Our Mission Statement

Saturday, December 29

Adios '07, Hola '08!!!

It has been a very busy year. 2007 is in its final days and I sit here wondering how in the world that the year could be over. For goodness sakes, I am just now getting used to writing 2007 on my checks instead of 2006! Yet, ready or not, the old year is about to be out and the new year will be in. I hope you had a wonderful 2007. I know I did.

Just a few weeks ago we had a monumental event take place here in Nashville. We did what should have been done years ago. We had a combined Torch / IRC board meeting and coupled that with a team leaders meeting. We had team leaders from across the United States come to Nashville for a much overdue information meeting. More than 20 attended the meeting that was held at Lipscomb University. Meetings began at 8:00 and ran until 4:30 that afternoon. A lot was accomplished including going over 2008 calendars, team trips, rules, retreat ideas, and lots and lots of information. I am convinced that this meeting will help all of us to have a better and more productive trip this summer.

As 2008 approaches, many of us will begin the ritual of making our new year’s resolutions. Yes, I know, lots of people do not even bother with such a frivolous activity, but some still do. And, I also know very well that most people will break their resolutions within 3 months of the new year. Can we all say, “Been there, done that?” So, as we prepare our lists of do’s and don’ts for 2008, may I suggest a few for you to consider? I challenge us all to consider the following:

1. Dedicate specific prayer time each week to Torch Missions. There are at least 14 teams signed up and ready to go for 2008. We are estimating between 400-500 people will go on the various trips. There is a lot of planning and coordination that will have to take place to make all of this run smoothly and effectively.
2. If you are going on a trip this year, start now to prepare for the trip. Start collecting things that you want to take to give away. Make sure your passport is current and up to date. Make sure your application and deposit is ready to turn in before February 20th.
3. Start putting away money for your trip. A few dollars a week can really add up over the course of 6 or 7 months. $3 a day adds up to over $500 in just 6 months! Don’t delay on fundraising efforts!
4. Ask to find out what you (or your group) can do to help plan and organize the trip. There are a LOT of different things that need to be done to get ready for the trip. “Divide and conquer” really works when it comes to getting everything ready for the trip.
5. Get others involved. Collecting supplies, boxing and labeling items, and encouraging others to donate money for various projects (Bible give aways, building supplies for houses, food distribution give aways, etc.) are ways to get several involved.
6. Invite and encourage others to go on your trip. Be persistent. It took me a couple of years of constant “encouragement” to get Tim Hines to go on his first trip. The same was true for Jen Wright. Remember Luke 11:1-13? The persistence of the man finally paid off and he received the bread from his neighbor that he needed in the middle of the night.
7. Prepare yourself. Put on your ministry early and wear it often. Make your trip an extension of who you already are… a servant. Get involved in ministry efforts locally and carry that mindset with you into the foreign mission field. It will make all the difference for you and the ones that you serve.


AS 2008 approaches, I can’t help but to think and dream about all of the things that can happen this year. I am so excited about the potential that 2008 holds, but potential must be tapped in order for it to be of any use or value. What does 2008 have in store for you? That, my friend, is up to you. May God bless and challenge you in 2008. And, more importantly, may you be willing to accept the blessings and challenges that He will give you.

Terry Reeves

Up next: important dates to remember and trip information!

Monday, November 5

the anti-God movement

I read this editorial today on Fox News and thought you might enjoy reading it. It certainly applies to the comments that have been made recently on the blog. Father Jonathan is a member of the Catholic Church and is a popular speaker on apologetic topics.

Over the last several years I have had numerous occasions to debate topics of religion and ethics with self-defined atheists. For the most part, my counterparts in these public discussions have been refreshingly rational. They describe how they have come to the intellectual conclusion that God probably does not exist. They are not angry. They are not mean. And like all good truth-seekers, they listen.

But I fear such constructive dialogue is in danger of extinction. Its killers are the promoters of a pseudo-civil rights movement now brewing in our country. The anti-God movement involves vacuuming the world of the outrageous idea — yes, that slavish, medieval, intolerant, moralistic and paternalistic concept — that there may be more to reality than what science can explain.

The movement is not agnosticism. Nor is it traditional atheism. It has the feel of a nerdy Woodstock gathering — a motley crew of social progressives who bind together on the Internet in defense of their own version of dogma. Their creed is two-pronged: 1) all of reality, including every aspect of the human person, is reducible to natural, evolutionary explanations 2) people who disagree with this core belief are a threat to human progress and must be silenced.

