Now that the trips are over and all of the teams are home, work begins to get ready for the 2006 mission trips. As amazing as it may seem, I have already begun the ground work. Even before the suitcases have been put back into storage, phone calls, e-mails, and conversations have already started. Summer is not even officially over and work for next year is off and running.
I can remember just a few years ago, literally, that prep work for the next year’s trip would not even cross my mind until after Thanksgiving break. August, September, and October were months to relax and do other things, like work your full time job! But now, I work my full time job and plan for Honduras after a brief 2 week “off” period. And I am sure it is not just me, I am willing to guess that the other Torch leaders are in the same boat. Do you remember the movie, “Jaws?” Sure you do. Who can forget that movie, right? Remember the scene where the crew is in the boat and they see the shark for the first time? Remember Chief Brodie’s line, “We are going to need a bigger boat?” That is how I feel! The Torch leaders are in a boat and we need a bigger one! The one we are in, which appeared to be big enough, doesn’t seem big enough now!
It was a tremendous year. Reading all of the bloodspots from the other teams reminded me of how much was done this year. If it was not for the work of Tim and Gena Hines, along with Joe Merillat, much of what we all were able to do would not have happened. Tim is amazing. All of us that know Tim know that he is amazing. He works with all of the groups that come down throughout the year, juggles schedules, scouts out work sites. He orders wood for the houses, orders food to be delivered. He makes phone calls to all of the places we want to visit. He pulls strings and calls in favors. He makes himself available the whole time we are there. He is up early, brewing his master coffee blend, and stays up late at night. And all of that with a back that has more metal parts than a lot of sports cars these days.
Gena schedules teams and the dates they will be in Honduras, making sure we do not over-lap. She makes reservations for the Mission House and makes sure there is enough beds for our mega teams. She makes travel arrangements for our retreats. She changes and corrects all of the tickets that we mess up. And she does it will a smile and with an attitude that just makes you want to give her a big hug.
And of course, Joe; he is the work horse. He gets up early to pick up wood orders. And Tin. And hinges (because you can’t get them all at the same place in Honduras…. That would be too easy…). He drives everyone around town to the places they need to get to each day. He helps plan out daily activities, heads up work crews. He volunteers to work, even on his days off. He gives up free time to be with the teams that there working.
I cannot say enough good things about Tim, Gena, and Joe. They are real warriors, true spiritual heroes. They work so hard, many times without even a “thank you” for their time. They sacrifice their time, their talents, and many times their own money, to make sure each Torch team has what they need to do the jobs at hand. If ever anyone is taken for granted, it is these three. Its easy to take things (or people) for granted, too. We rarely do it on purpose. It is almost certainly just an oversight. But, it happens.
I would like to encourage everyone who reads this blog to take a couple of minutes out of their schedules and write a thank you note to them. It really is the least we can do. Because of them we can do the things we do. And they make us look good doing it. Think about it, how many of us have done reports to our home congregations talking about everything we accomplished this summer? And how many of us specifically mentioned Tim, Gena, and Joe in our reports? And right now, how many of us are starting to plan for next year’s trips? How many of us are including these three in our dreams, thoughts, and plans? Tim’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org; Gena’s e-mail is email@example.com ; and Joe’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Congratulations to all of the Torch teams this year! What an amazing year it has been so far. There is still more to come, too!!! Thanks especially to Tim, Gena, and Joe, for making it happen. We couldn’t do this without you. You guys are amazing and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do for the kingdom work in Honduras. There are others that were not mentioned that played huge parts this summer. But that is for another time, another blog.
Until next time, Dios te bendiga!