whole time. She was amazing with this little boy.

Jesus was seen in Katie Haab. Katie is always enthusiastic about everything she does. She is such and inspiration to all of us here.

Jesus was seen in Taft today at the Special Needs Orphanage. Taft fed one of the kids because the child was physically unable to feed himself. Taft’s patience was greatly admired.

Thank you all for reading the blogs, we all really appreciate the prayers. God Bless you and until next time…

Brandy B

Sunday, July 17

A Relaxing Sunday

Sunday, July 17
Breakfast was served from 7-8, and church was not until 9:30 am. So, you guessed it, many people took advantage of this and missed breakfast to sleep. However, they missed some good stuff—papaya, pineapple, toast with fixings, and ham omelets. And some of us were lucky enough to sneak some leftover donuts. Shhh! It’s a secret.

I am so proud of all of these young men we have. Since Andy Polk left on Friday, AB and Mark have stepped up to the plate to lead us. They have done a great job. Also, many guys helped this morning with a semi-traditional service: Brett Mitchell, Jeremy Quillian, Brian Davenport, Nathan Reeves, and Rich Guthrie.

Ken Wells gave a moving testimony of what he has learned in life. He has learned integrity from his father while growing up on a farm. He has learned responsibility from his time as a pilot in the air force. He has learned spirituality from his experiences as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He stated that we need to pass on our knowledge and experiences down through the generations. He also encouraged us to make Jesus our reference and standard, because there are others around you looking at you to guide them.
He used Romans 12:5 and John 8:31, and reminded us to allow God to mold our character from our experiences here in Honduras and through life.

When it came time for the offering, Nathan informed everyone of the vibrant past and desolate present of a community named San Miguel. His descriptions brought to life the necessity of the help for this area that has been devastated by rain and mudslides. We gave a total of $1,243 to help in the relief efforts of San Miguel.

Today was a relaxing day for most. After church, a group of 65 loaded a bus (yes, it was packed) to go to lunch and then to the Valley of Angels. They spent the first two hours passing out 1,200 flyers in large groups. Then they were able to shop the many markets.

A handful of people took a truck to the bodega to load supplies for Choluteca. The two VBS teams stayed at the mission house to practice for several hours. Little Ceasar’s Pizza was a fabulous treat for lunch. At 2:45pm, the bodega group returned and we all loaded a bus to meet up and shop with the people at Valley of Angels.

With all of us united again at the Valley of Angels, we pulled out at 5:15 to go to dinner at a nice restaurant in Hotel Santa Lucia. There was live music (even a song by two of our very own--Tyson from Florida and Whitney from Tennessee) and a lot of fun as we enjoyed an extravagant (well, at least compared to what we have been eating) dinner. We left with intentions to go to a Catholic cathedral for devotional. However, the road had been blocked, and we could not find an alternate route. So, we traveled back to the mission house to have our devo. We had a singing and prayer service. The singing was led by Nathan Reeves while Travis Shivers, Gary Davenport, Jeremy Quillian, Taft Ayers, and Matt Taylor lifted up prayers.

Gracias por todos (Thank you for everything),

Games All Day Long

Saturday, July 16
Breakfast was heaven today. One of the cooks (sweet, little old lady) took time to prepare by hand some donuts and pastelitos (pastries) with strawberry filling. We also had fruit and (don’t ask me why) grilled cheese sandwiches. ??? It must be a Honduras thing.

Matthew Taylor from Freed (and KY) gave an uplifting devotional talk. He used Psalms and Revelation in reference to the things we see here in this world that we will not see in Heaven. We will not experience the pain, heartache, and tears from many things, including the following: older people who are frail, poverty, and hungry children.

Today all 92 of us packed three buses for quite an adventure. It was nice for the entire team to be able to work together. Most days we are split and don’t have the same stories and experiences. It is a blessing to have so many to be able to reach so many. However, the unity was crystal clear today.

We arrived at Good Shepherd Orphanage (run by an American family) to host a carnival for the kids there. We had a game of soccer, a coloring area, hand stamping, and a place to construct a large dollhouse (surprisingly, Brian Henegar had several boys to help with this). We had many stations for the kids to be able to play games and win tickets: ring toss, beanbag throw, jump rope, hoola hoops, fishing for candy, number wheel, pin the tail on the donkey, bingo, knocking down the cans, and a water balloon throw. Once the kids acquired some tickets, they were allowed to come to the prize booth to “buy” something. We had a cotton candy machine and popcorn machine going for several hours. We even had a clown! A crew made peanut butter and honey sandwiches for all the kids. I am not sure who had more fun—us or the kids. And these kids were so well behaved! It was a blessing to spend the day with them.

We then traveled to a large athletic complex with several buildings and fields—including the field that Honduras’ Olympic team uses to practice. [And let me not forget to mention the incredible food stand we found that sold pupusas.] Our fabulous group of guys (who looked very sleek in their uniforms) played against a group of employees from American Airlines. Even though the ball stayed with our offensive side most of the first half, it took many shots to finally score. However, once started, we got on a good roll. The final score was 8-5 with goals by the following: Rodolfo (5), Shane (2), and Nathan (1).

Back at the mission house we had chicken in a gravy sauce with mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, and broccoli) in a mayo sauce and rolls. We had some time to relax and shower before going down to the chapel.

It was a great day followed by a powerful devotional. Mark Herrera from Miami gave his lesson on “No Limit Love”. He used II Corinthians 11:27 and II Timothy 2:11 as his references. He spoke of tribulations and trials that we may face for Christ. However, there is a place where the strongest Christian would turn his back on Christ—in his mind. We have total control over our minds. Yet, it is in our minds that we often drop our guard. Do we edify or destroy our minds? Is your mind a place where you could have people over at the last minute? Or would you have to do some major cleaning before opening the door?