Unlike the laid-back hippies of the 70s, the groupies of this new movement are determined to ridicule anyone who thinks differently than they do. They substitute rational discourse with personal attacks. They love straw man arguments.


Last week, for example, I joined Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation for a nationally televised discussion about Nicole Kidman's new film, “The Golden Compass,” to be released in December. It is a cinematic production of the first book of a trilogy for children written by one of England's most well-known atheist authors, Phillip Pullman. Ms. Gaylor immediately focused her attention on sidebar issues, including the intrinsic evil of the Catholic Church, clergy paedophilia and the scourge of religion in general on society.

The heroes of this movement are not real atheists because science is their god. They place blind faith in its ability to resolve every one of mankind's quandaries. When confronted with realities that seem to fall outside of science's grasp — like how to explain free will or how and when matter got here in the first place — ironically, the leaders of this movement become very unscientific. They claim these questions are non-questions because they can't be answered by the only valid source of truth — Science with a capital “S.”

God bless, Father Jonathan

The article points out several things that are evident in our society today. Bold and brazen attacks on Christianity are happening all of the time and are found in media outlets around the globe. Satan has found a conduit in which his posion is being pumped into our minds everywhere we turn. In just a few weeks the movie, "The golden Compass" will be released. This movie is being promoted as a family friendly movie with special effects and a theme that it hopes will attract younger viewers. It is based on a trilogy written by Phillip Pullman, a well known athiest. In the third and final book (and movie if the first 2 are successful) God is killed by a young boy and girl so that they can do what they want. Pullman openly states that his books are about killing God. Go to www.snopes.com to read more.

I, like many others, want to openly condemn this movie and strongly encourage people to boycott the film. The anti-God movement needs to realize that there is a group that stands ready to fight for truth and defend what is right. Enough is enough, its time to get up and make a stand. The silent majority cannot be silent anymore. If we do not stand now, we will soon become the silent minority.

"Be strong and couragous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the One Who goes before you. He will not fail you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

T. Reeves

Wednesday, October 24

to be(lieve) or not to be(lieve), that is the question

Death to False Metal has left a new comment on your post "Get the door, it's....God?":not to rain on your parade, but must everything in the world that goes your way be an act of god? today the top of my sandwich fell off and onto the ground and i had to eat half a sandwich, which was very messy. was that an act of the devil, or did god oppose the idea of me eating that top of the sandwich?the fact of the matter is, highly improbable occurances of good luck are not miracles...they are just that. the thing is, that imagine how many seconds you live. so if something desirable that is million to one shot occurs, that seems incredibly lucky, but think about the million times it didnt occur. it would actually be suprising if things that are million to one shots didnt show up after millions of it not occuring.god is "unbelieveable", alright”

I received this email this past week from the blogspot. As a public domain, anyone can come in and read our postings and leave comments. Many people have left comments on the blog the past couple of years while most do not. From time to time we will receive a comment like the one you just read. I would like to respond to this comment.

First of all, I do not know who “Death to False Metal” is, as far as I can tell. All I really know is that this person read the blog article and made comments. I do not know if this person reads this blog regularly or if it was just a random reading. I do not know if the comment is just a slam on Christianity or if the comments are sincere expressions of this person’s thoughts. Regardless, I think it deserves a response because it represents a sizable percentage of the population’s opinion about this very subject. Death to False Metal is not raining on my parade; he is challenging my core beliefs with his own.

In reality, the basic question at hand is whether God exists and is at work or the idea that everything just happens by chance and coincidence. This is not exactly a new question; this has been around for hundreds of years. Some of the greatest minds have debated this very issue. Whether you are looking at sub-atomic particles or a very messy sandwich missing the top piece of bread, it all boils down to one thing: God or chance?

Skeptics have always questioned the idea of God. Atheists proclaim that there is no God. Believers counter by stating that God is alive and well and the evidence is undeniable. Without getting into a huge theological debate, let’s just cut to the heart of all of this. I think this all comes down to belief and faith. My faith in God is rooted in my belief in Him and by what I observe. I believe in God by what I see and experience. I do not see things happening by chance or by coincidence, I see God at work because I have learned to look for His handiworks.

