Here we are in early November, 2005. Around the country signs of winter are being seen. Leaves have changed color in most of the country and have begun their annual foliage. It won’t be long before they will be on the ground and cold weather settles in. For some, this is their favorite time of the year (although personally I think they are just trying to rationalize the fact that they have to endure several months of winter weather). Here in Sarasota, we are entering our winter months as well. The temperatures have dropped down to the low 80’s during the day and 60’s at night. Soon we will be facing temperatures in the 70’s. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shinning, and the sweet ocean breeze comes in from the west. Yeah, its rough down here.
But, along with the weather, winter brings on a lot of other things. Holidays, shopping, wonderful dinners of turkey and dressing with all of the trimmings. Thinking of family and friends, getting together with loved ones. College students coming home for semester break. Lights and decorations. This is definitely a wonderful time of the year. Not just here, but everywhere.
Of course, the holiday season doesn’t always bring good cheer and happiness. There is sadness attached to this time of the year as well. Some have lost loved ones during this time of the year and every time it rolls around it brings back precious memories of those who have gone on. For others, it brings on the stress and strain of providing for their families beyond their means. It is painful to stare at the monthly bills, see the income coming in, and payments going out and what is left over to pay for all of the things they want and need for the holidays. When outflow exceeds income it brings in a lot of stress and feelings of sadness, resentment, and depression that is felt from those who are in this boat.
And there are those, by no fault of their own, who are so poor and lacking, that the holiday season means little more to them than any other time of the year. They wake up in the morning, put in a hard day’s work, and buy, hopefully, enough food to feed their family for the day. They don’t have to worry about paying the utility bill, or the water bill, or the cable bill, none of that even exists where they live. They pray for a rainless night, a night where the inside of their “house” will stay dry, and hope the cold wind doesn’t blow too hard. Then it is up at dawn, starting from scratch all over again.
It is when I stop to think about the people we see and work with in Honduras, stop to REALLY think about it, do I realize just how good I really have it here in Florida. We live in the greatest country in the world, in the lap of luxury. A Place of abundance, a place of comfort and fulfillment. Man, do we have it great. And we need to be THANKFUL for it, too.
The book of Job says that God knew him before he was ever born and implies that He knows all of us the same way. If this is true, God knew before we were born who we are, and more specifically, who are parents were going to be and where we were going to be born. It is by the grace of God that most of us were born right here in the good ole’ U.S. of A. Oh how THANKFUL we should be!!!!! So, before the Christmas holiday completely sweeps over our land, please take time to observe a holiday that is almost forgotten in our society today, THANKSGIVING. A time to recognize the blessings we have to enjoy. To be THANKFUL to God for the blessings He has given us. To be THANKFUL for our friends, our families, our congregations. We need to be THANKFUL for our educations, our wonderful paved roads (even the ones under construction), our means of transportation. I could go on and on, but I am sure you are getting the picture.
With all of that being said, I am pumped and THANKFUL for the 2006 trips that are coming. And it is not just me, people from all around are saying the same thing. Building houses with wood floors and painted walls! Water barrels and water purifiers! Food boxes! Care packages! Hygiene packets! Clothes and shoes to give away! I could go on and on, but the point is the machine is in motion and things are starting to happen. It is time to begin collecting donated supplies and raising money. Our theme, “NO JUNK FOR JESUS” is going to go out far and wide. And again, we need to be THANKFUL that we live in a place of such abundance that we can collect stuff to take with us to give away. We need to be THANKFUL for the opportunity to be able to give, to collect, to sort, inventory, and box.
Each month we are going to post certain items that we want to collect for our supplies drive. I want to encourage all of us to work hard to obtain these items and inventory them and get them ready for shipment. The collection months will be November, December, January, February, and March.
The following items are on the collection list for November (medical month):
* Large bottles of Tylenol
* Large bottles of Advil
* Large bottles of aspirin
* Antibiotic creams
* Large bottles of Pepto Bismol
* Plastic Bandages (all sizes)
* Cotton balls
* Latex gloves
* Empty pill bottles (labels removed!)
Good luck with your collections. This will be a banner year for Torch and I am confident that we will achieve our goals for all of the supplies that we will need to accomplish the projects that we have planned for 2006. Please contact me if you have any questions. On your mark…… get set…… GO!
Serving with a THANKFUL heart,