“Where did you see Jesus?”
· In Brandy Barnett as she dressed up and made the kids smile.
· In Mallory who played with a little girl all day. When Mallory put down the child as we were leaving, the little girl began to cry and Mallory comforted her as best as she could.
· In Neal trying his best to speak Spanish and playing with the kids. Even when he would make a mistake speaking, the kids and he would have even more fun laughing at what was done.
· In Brenda Myers working with some older girls, teaching them songs.
· In Rich Guthrie who just returned from Iraq. He has been the silent support guy with a smile on his face doing all the small things that needed to be done.
· In our soccer team who prayed before and after the game with the opponents. The focus on Christ was obvious.
· In Johnny, a six-year-old boy with only one leg. He just hobbled around on his crutch and had a blast playing and even translating for us.
· In a little girl named Katie who gave her picture of her and Brandy to Brandy so that Brandy could remember her.
· In a little boy who saved up 20 tickets to get a large stuffed bear for his sister.
· In two children talking with a TORCH member. When asked if they were brother and sister, they replied that they were in Christ—such a young age with such a profound statement.
· In all the kids, because they were so behaved and patient.
· In a lady who worked at the orphanage who had been there seven years. She is twenty and decided to stay and help once she was old enough to leave. It was amazing to see the love she had for the kids, who she said were her family members.

Con amor,

[On a side note, many of you read my message stating that I would be leaving Honduras. It has become apparent that God wants me here, because trying to get an early flight home has been impossible. However, I will continue to share the duties of correspondence with Brandy Barnett. Monday, I will be traveling to Choluteca while she stays here and continues communication.]

Saturday, July 16

I love this place

I have been in Honduras for the past 16 days working with some of the most wonderful people you could ever ask to meet. It has been such a busy time that I have not had the chance to get on a computer to write until tonight. We have been going at such a fast pace, working on project after project, starting early in the morning and ending late at night. As tired as we get there are so many thoughts that come to mind as I reflect each night before passing out to sleep. Even with the guided journal we are using on our trip it is hard to keep the thoughts and emotions that are running wild right now.

The first trip, in May, was a fantastic group. 30 strong, mainly college students, we got the ball rolling in such a positiive way. Then the second team, the July 1 team, came down. We had 98 on the team from all over the country. Even with the rain working ever against us, we were able to get so many things done that it was really amazing. Now the third, and final group of my teams, are here. They came down, all 92 of them, with such energy and excitiement that it has kept the momentum going at a near break-neck speed! It is amazing and unbelievable how God is using such a group as ours. Even with all of our weaknesses He finds ways to make us strong in His work down here.

There is such a unity among the groups and the team work is the best I have ever seen in the 15 years I have been coming to Honduras. So many have stepped up to carry loads to make big teams work well. It is amazing too, since I can easily remember not so long ago smaller teams that focused on one, maybe even two, projects a day. Now we are going multiple directions everyday participating in ministry opportunities that greatly vary. Our teams are being challenged to go and do the work of Jesus in ways that totally blow my mind. Just last week there were 2 Torch teams here at the same time. 170 strong, not counting Tim Hine´s or Mark Connell´s interns. On any given day 5 buses were transporting teams to work sites. We had 2 delivery trucks carrying lumber and supplies daily, not counting the rental trucks or SUV´s that Tim owns. We literally have a fleet of vehicles right now and I see every indication of more and more growth in the next few years.

Our young people are receiving valuable training and experience to carry them into the future of work within the church. Our adults are growing in number, using vast knowledge and experience that they had gained over the years. And the amazing thing is to watch the youth and the adults work side by side. Each teaching and learning from each other. What a concept. Think about that for a moment. And the coolest part about it is the fact that we are all better off.

I love it here in Honduras. I love my congregation back home in Sarasota, Florida, that supports this work so much. I love my elders who are so understanding and see the importance of allowing me to be here to lead these teams. I love the supporting congregations that participate in this work. We have such unity and purpose working together down here. I love all of those who dedicate a part of their summer to be here to work in the kingdom. And I love the visions, hopes, and goals of those who come down as they consider their roles down the road. Wow.

As we continue the trip we look forward to the challenges we will be facing. Our team is well prepared and equipt for the tasks at hand. We will not be the same people as when we first arrived, but seasoned fighters in the war against the evil one. He is at work here, but we have our eyes firmly set on Jesus and we will prevail!!! God bless you all back home, keep us in your prayers. Until next time, Dios te bendiga!


Friday, July 15

Finally No Rain

Friday, July 15
Good morning from beautiful Honduras! Today God blessed our group with very little rain. The group woke up between 6:30 and 8:00 am for breakfast (cereal, toast, and fruit). At 8:10 we made our way to chapel for morning devotional. Singing was led by Tim Hines, it was amazing. Ken Haab from Sarasota, FL gave the devo. He had two main points, “TORCH is not for sissies”, and “Spanish-big deal”. He told us we were all here by faith, and when it gets tough to pray and ask for strength. He encouraged us to pray with the families we ministered to in English or in Spanish. The people here do not care if you speak Spanish; it encourages them to see people that care enough for them. Ken ended his lesson by reading the lyrics of two songs: Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns and Here am I by Mercy Me.

After devo Terry Reeves, our fearless leader, divided us up into three. One team of 30 went to Hospital Escuela then to Nuava Oriental for clothes distribution. The second team of 20 stayed at the Mission House to sort food and pack it to have it ready for distribution. When they finished the food breakdown they went to San Filpe Hospital for visitation. The third group of 36 went to Santa Ana, 12 were evangelism and 24 were construction.

The Santa Ana group left at 9:30 and arrived at 11:00. Each of the construction workers went straight to work. The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day today, finally no rain. We were able to accomplish a lot today. In the group of 24 we split into three groups. The first group built a shelter area for the people making the concrete bricks. The second group mixed concrete and dug a footer for a wall to be built later. The third group mixed and laid concrete for a sidewalk, which was beautiful might I add until the dog walked on it. The other 12 on the evangelism team conducted a small VBS for the kids while the adults had a Bible study. All in all it was a great day at Santa Ana.

The group of 30 that went to Hospital Escuela left after the Santa Ana group. When they arrived they broke up into 4 groups. The first group, led by Nayanne, went to the cancer treatment center in the hospital. Today the treatment center was much fuller than usual, but that did not stop the TORCH members. They went in with smiles on there faces and played as much as they could with the children. The second group, led by AB, went to visit the patients in the orthopedics, and trauma units. They also prayed for the patients and played with them as much as they could. The third group, led by Mark Herrera, went to the floor with patients who had some type of infection. The last group led by Nathan Reeves and Nikki Haab went to the surgery ward. The team of 30 visited many patients today and prayed for many families, please continue praying for these people, you might not know them, but I know they appreciate every prayer.