One of the most famous suspense directors of all time was Alfred Hitchcock. Even though his movies were made years ago they still make their rounds via DVD and TV movies. He made dozens of top notch movies from the 1920’s all the way to the 1970’s. His use of lighting, shadows, and angles made his films much scarier and suspenseful than they actually were. He did not have to use blood and gore to scare people, he used suspense and implications to get the message across. He allowed the audience’s imagination do its thing. One of the most interesting things about his movies was the fact that he appeared in all of them in cameo roles. When I first heard this I did not believe it. But, once I started watching for him, and knew what I was supposed to be looking for, I found that it was true. I had to train myself to look for him in the movie walking down a sidewalk or shopping in a store. Without knowing this information I would had never looked for him, and, of course, never would have seen him. Knowing this now allows me to know that he will be seen in a movie that he made, even if it one I have not seen before.

The work of God can be viewed in a similar way. Unless you know to look for God and His handiwork, it is very unlikely that you will ever see it. You might even dismiss it all as accidents, chance, coincidence, or random occurrences. However, once you understand God and know how much He cares about His creation, you understand why God would be at work. And, by understanding God, you see His work all around you. Maybe a better question would be, do you accept what you see as God’s work? I am not trying to say that God orchestrates or dictates every detail of every event that occurs here on earth. But, I am not saying that He is not capable of doing just that. God created this universe, which is more massive than we ever thought it could be, all the way down to the sub-nuclear level. If He did that I am pretty sure He can micro manage the affairs of man if He wants to do it.

However, even though God has the capability to micro manage, He does not. Because He grants us all free will. He allows the ebb and flow of life to take place. It is ultimately our choice that takes place when it is all said and done. Can God intervene in man’s affairs? Yes. Does He intervene? Yes. Will He intervene? That answer is prompted by His own will and motive. We can pray and ask, and He will indeed hear and answer. We have to watch, listen, and observe, to see what the answer will be.

Of course, if you do not believe in God, this will make no sense to you at all. If you are a skeptic, you will read this will a grain of salt and put on your doubter hat. If you are a believer, you will understand and agree with all of this. If Death to False Metal is right, and my passport came totally by chance and good luck, then I am a blessed guy and I have nothing to loose. If God was involved through the answering of prayer, I am still a very blessed guy and people like Death to False Metal needs to realize that there is a lot to loose.. Who’s right and who’s wrong? I’ll put my odds on God, what have I got to loose?

Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understoon from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

T. Reeves

Monday, September 17

God's been good to me

Can it possibly be mid-September? I am amazed how quickly this year is coming to an end. Here in middle Tennessee we have endured a blistering heat wave and drought. It has been so dry that many of the trees surrendered and went ahead and dropped their leaves early this year so it looks like fall but still feels like summer. But we got both rain and cooler weather recently and life seems to be coming back to “normal,” whatever that might be.

I have been so busy at work teaching school and coaching soccer that I am finding it hard to get on the computer to write. Since I am still in the early stages of writing my bible curriculum at school I have to spend a great deal of time typing lessons, lesson plans, and tests. Soccer keeps me away from the house till late in the evening just about every night so finding even a few minutes of time to write is rare. School and work is going a LOT smoother than last year and I do have less driving time since I only live 10 minutes from school now. Never the less, I find myself looking at clocks and wondering where all the time goes.

Margaret and I are STILL unloading boxes that have been stored in the garage since our move. We are getting down to the last 15-20 boxes and with a little work both sides of the garage will be cleared enough to get cars in! Imagine that, a 2-car garage in which 2 cars will fit. The house looks great, to a large degree, because of Nathan. He has painted the inside and outside of the house for us. Even though the house was painted before we ever moved in we decided we needed a little color and contrast. Nate has done an amazing job with the paint and is now taking on trim work. Crown and chair rail moldings will be going in soon to some of the rooms to finish it out.

We feel so blessed to be in such a nice house. To be honest, I never dreamed of a day that we would live in a house with tile and real hardwood, a 2-car garage, and a huge yard. God has really blessed us with the move up here. He has confirmed time after time that we made the right decision. Margaret and I have great jobs, my health seems to be holding steady, and we have become very involved with the work at church. Western Hills has just reached out and welcomed us, and our ministry, with welcome arms. The elders are so supportive of the work we are doing in Honduras and Brazil and the members are very giving. I think that in the near future more and more will goes with us to Central America and more and more supplies and donations will come as well.

