2005 is about to come to a close and what a year it has been. In some ways it seems like the year flew by like those stars do in Star Wars when they jump into hyperspace, and in some ways this year has seemed one of the longest I can ever remember. Weird, if you ask me, how it can be both. But it was to me, and maybe for some of you out there, too. But, no matter how you look at it, 2005 is about to go into the history books and 2006 is about to open up a brand new year.
Its been a hard year for me, in a lot of ways. I am pretty sure, without even exaggerating, that I spent more time in the hospital and in doctor’s offices this year than my entire life combined. Fighting cancer has proven to be the toughest thing I have ever had to do, and the fight seems to just keep on coming from all sides. But every time I turn, I see rays of light, rays of hope, in the procedures, surgeries, and treatments that I am going through right now. I know I am not the only one out there battling this, or other challenges, but each step I take forward makes it all worth while. It reminds me of the Lord of the Rings, the guys that made up the fellowship of the ring. They knew the odds were against them, but they fought on, knowing they would either win the battle or fall on the battlefield knowing they gave it their absolute best. I’m no Aragorn, Legolis, Gimli, or Pippin, but I am a soldier of God fighting in a war with victory in the end, and that is comforting and exciting.
It is hard to sum up what Torch, IRC, and Mi Esperanza, was able to accomplish this year. So much was done that I am not sure that even Tim could tell us all that happened in Honduras in 2005. All I can say is that it was A LOT! Several 40 foot containers (at least a dozen), HUNDREDS of houses, literally TONS of food, hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing and shoes, was distributed. Thousands attended VBS and Bible classes, at least 2 church buildings were built and congregations were planted. Over 700 participated in Torch Missions teams, from over 20 states and a half dozen foreign counties. Thousands of Bibles were given away. Thousands received medical attention from one of our medical clinics.
And all of this does not include DOZENS of other mission trips conducted by other groups and congregations of the churches of Christ in Honduras. All of this in a tiny country in Central America. Mission work is alive and on the move within our fellowship. All across the world mission teams are going and doing their thing. Knocking doors. Conducting Bible studies. Baptizing new believers. Making new contacts. Spreading the good news about Jesus. It is so amazing, so exciting. So REWARDING.
There is a lot of junk and garbage out there; it seems every time we take time to look up and take a deep breath we see fightings, disagreements, and fracturing going on. You would thing we are in a great religious civil war, and I guess in a way, we are. But don’t mistake the fact that God wants unity, and that we all need to be working towards it. And in places like Honduras, where dozens and dozens of congregations are working together for the common good of the people of Honduras, I know that unity can exist. And it is exciting.
Honduras just demonstrated their democracy in free elections a few weeks ago. A new president, and a new administration, will soon be in place. I am sure there will be changes that will take place, and that Honduras will feel the effects of the new government right away. I am hopeful that the new president will work hard to help the people of Honduras to continue to have progress, for Honduras has come a long way in the past 15 years. I am hopeful that the new president will be receptive of groups like Torch, IRC, and Mi Esperanza, along with the churches of Christ, who want to continue coming into the country to help the people who live there.
2006 will certainly be a challenge for us. It is going to be an exciting year, and I hope and pray that we will all be up to the challenges we will face. As 2005 comes to an end, I wish you a very merry Christmas, may your holiday be bright and blessed. I also wish you a very happy new year. May 2006 bring you new challenges, new opportunities to grow in the Lord that you never dreamed of before. May the days to come challenge us to grow and to do what is right, to do what God has called us to do. God has seen fit to give us yet another year, month, week, day, and hour to live in His Kingdom to be light and salt to a dying world. Use your time wisely, dedicate yourself to things that are really important. Rise up to the challenge and be victorious and claim your reward at the end! To God be the glory!