The last group of 20 stayed on campus today. Their job was to sort medicine, and pack food. The food was late so they all pitched in to help with the medicine, but then they ran out of medicine bottles. While they waited on Sparky to get back with more bottles, and the food to arrive, the group was able to get to know each other. Sparky and the food arrived at about the same time, so the team divided up to finish the work. Most of this group consisted of rookies, but they did an awesome job today. They started bagging the food then realize they didn’t put the black plastic bags in the boxes, so they had to unpack about 40 boxes and do it over again. Then they realized they put to much coffee in the boxes, once again they had to unpack then repack. With all the complications they were still able to finish 250 boxes and 800 bottles of medicine. GO TEAM!! After the team finished boxing and sorting and re-boxing and sorting and so on, they finally got to go the San Filipe Hospital to visit with the patients there. There they visited four wards. The first consisted of mostly adults with cancer or other illnesses. Then they went to visit two pediatric wards where there were eight children total. They finished at the rehabilitation unit by seeing another hand full of kids.

At about 5:30 pm all of the TORCH members arrived back at the Mission House to clean up for supper. Tonight we had spaghetti, yummy!! After supper we went to the chapel to break up into small group discussion. This was the fist time we have had the time to do this and I am glad we did. Each group discussed what had happened the past three days and how it has affected them. This gave the group the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about each other. Let me just say there are some AMAZING people here. After we were finished with small group discussion the Mi Esperanza group came and showed us a 15 minute video on the work that they do. Mi Esperanza is a training program for women in Honduras. Women are taught different skills they can use to get a job and provide for there family. Mi Esperanza stands for My Hope in English. This program gives the women of Honduras hope. When were finished we were able to buy products made by the Honduran women. There were some beautiful things being sold.

When everyone was finished buying the beautiful merchandise, we made our way to the chapel for devo. The devotional was given by Brain Henegar from Sarasota. This is Brian’s second trip to Honduras. He began his lesson by asking, “Do you consider yourself to be faithful?” He than told the story of the women of great faith in the Bible. This woman knew if she could only touch the clothes of Jesus she would be healed. When she finally made it up to Jesus after pushing her way through a crowd all she did was touch is garment. Immediately she was healed, and Jesus knew someone had touched Him. She admitted to it and He said, “Your faith has made you well”. Brian did an excellent job on faith. The lady in the Bible was the perfect example. This was a great lesson to end a great day of work. God Bless you all!!

Brandy Barnett

Where Did You See Jesus?

One individual saw Jesus in a little girl in the medical ward at the Hospital. The girl always had a smile on her face, and would ask everyone to pray that she would not get sick again and that she could be released.

Jesus was seen in the ones working in Santa Ana. There was no complaining a enough poop mud to last a lifetime.

Jesus was seen in the nurses at the Hospital. They were concerned about the patients and asked us to pray for the patients.

Jesus was seen in the Memphis group, they worked hard today packing and re-packing and packing again, and nobody complained.

Jesus was seen in Esperanza, one of our many translators. She loves what she does, and helps in everyway she can.

Another day at Santa Ana

Thursday, July 14
A mixture of bacon and eggs, toast with all the fixings, and pineapple started the day with a good jolt. The morning devotional was led by Jeremy Quillian of Sarasota, Florida. He spoke about how God has a purpose and reason for each of us being in Honduras—through trials and tribulation.

All 90 of us bombarded the two buses to head to Santa Ana. A group of 25 took a bus to the nearby community to distribute flyers to invite adults and children to a Bible study and VBS. Everyone else moved cement bags (94 pounds each), mixed and poured cement, shoveled sand and gravel into wheelbarrows to transfer to other areas, and dug footers for a wall (in poop mud, I might add). The highlight of the day had to be the two hours of constant, steady rain.

After lunch, the evangelism team returned from giving flyers. Shortly after their return, the students began to flock into our midst. The VBS went well with coloring, singing, balloon tossing, and a storytime led by Esperanza. The adults spent time in Bible study with Dr. Joe Roberts and Michelle as a translator; all of them received New Testament Bibles.

We left early at 3:00 pm, because the rain had made a significant dent in the construction work. Once again, we rode one hour on a bus in wet and cold clothes—yippee! On the way, we saw the hand of God working. Our gas gauge was broken on the bus, and we realized just in time to coast into a gas station.

Back at the mission house, we had salad, chicken, rice, and rolls for supper. YUM! Then a large group loaded the buses to go to Mas O Menos (large grocery store in town). People stocked up on food and some splurged on ice cream.

Devotional was led by A.B. of El Salvador. He asked, “What are you doing here and why?” He encouraged us to be a vessel for Christ while here. God is an engineer who works everything at a perfect time. Being here, we are fulfilling God’s purpose. There are three types of soil, and we need to be the best. We need to focus and follow the way God is leading us.

Su amiga,

A New Beginning

Wednesday, July 13 (part two)
While the Crew was enjoying time with the children of Didasko, the new groups (Memphis, Nashville, Pennsylvania, Sarasota, Orlando, Alabama/Canada) hit the ground running. The veterans experienced a completely new beginning, and the rookies were thrown into a mix of hard work. Most of them received little to no sleep the night before their early morning flights. Yet, they dug into the work at Santa Ana with as much strength as they could muster.

Santa Ana is a piece of property purchased by IRC, an organization connected with TORCH, that is currently under construction and renovation. There are plans to build an orphanage, a police station, a church, an educational facility for Mi Esperanza, and a clinic. After a good day of work in what we affectionately call “poop mud”, the team loaded the bus (wet and dirty) to travel an hour to the mission house (Villa Gracia).

Villa Gracia is an amazing complex. We are truly spoiled while here. It sits atop a mountain with a stunning overlook perfect for reflection and Bible study times. Every morning, it seems as if you can cut the mist with a knife. The food is INCREDIBLE! I love our cooks! There is a chapel great for meeting together for devotionals. And the soccer field and basketball court get used at times.