We have started a small group on Sunday nights with friends and with college students from Lipscomb. Every Sunday evening we have anywhere from 12-18 over to the house for a meal and a time to just hang out and be together. We just call it “family dinner” and we open up our house for a few hours to anyone who wants to come. Nate always has a group of buddies that come and we get to see 3 of our girls from Sarasota, Florida, which attend Lipscomb. Laughs are plentiful to say the least.

We have a Torch Missions board meeting coming up the first week of October in Pigeon forge / Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We hope to get some things ironed out and some things in place before we launch the 2008 mission trips. Team leaders will be getting together in December in Nashville to go over dates and trip plans. It seems like the plans get rolling earlier and earlier every year. It is exciting to see all of the things that are going on. Containers of supplies are constantly being shipped down to Honduras for distribution. Fund raisers are going on to raise money for all kinds of projects. I have had more inquires about next year's trips than I have ever had before. 2008 might well be the biggest year we have ever had through torch Missions.

How about you? Is God active and working in your life? Can you see His fingerprints in the events that are taking place around you? Are you seeking His guidance and watching and listening to His will? "Its faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living." Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

“God’s been good to me. He has set me free. God’s been good to me; He’s so good to me.”

T. Reeves

Friday, August 10

2007 summer Torch summary / all groups

2007 summer trips have come and gone. What a summer Torch Missions experienced. Marc Tindall, who was in Honduras all summer, has written the following summary for the teams:
TORCH Summer Summary

What a summer in Honduras. I arrived on June 11th - a short week after Nicole's wedding and there was already a TORCH team working. The Mark Connell / Larry Sawyer group arrived about a week before me and they had already been very busy building, feeding, teaching, and - well, just being the hands and feet of Jesus. This team was a mix of folks from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. This group was about 60 strong and didn't quit until it was time to go home. This is also the team that had been the "trainers" for three of the four men that I was blessed to work with for the summer - Bret Flannery & Andy Sawyer are from Louisville and cousin Stephen Sawyer is from Indiana. Bret just graduated from Lipscomb and Stephen and Andy are seniors at Harding. (My other work partner was Andy Hubright from Lipscomb). These guys are the best TORCH Builders that I have ever worked with! (my groups have built over 180 houses so - I've seen a lot of builders)Anyway, the Connell/ Sawyer team built about 16 houses and packed out several tons of food. This team - as usual also worked right in the heart of the rainy season - so almost every day on the mountain- it rained - (drops as big as small cars) - and rained, and rained.

In the midst of the second week of the Connell/ Sawyer team, a group of 35 from Ohio - led by Donna (Dynamo) Brothers. This group of 100% first-timers worked nonstop for the 8 or so days that they were in Hondo. Donna - assisted by Jen Wright led this team in building more than 10 houses, delivering about 5 tons of food, teaching and loving 100's of kids, touching the lives of even more children at several of the area children's homes, and many other projects.

Right on the heels of the Brothers team, the combo groups of Gayle Davidson - Melbourne, FL & Mark Halbert of Tupelo, MS - This group of 100 came to work and work they did! There were multiple house building teams, medical teams, VBS groups, food distribution groups, and many great things were done in a bunch of comunities. Here are the numbers - there were 19 houses and 2 Sunday School Classrooms constructed, there were at least 5 days of medical clinics in many communities including - Santa Ana, San Migual, and others. More than 1000 people were treated for their medical needs by this team. This team also delivered about 18,000 pounds of food to really hungry people, they led 1000's of children in VBS, there were 100's of visits to children in hospitals, and the lives of both Honduran's and the mission team were changed forever.

As soon as the group from Florida/ Mississippi departed, we were blessed to have the team from the Campus Church in Atlanta. This small group was amazing in both their willingness to work and the love that they showed to the people of Honduras. Led by Kin & Donna Ellis, the 18 folks started their week by building a home for a young mother and her 8 day old baby. What a blessing to see this team work through the day in a total downpour to make sure that a baby could live in a warm dry place. This smaller team spent other days at children's homes, in Hospital Esquala, at the special needs orphanage, and working in communities where the needs are impossible to describe. Everywhere they went, they were a blessing to the people they met and they were blessed in return. This group delivered food to more than 4oo families and also helped two children's homes with food supplies.

