The 2006 teams are filling up fast, faster than ever. It amazes me to see so many people wanting to go to Honduras to do short term mission work. It amazes me even more to see people who give up hard earned vacation time to go. And it amazes me the most to see how many go, year after year, to do ministry, when there are so many other things they could do with their time and money.
For those who are going, and especially those who are still thinking about going, please read the following information carefully. We have so many that go with me on my trips from so many different places that it is very difficult to communicate to all of you out there! I hope that everyone is reading the blogspot and that information like this gets to the people that need to know it! Time is marching on and deadlines and other important dates are quickly approaching.
First, the final deadline for anyone wanting to go on ANY of my summer trips (May 14-24; July 1-10; and July 14-24), is February 7th. After this date applications will not be accepted unless there are openings on one of the trips that we are trying to fill. So, any last minute thinkers out there need to be making up your minds in the next week or two.
Second, Gena Hines is once again handling our airline tickets for this year. Because of the fuel crisis (?), and more importantly, the reality of supply and demand, ticket prices have gone up and have stayed up. Gena is trying her best to get us the cheapest prices that she can get, but the best way to do it is to secure tickets now and work on the prices along the way. Anyone who has not turned in applications and deposits do not have an airline ticket reserved in your name as of right now. Flights are going to sell out so if you want to go on the trip we MUST have your application and deposit in ASAP.
Third, those going this year should have $400 in your accounts by January 31st ($100 deposit and your first payment of $300). If you have not done this, you are behind the recommended payment schedule. Regardless, it is mandatory that everyone have $700 in their accounts by March 7th. We have to pay off the airline tickets at that time. If you do not have your money in, your ticket will be released and will have to be rebooked when you do have the money (at at the market value of the ticket at the time we rebook). It only makes sense to get your money in on time to avoid higher costs.
Fourth, if you have to withdraw from the trip, the withdrawal date is March 1st. Withdrawing by this date allows you to get a complete refund of all of the money you have paid in at that point. After April 1st, you will receive your refund minus the $50 application/administration fee. Once airline tickets are paid for, anyone who withdraws at that point is obligated to pay the cancellation penalty for the ticket (usually $150). If the ticket cannot be cancelled, you will be obligated to buy the ticket and you should receive a travel voucher to use the ticket on another date.
I know this all sounds pretty stiff and cold, but we just want to make sure we have our teams set up and ready to go as soon as possible so that we can avoid the dreaded power of the airlines and all of their wily fees that they have for the unknowing traveler. I can only wish that the airlines would become more compassionate about the missionaries who are going to foreign lands to do good deeds instead of seeing us as a cash cow during the summer months of their flight calendar. Oh well, capitalism is alive and well.
I am once again taking applications for “The Crew.” The Crew is a special group of Torch members that are selected to stay and work on both the July 1-10 and the July 1-14 trips. Crew members stay the entire 24 days and work with the Torch teams and also have special assignments and responsibilities given to them. If you are interested in applying for The Crew, consider the following requirements:
* A Crew member must be a high school graduate (current seniors qualify) unless special considerations are made by myself and my team leaders.
* A Crew member must have been on at least 2 Torch trips prior to this year (unless special considerations are made).
* Crew applicants must contact me and write an essay expressing why you would like to be a member of the Crew. The essay must be one page long and can be mailed or e-mailed directly to me.
* Crew applicants must have 2 letters of recommendation from either an elder; deacon; minister; school teacher; principal; etc.
* The cost of the trip for a Crew member is $1,500. This pays for the add ional lodging at the mission house and the special project(s) that the Crew members will do. Each year the Crew participates in a special project that involves only them during the time in between the two July teams.
I will be selecting a maximum of 15 Crew members this year, announcements will be made by the end of April. If you are interested, get with me soon. There is not a special application for Crew members, everyone uses the same application form.
As always, continue to pray for the trip. Hopefully everyone has begun collecting supplies for the trip. All supplies need to be sent to Florida (Sarasota) by April so that we can get the container loaded and shipped so that it will be there waiting for us when we get down there this summer. In particular be collecting medical supplies, toys, NEW children’s shoes and socks, stuffed animals, school supplies, and children’s clothes. I will give specific information about packing up and inventorying the supplies later on in another blog.
Thanks for all the hard work that you are doing to get ready for the trip, for the first timers, I know that your excitement is overflowing, because there is a lot of stuff going on that you really don’t even understand fully yet. Just know that God is overseeing our trip and I know that He has big plans for us and that we will not be disappointed or let down. It will be a great summer and He will be glorified and He will receive all of the praise and glory of what we do. It is not about us, it is all about Him and His kingdom. He is preparing our work, even now, before we ever get there. Isn’t that awesome? Can’t wait, how about you?