Back at the mission house, the Crew met up and greeted the July 13th group. We gathered for dinner to have steak (yes, you heard me—read me, whatever), carrots and broccoli, rolls, and mashed potatoes that came straight from heaven. [Like I said, I love the cooks!] After dinner, everyone showered, unpacked, and relaxed until time for devotional.

Andy Polk from Nashville led the devotional thought tonight. He reflected on the expedition of the Crew the past few days. He stated, “I know nothing what it is like to live on the mountain.” The Kingdom of God is now, and it does not matter what culture, background, or experiences you bring to the trip. These people in Honduras are blessed by the fact that people care and help them.

Jesus es mi mejor amigo (Jesus is my best friend),

We're here and fired up!

Wednesday, July 13th (part one)
Safe and sound in Honduras—exactly what you all wanted to hear. The groups of people from Memphis, Pennsylvania, Sarasota, Orlando, Alabama (Canada) are already active in the work here. I will write later to give you all the details of our first and second days…but for now, I want you all to understand the communication procedures.

Please take time to thank all of our point people—I love them all for the fabulous job they are doing already. These great individuals Allen, David, Karen, Laurie, Ryan, Mardee, Mrs. Roberts, Rachel, and Trish are the “middle men”. I E-mail to them; they forward my message onto all of you in the States. The Internet can be a little crazy at times, and it helps to send to fewer people. Please remember that for responses, you need to E-mail directly to me at Missions35@msn.com. DO NOT “Reply” to the E-mail you are receiving. If you do so, it will go to one of our point persons (not to me).

Remember when E-mailing TORCH members:
DO NOT HIT “reply”
In the subject line, type “TORCH-[name of person to whom you are writing]”. I receive a great deal of junk mail and start the process of checking mail by deleting everything not labeled TORCH.
No forwards, please.
Be patient, time is limited—and even that time doesn’t always work out because the Internet may be down.

Other communication involves the blogspot. http://www.childrenoftheking.blogspot.com/ The exact same information in the E-mails will be available on the blogspot and on the links found on the blogspot. However, the blogspot will also contain pictures.

Originally, I had planned to handle all correspondence. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I am flying back to the States. I leave you in the very capable hands of Brandy Barnett of Mississippi (and Freed). She (and a few other crew girls) will be corresponding from this point on. Please be patient and considerate as Brandy has graciously agreed to step up into this new role.


Burnt Socks and Mangos

Sunday, July 10 – Wednesday, July 13
The Crew Retreat

Okay, so 24 of us were left behind. We traveled with the group back to the airport in Tegucigalpa the morning of the 10th. After saying our goodbyes, we went across the street to eat at Church’s Chicken—just as good as in the States.

If you know Terry Reeves, you know his amazing personality, vivid imagination, and inspiring creativity. He and some of his contacts designed a three day experience that none of the crew will ever forget. All surprises with significant twists.

Unaware of where we were going, we rode the bus to our first surprise—the Marriot of Tegucigalpa. And let me tell you, WHOA! This is a five-star hotel located in Tegucigalpa that made our richest fantasies occur—flushing toilet paper, nap time, controlled air and heating units, goose feather pillows, television, music, swimming pool, manicures and pedicures, massages, buffets, computer access, hot showers for as long as desired, and so much more! We lived the life of a rich man only to be taught how unfortunate this life can be.

We enjoyed this night thoroughly before our next endeavor. We awoke early on the 11th in order to go to the mission house to prepare for a day of work. When arrived at the mission house, we were given rules for what he called a “poverty simulation”. Each person was allowed to take the clothes he/she was wearing, his/her backpack, and four other items. These four items could be anything personal or necessary for survival (i.e. food, water). We worked as a team and gathered a great deal of food and community items to share. After this, each of us was able to take two personal items—toothbrush, deck of cards, underwear, camera, socks—whatever was desired. We felt confident as we loaded the bus—all I can say is “arrogant Americans.”

At Santa Ana the day seemed to go slow as we worked to build a large wood bodega for storing supplies. We began by clearing the area on which the building would sit. Then, we followed the normal process of building a house—just on a bigger scale. Through rain, poop mud, and two trucks stuck in mud, we were delayed throughout the day. We worked into the night as much as possible, but did not finish the right side of the building—one wall missing. We covered it with a tarp to help protect from the thundering rain and pounding wind.

However, it was still incredibly cold, because most of us were still wet from the afternoon shower. We did our best to stay warm with the few blankets available. We were saved by veteran outdoorsman Steve “Sparky” Kemp. He, Jeremy Quillian, and Mark Herrera built a make-shift shelter to sustain and protect a fire from the rain. Many people slept outside the house by the fire while others swapped up between getting warm and then tackling the challenge of staying warm in the house long enough to fall asleep.

Tuesday, we woke up groggy and tired from the lack of sleep and feeling of moisture. We ate our rationed breakfast (and some mangos) and chatted around a dying fire. Great stories around the fire—just ask Tyler and Gracie from PA. Lesson learned: Socks do burn when thrust unwillingly into a fire.

That morning we were paid for our previous day’s earnings. Twenty Limperas. This is a little over $1. Sadly, this is accurate for life here in Honduras. One full and hard working day is worth $1. How do you feed a family on that? How do you feed yourself on that? After finishing the right wall of the building, the group traveled into town with our little money (it was against the simulation guidelines to bring our own money to spend). Many chose to buy a small meal of pupusas (great El Salvadorian dish). Others wheeled and dealed with street vendors to get the most from their money.

When we got back to the property, most of us took a two-hour nap (some longer, some shorter). Then, we joined the already busy interns. We had fun in the poop mud—especially hauling rocks to form the beginning of the wall for the orphanage. We headed back into the house at the onset of rain in the afternoon. We had our dinner as we prepared mentally for another night in the cold. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were going to Campero’s for dinner (Terry’s treat). We then headed back to the mission house to have a discussion period before going to bed. We learned a great deal and look forward to sharing with our loved ones when we get home.

The morning of the 13th was very exciting. We got all “gussied up” to spend the day with an amazing group of kids. We traveled to Didasko orphanage to treat 32 kids (ages 3-15) to a day of being a part of a family. We became big brothers and big sisters. Some of us were blessed enough to have more than one child to share the day. First we took them to KFC (yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken) where they have a three-story high, indoor playground! What an adventure!!! I don’t know who enjoyed it more…the kids or the adults. After a good lunch with lots of fun, we loaded up the bus to go back to the mission house to play games, watch a movie, eat popcorn, and have a pizza party. We were sad to see our kids go, but it was great to see our new group pull in at the same time.

Dios bueno es,

Wednesday, July 13

Summary of Lake Yojoa

Friday, July 8
I love Honduras! The reason I love Honduras so much is because nobody knows what to expect (literally). This morning we woke up and had breakfast, pretty typical day. We had devo, which was given by Jason Tennant from PA. His devo was on how "being a servant is doing the little things." He gave examples like picking up trash, cleaning the bathroom, etc. His lesson was very encouraging, because no matter what we do big or small in is all in the name of Jesus.

After devo we had to gather all the luggage and separate it into two groups--the South Carolina and TN/FL/PA/MS. We also had to unload the buses we were taking to Lake Yojoa and separate those boxes. Before we could leave, we had to make sure everything that was not going to the Lake was either with the luggage or with the giveaway items in the storage/bedroom. This was only supposed to take like one hour, but it took an hour and a half. Once everything was stored, we loaded the buses and were on our way 45 minutes late.

Before we went to Lake Yojoa, we stopped by the Jimmy Hughes orphanage. I believe this is one of the coolest places I have ever been to. Most of the children at this orphanage have be abused in some way. However, you would never know it if you would have had the honor of meeting these children. They were all so loving; it brought tears to my eyes to think how anyone would ever want to hurt them. On a more positive note, it is amazing to me how one smile or hug can make a difference in a child’s life. By the way, did I mention that one of the buses broke down on the way to the orphanage? Well it did (Welcome to Honduras)!! So when the working bus (Elroy) dropped us off at the orphanage, the driver turned it around and went to rescue the others. (You gotta love Elroy). While they were being rescued, the others played with the kids for about an hour; then they had to eat lunch. At about the time they started eating, good ol’ Elroy pulled up with the rest of the TORCHers. As a group we walked the street to meet Jimmy Hughes. Mr. Hughes gave a great motivational speech for everyone. When he was finished, the back-up bus arrived, and we loaded up and made our way to Lake Yojoa, Praise God!!

When we arrived, three hours later, we were all very anxious to see the Lake and enjoy the scenery. However, God had another plan. Terry had not arrived yet, so we had no way of getting our rooms until he did. While we were waiting, we were able to eat supper (hamburgers, French fries, and jello). As we were eating Terry arrived and tried to get our rooms. Once again a "welcome to Honduras" moment occurred. We were supposed to have 25 rooms, but the hotel double booked so we only had 19, but we made it work. We finally got our rooming assignments and made our way to our rooms. Terry gave us all about 30 minutes to settle in and be back at the main building for devo. Like always, devo singing was Heavenly. Andy Polk spoke to us. He reminded us that our work was not finished, because our trip was not over. Andy wanted us to also remember that we are a family of love. He wanted us to reflect on all that we had done in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. He encouraged us to pray and pray some more. Altogether, he wanted us to stay focused. When the lesson was finished we had a brief meeting for Saturday´s events and then went to bed! AHHHHHH SLEEP!!

The rest of the retreat time was spent in many different ways--sleeping, horseback riding, sleeping, swimming, sleeping, time at a waterfall, (did I mention sleeping) and reflecting on all the impacting experiences of the previous days. Everyone is safe and sound back in the States from the first group. Please take time to enjoy their stories and pictures. Perhaps you can come and see first-hand next year. Let God speak to your heart.

Good-bye to all of the July1st team. Those of us still in Honduras miss you and will be praying for your transition to serve for His Kingdom back in the States.
--Brandy Barnett & JMA

Friday, July 8

Choluteca Summary for three days

Day 1
We left early for Choluteca on Monday morning at 6am. We all were making it
towards the bus with roughly 5 hours of sleep, a bunch of backpacks, pillows,
and hearts full of hope and desire to work.
Let me say that the ride to Choluteca has one of the most beautiful sights-
huge green mountain that seem untouched by human kind. You have to understand
that green here is so tropical and so refreshing and the whole ride nurtures
your eyes with plain beauty.
Anyhow, we arrived at Choluteca around 11;30am. Jarred Brown, an impressive
servant of God, met up at the hotel where we were going to stay.
Before I begin narrating this story I would like to explain a little bit about
Choluteca and the church in Limon, which is the place we were working at.
The church was built before burricane Mitch. It is a big, beautiful building
and is led by a kind man of God named Juan. According to J.B. )Jarred Brown),
the church has had a tremendous change and growth and he attributes so much of
this growth to the preacher Juan. This church works hand-in-hand with J.B´s
ministry, ¨Mission Lazarus,¨ which works similar to the ¨Mi Esperanza¨ program.
Mission Lazarus focuses mainly on the areas of education, carpentry, sowing,
agriculture and, of course, spiritual life. They basically train leaders to
become servants and helpers for their community.
The church at Limon is growing and we are honored to be used by God to foster
this growth. J.B. told us that they have a very good youth group with about 40
kids. They also are a mission-oriented church. They raise and come up with
their own money to organize campaigns to go preach to the surrounding areas.
Needlesss to say, the church is growing in a very good direction and at a very
goos pace.
Well, going back to our work. We arrived at the church to practice for VBS.
Bret prepared a wonderful VBS program that focused on the idea that God has a
plan. We rehearsed one skit and prepared a puppet skit. I would like to add
that everyone that participated in a skit did a marvelous job in transmitting
the message to the children. They were all so enthusiastic about their roles
and did great.
By 3pm the doors from the church were opened to let a whole bunch of kids come
in. As we opened with songs we were taken away by the amount of energy and
singing that these kids have. Anybody could tell that they were singing from
their hearts.
The kids really enjoyed the program. The skit and the puppets made them laugh
and have a very good time. Most importantly, they embraced the message that God
has a plan for their lives.
At the end of the program we handed them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and
bottled water. We played with them and left Choluteca around 5pm. By that time
we all were ready to eat.
One thing you have to understand about Choluteca is that the heat over there
can be compared to a suana. Due to the fact that Choluteca lies at the coast of
the Pacific Ocean, you can´t help the hot environment.
Anyhow, we had dinner and were happy to be allowed to go into the hotel´s room.
I am really thankful for the opportunity of going to Choluteca. I think the
whole team gave every minute their very best and I know it will be fruitful. I
am thinkful to know that we were God´s instruments to these children, this
church, and this community. I cannot come up with the words to express the love
you feel when you see and hear these kidssing. And I know the Lord will bless
them and continue to help them grow. They all were very special and loving of
us, which assures me that Choluteca will always remind us of the innocence and
humility we found in the brown, quiet eyes of the children from Honduras.
Day 2
There is a beautiful song I fell in love with years ago. It says ¨I don´t
cease to ask myself about the reasons for all my songs for the Lord...there is
only one reason: to thank Him for all my illusions and hopes; it will be my way
of thanking Him.¨
I truly believe this song captured a real meaning as we were singing with the
children from Choluteca. The overwhelming joy that is poured out through their
voices is a gift we have been blessed to share. For one, they all had beautiful
smiles and their gorgeous eyes are just filled with so many hopes and dreams.
Our prayer for all these kids is that the Lord may guide them and that they may
get to follow His perfect plan for their lives.
One our second day in Choluteca we had a great VBS turnout. We had a skit
about Joseph and all the hardships he had to endure and showed the kids how God
had a plan for Joseph.
Along the same lines we had a puppet skit that reinforced the story about
Joseph. The kids loved both skits and enjoed learning what we had to say.
A planned, we handed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to all the children
and got to play with them.
By this time we had already painted the interior of the church. I will have to
emphasize that the painting crew were terrific workers. Even though the sunn
was hitting hard, they all kept on enthusiastically working under those rough
Tuesday was a good day for us. We all experienced the overflowing tenderness
from the children as they all hugged us tight as we were leaving.
Day 3
Our last day in Choluteca was perhaps the warmest of them all. As soon as we
walked into the church building we were already sweating (around 9am). The heat
is Choluteca seems to follow you through every corner. There is not really a
safe ¨shade¨ where you can escape to.
Under this background we began ou day. As some of us were practicing for VBS,
a painting crew finished the exterior of the building and a small building next
to the church, which is intended to function as a medical clinic. The painting
crew was wonderful. We were always switching painters so that everybody would
get enough breaks and water. Everybody in the team was very caring respectful
of each other. In my personal opinion it was a joy and an honor to work with a
group of talented, hard-working, loving group of servants. They humbled me
through their giving spirits and reminded me how blessed we are to be a
community of the Lord.
By 2pm we began our VBS, which was a huge success. All the kids loved watching
the characters and were attentive the whole time.
As we wrapped up our VBS, we made sure the kids said out loud, ¨Dios tiene un
plan para mi!¨ (God has a plan for me!)
It is our prayer that these children may have been blessed through our visit
and that they may realize the wonderful gift of life that is given to us.
As we were finishing our program a refreshing breeze gently comforted our
sweaty bodies. Within minutes rain was invading the air. As we all were
enjoying this treat we got to play some more with the kids. Most of them would
cling to you, hug you, while two others were grabbing your hands. Their
expressions of love are something you cannot price whatsoever and whose value
will last forever in your memories, hearts, and in your prayers. This is why
our farewell was so hard. As we left, the kids gave us letters, kisses, hugs,
and some tears as well.
We loved working in Choluteca and we are thankful for the blessing of learning
so much from the children.
I guess this is where we understand the meaning of the verse in Matthew, ¨I
tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will
never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this
child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little
child like this in my name welcomes me.¨

~Esperanza Massana

God Answers Prayers

Thursday, July 7
Another day of toast for breakfast (but this time we also had eggs). Our 8:00 am devotional talk was given by Ed from the Palmetto group. He simply said for us to “remember why we are here.” Our ultimate goal is to lead these people to God. Here we have a spirit of wanting to help people to Christ that needs to continue when we get home. He advised us to take our servant hearts back home with us.

Once again, we split several ways to cover the many needs of the day. About five people traveled on a bus with the construction crew. They were dropped off at the building where “Mi Esperanza” is housed. There they toured the facility and learned about the program in greater detail. [The entire group was given a short presentation during our devotional time. It is an amazing and powerful work being done here in Honduras for the women. Please take time to view their website and learn more.] These five people then met up with the large group to go to the hospital.

A large group went to the bodega and loaded up on supplies to hand out. From there they traveled to the special needs orphanage. No groups have visited since Terry’s May trip, so the need for interaction was vital. About 25 kids live there—all with some type of disability. Some are mental and some are physical. The time spent there is a heart-wrenching; for many of the children, we simply hold them as if they are toddlers. We love on them and play with those who are able to do so in some manner. Thank you to all of you who donated stuffed animals—between here and the hospital, the desire for such is remarkable. This group then met up with the five who went to Mi Esperanza to go to the hospital. Clothes, toys, and candy were given out while we blessed with the strength, contentment, and faith of the children and the parents.

Anyone that has visited Honduras in the past few months will tell you that the rain has been overwhelming. When we arrived, we had planned to build many houses in San Miguel. However, because of the intense rain the week before our arrival, it was impossible to get back through the roads to the families. So, what did we do? Prayed to our awesome and caring Father above. It is an obvious testament to His will that we have had no rain in that area so that the water could recede and land dry up. We have had four beautiful (not just no rain or little rain—but beautiful) days of weather to allow us to build on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Valley of Angels and then today in San Miguel.

When the two construction teams arrived, one house had wood and was ready to go. The other team had to unload and distribute wood and tear down the frame of the remaining structure. As anyone could guess, the second team finished about one and a half hours after the first team. But…wait for it…here came the rain. About an hour before the second team finished, you could smell the moisture in the air and see the dark clouds moving in. Ironically, we all became frantic, running around, trying to “beat” the rain. Looking back, we realize that this was not necessary—God had his hand in it the entire time. The very last nails were driven in and the last two boards were cut. Exactly after that moment, you could feel very few rain drops. We gathered the family inside the house to pray with them and present them with the plaque stating that the Palmetto group had provided their new home. We then climbed a short but very steep hill to the vehicles. As soon as we all were at the top, the floodgates opened. There was no coincidence or luck—God knew what we needed and provided to the exact moment so that there was no doubt in anyone’s mind.

Back at the mission house, we had another wonderful meal—chicken, rolls, and spaghetti noodles with vegetables mixed in. Then we did what was needed to make any trip to Honduras complete…we played soccer. Most of the group loaded up the buses to go to what is called an “indoor court”. However, it is more like a concrete basketball court with a roof and fencing along the sides. You feel outdoors but are covered from the rain.

Once everyone was back, we had a late 9:45 pm devotional. Because of the time, we did not have a time period for “Where did you see Jesus?” Yet, our speaker did a good job of sharing his testimony and showing God in his life. Danny Bratcher of the Rural Hill group is a firefighter in Nashville who is giving up all his securities to follow God’s path. He has sold many of his possessions (house, boat, jet ski, truck) to get out of debt so that he can quit his job and move to Texas to study at a Bible college called Sunset. What faith! He inspired us to leave the things of this world behind and follow what God has laid out for each of us.

Vaya con Dios (Go with God),

***Friday we leave for our retreat at Lake Hojoa. We will be stopping at an orphanage along the way to spend time with approx. 60 kids. Please pray for our safe journey and for the preparations we make to come home. The hardest part about coming to Honduras is the actual departure. We always leave part of our hearts here. Please know that your loved ones are anxious to see you, but they will not be the same as when they left. For many of the first-timers, culture shock will be more than they anticipate. Please keep all of this in mind.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my point people. Allen, David, Karen, Laurie, Ryan, Mardee, Margaret, Judy, Rachel, and Trish—you have done a great job, and I know the people back home are very grateful for your hard work.
I am not aware of any Internet capabilities at the lake. If there is a chance for me to get online, I will be writing. However, do not be alarmed or distressed if you do not hear anything until your loved ones arrive in the States.
Thank you again to all of you for every role you have played in this incredible experience. Thank you for the financial support, the donations, the encouragement. And thank you especially for the prayers. It is such a comfort to know that even so far away, people are lifting up each of us to our Heavenly Father.
We love you and look forward to sharing the journey of faith we have just traveled.***

Thursday, July 7

Divide and Conquer

Wednesday, July 6
Breakfast consisted of the usual toast with jam and peanut butter options. However, we had a nice spread of fresh fruit added today.

The devotional thought was given by Danny Thomas of the Palmetto group. He did a great job of relaying how we need to let the plans fall as God intends. He mentioned the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. How many times does God have to tell us to relax and focus on the more important task?

We divided and conquered today! The medical team left out at 7:15 this morning to go to a very remote village 1.5 hours outside the Valley of Angels. They ended up treating 450 people before 4:00 pm. Is that amazing or what? The most impressive factor has to be the fact that they did not turn anyone away. Usually, the medical team runs out of medicine and/or time before seeing everyone lined up outside of the building. [However, they did run completely out of Pepto Bismol and are low on cough medicine. Anyone coming on the July 13-24 trip, please bring as much of either of these as possible.] Exciting features of the day include the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made on the bus and the surprise delivery of 30 pizzas from Randy Kluge and his family.

The VBS team had a bittersweet day. They started out the day by making 100 more boxes of food that they delivered in the afternoon. Once they reached their destination, it was clear that they were going to have a blast. The last day of VBS with puppet shows and inspiring skits drew in a large crowd of approx. 350. The adult Bible study led by Mike Hollis was also appreciated. Drinks and sandwiches were given out, again. A cotton candy machine was a big hit. Games were played, Songs were lifted up, stickers were given, and balloon animals brought smiles. But the sidewalk chalk says it all.

A group of 22 people set out on the bus at 8:45 for the Valley of Angels. Once there, we split into two construction crews. Both crews had some trouble starting because of delays. One group did not receive their wood until 1:30 pm. Thanks to God bringing good weather, the hard work of everyone, and the help of Timateo and his son Milton we finished the house just as the sun was sinking below the nearby mountain range. We were late getting back for dinner, but the cooks saved us food—and we were extremely happy. Tonight we had meat sauce and/or alfredo spaghetti. YUM!

We were glad to see the return of the Choluteca group—they arrived ten minutes before devo. Ben Cooper of Sarasota, Florida gave a lesson on staying focused. Using a verse in Hebrews, he relayed the importance of avoiding discouragement.

“Where did you see Jesus?”
* In all of our translators who worked extremely hard at the medical clinic and at the VBS.
* In the construction workers from the Palmetto group—they are on fire for God.
* In Jorge, a 14-year-old living in the Valley of Angels, who is so giving of himself to help the TORCH team and the fellow Hondurans who live in his community.

***Just a reminder that we leave Friday for our retreat. I am unaware of what type of Internet capabilities (if any) I will have there. This means that you need to send any correspondence before Thursday 11:00 pm.***

Dios te ama (God loves you),

Today is the day!

Tuesday, July 5
After humble beginnings of a ham and egg breakfast and a short devotional, we set out on a mission to get things done. The VBS team returned to the Valley of Angels for another GREAT day! After the VBS, they passed out 200 boxes of food for needy families.

The same group that went with construction yesterday left the mission house at 7:30. Ironically, the two crews didn’t get to the job sites until 10:30. Nevertheless, both groups were finished by 5:00 pm. To see the process of building a house, check the blogspot.

Dinner was heaven! Not to make you mamas feel bad, but WOW! Fried chicken, mixed vegetables in a special sauce, rolls, and mashed potatoes that were out of this world! After supper, there was a good bit of free time for journaling and relaxing. Then, we all headed to our rooms at 10:00 pm to have room devotionals instead of as a group.

Poop Mud...oh, yeah!

Monday, July 4th
Happy Independence Day!!! We miss you all on this festive occasion. As you celebrate, remember that your fellow Americans have gained a greater appreciation for our country.

Breakfast was basically toast (and the fixin’s), bananas, and cereal. The crowd is definitely dwindling. Part of this is because today a team of 24 left at 6:30 am to drive to Choluteca. They will be staying there at a hotel and will return Wednesday night. I will post details of their trip upon their return.

Now, I love Mark Herrera more than I can say…but today, he owes a lot of people a big favor. His talk for devotional contained what he referred to as “poop mud”. If you are not sure what this means, yes, it means what you think it means. He told about a trip from a month ago when Honduras was suffering greatly from an excess of rain. This trip consisted of one and a half weeks of shoveling “poop mud” away from the back wall of the church at San Miguel. Psalm 40 contained his scripture for edification. We don’t physically deal with mud in the States, but there are different types of dirt that could hinder us.

A group of five went to the Bodega from 10:00 – 2:00 to sort vitamins and medicine to be distributed Wednesday at our medical clinic. Then this group joined the VBS team at the Valley of Angels. A group also stayed on campus to sort food for distribution (flour, rice, spaghetti, bouillon cubes, beans, etc.).

The VBS at the Valley of Angels had to be tweaked, but ended up going well. Originally, we had set a time of 11:00 am. However, at that time, only ten kids came because the others were in school. The kids began leaving school shortly before 1:00 pm. So, the team did a repeat of the 11:00 show for the 100 (approx.) students who came to the plaza area. Bible study with Mike Hollis of South Carolina and AB translating was held twice with a small group study time afterward. Several boxes of New Testament Bibles were given out to the adults. Bubbles, jump rope, coloring books, nail polish, soccer, story reading, “Duck, Duck, Goose”, water bottles decorated with stickers containing Bible verses, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which were made while riding on the bus) all kept the day filled.

Now, for the poop mud. Yes, POOP MUD! Another group went to the Valley of Angels with intent to split into two teams and build two houses. Welcome to Honduras! Neither team built all day. The bus stopped at the piece of property purchased by Central Church of Christ in Sarasota, Florida. We oohed and awed over the amount of work already done—everything looks great! One group left with a truck to head to their site; they had trouble finding it and then realized the wood had not been delivered. So, they spent a good bit of time riding around finding the wood and trying to get it delivered (they broke another truck in the process). While this was going on, the other group left at the church decided to help the Honduran workers there with anything needed. We climbed out of the bus to be assigned the roles of digging a trench as well as a footer for a sidewalk. And may I add that it was the world’s largest footer—almost two feet deep and one foot wide. We were all in poop mud up to our thighs—don’t believe me, check the pictures on the blogspot. As I was saying, we were simply killing some time working/playing in the poop mud until around eleven o’clock when we found out that the wood truck would not be delivering our wood. So, we scrapped the idea of the house and went back to work. Around 1:00 pm the other group arrived to help finish up at the church. The day was a success in that we completed the demanding and dirty jobs of the day. [But Mark Herrera owes us for his jinx.]

Troy with the Palmetto group gave our devotional talk tonight. He talked about the patriotic implications of today and how they related to the work in Honduras. In America, we have become so independent that we do not reach out for help from fellow Christians and God as much as we should. We will remember this Fourth of July more than any other, because today we are celebrating our “dependence upon God.”

“Where did you see Jesus, today?”
* In the faces of all the workers at the church shoveling poop mud—true hearts of servants.
* Mark Herrera and AB (two translators) holding kids while jumping rope at the VBS.
* In TORCH as a whole, because so many people respond positively to this group. The mayor in town was very appreciative of all the work we were doing and stated that the Valley of Angels was “at your services.”
* In Justin Ward, who spent an unbelievable amount of time playing and running with the kids at the VBS.
* In Amanda, who tried her best to communicate with a group of kids that stayed with her at the VBS. She was a “total goofball”, and they loved it.

Tenga un buen dia (Have a good day),

Tuesday, July 5

"Door Knocking for Jesus"

Sunday, July 3rd
he day began with breakfast for some, but many slept until our church service at 9:30 am. Being outside of our comfort zones, we found the opportunity to extend our boundaries. We did not have a traditional speaker; instead, we responded to a question posed by Andy Polk. “Why do you love the body of Christ?” I would like to share some of the answers that were given in regards to specific home churches and the church as a whole.
* In a dark, sinful world, there are people known for their light.
* They love me, accept me as I am, but pray for me and keep me accountable to be a better person.
* I thank God for our global church, because where ever I have gone, there was always someone or something there.
* There is a verse in Acts stating that there is a specific purpose for our timing here on earth. God has weaved us all together and brought us to the people we are around.
* I am at home in a foreign land because of the love of the community here.

After church, we loaded the buses to go to a familiar strip of town where there are several fast food restaurants—McDonald’s, Little Caesar’s, Church’s Chicken, and Campero’s (a chicken place that surpasses any KFC or Chick-Fil-A). Then, we headed out on an hour drive to the Valley of Angels. There we went door knocking (inviting children and adults to the VBS and Bible study) with 1,000 flyers. We split into eight groups (we have eight translators—God bless their souls) and canvassed a large area. The highlight of it all had to be the 600 New Testament Bibles we gave out—they went fast. People were eager to get them and very appreciative.

We had a short time period to allow for shopping before leaving the Valley of Angels to go to Santa Lucia Restaurant. The view here is beautiful. But who cares about the food when you taste the food? It was incredible! We had beef strips or chicken (both were fabulous), rice, baked potato, refried beans, fried plantains, tortilla chips (not store bought) with bean dip and cheese, mixed vegetables, and rolls or tortillas.

The devotional tonight brought together three groups—Terry’s 96, Tom Bulle’s 62, and Tim Hines’ 12 interns. We visited a Catholic church in Santa Lucia. Built in 1533, it is the oldest standing church in the entire western hemisphere. It is constructed of all wooden pegs (no nails) and contains an ornate inside. The years of architecture and the strength of the foundation reminded us of our need for a loving and merciful God who is our Rock. As we sang, you could close your eyes and feel the Spirit moving. Just as we talked about being a community of believers, you could feel our unity through the harmony of 170 individuals.

Dios es amor (God is love),