Before the Ellis Team was on their way to Roatan, the first of the two Terry Reeves teams arrived. I was personally blessed by this first team because they arrived on the same day that I needed to finish closing out our old warehouse and moving it to our new warehouse. The Reeves group sent in an army of workers to help with this nasty-dirty-stinky project and we knocked it out in a short 4 hours. This team also rescued us by arriving just in time to unload a massive container - (it just happened that it was the Reeves container and it could be that the timing of the release from customs was arranged so that it had to be unloaded on the date that the Reeves team arrived....could be?) Anyway - the 65 folks from Terry's team arrived over a 3 day period and - once on the ground, they focused on work in children's homes, in hospitals, in food distribution, VBS, and in construction. This team built 5 houses, they distributed more than 20,000 pounds of food, blessed 1000's of kids - and all of this in only 6 days. The team was only in Tegucigalpa for this short time as they also planned work in Southern Honduras. Down south, the team worked in laying concrete in the floor of a new church building, in medical clinics, in building a massive playground for children at the new church, in VBS, and in touching and changing the lives of everyone that they came into contact with.

Terry Reeves - Part 2 arrived next. This team came from Columbia, SC and was about 57 strong. There is one part of this team that loves to dig footers and lay concrete and for 8 days, that is what they did. A new day care facility is being constructed in San Miguel and everyday at 7 AM a group of gringo's went to work mixing concrete (HONDO Style). It is painful to think about the sore muscles that were part of life for this group. While the concrete was being mixed and poured - the rest of the team was building houses, delivering food, treating the sick, teaching about Jesus, and serving others. This team built 4 houses, delivered over 20,000 pounds of food, held clinics that treated over 1000, and worked to change the lives of everyone that they met.

Toward the end of the work for Reeves II, my team from all over the country came in. We were blessed to be able to share meals, devotionals, and the mission house with the group from SC for about 3 days. The Tindall team was about 87 strong and came ready and loaded for work. We were sent out every day as builders, comforters (at Hospital Esquala), teachers - in VBS & evangelism, feeders (packing and distribution of food), and in many other ministries. The team had 2 to 4 people working and staying at Casa de Esperanza every day, there was at least 8 team members that dedicated their day to being Jesus for the kids at the hospital - every day. The builders finished 21 houses and continuing into the next team - finished the 24 that were the goal. (More houses from this team will be built in September when I am permanently in Hondo) There were 28 baptisms that resulted from the work done by the evangelism part of this team. More than 12,000 pounds of food was deliered to hungry families. Work was done in more than 6 different communities. Medical teams treated more than 1000 in the 5 days of clinics - many in places where people hadn't seen a doctor in years - if ever. Everyone on this team was a blessing and was blessed by the work that was accomplished.

The last group of the season arrived on July 28th - from the Lexington Church in South Carolina. The group of 18 was led by Tom Gilroy and all but one or two were first timers. It is always great to be with first timers in Honduras and to see them open their eyes to the needs of the "real world" ... to see their faces with they look into the eyes of the children and see Jesus looking back at them. It is amazing to see the tears flow from the eyes of the tough guys when they stand to pray with a family that has a new house - only because our God chose these "tough guys" to come to Honduras to be a part of an answered prayer. I like to take first timers to Hospital Esquala to see their reaction to the children that lie in the cancer ward or in the area of the hospital where the kids were found to be starving to death.I saw all of this with the Lesington Team and I saw my friend Jesus in them and the way they reacted to the people and the needs that they came to serve. This team built 3 more houses and delivered more than 6,000 pounds of food to some really hungry people. They showed the compassion of Jesus, they touched lives and their own lives were touched in return. As a matter of fact, 2 members of the same family - Sasha & Demi Lane both saw Jesus very clearly and both confessed his name and were baptized. Pray for them as they begin their walk.

I would be remiss if I didn't also commend the Spring Break team from Belpre, Ohio - about 40 strong. This team built more than 10 houses and worked in many areas. Led by Jennifer Wright (director of Casa de Esperanza) the team fed, taught, loved, and blessed many many people from both Honduras and the Ohio.

The year has seen more than 475 TORCH Team members in Honduras. (Terry Reeves also led a team of 30+ to Brazil and several of his first group travelled to El Salvador.) Our teams this year have distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food, they have treated more than 3000 in medical clinics, they have built at least 95 houses and Sunday School classrooms for 2 different congregations, There have been 100's of visits made to childen in the hospial, children's homes were a part of every groups ministry, VBS happened almost every day of the summer, countless numbers of people studied the gospel and 28 people chose Jesus to be the Lord of their lives.Our God is an AWESOME GOD!It has been a great year in Honduras.

Blessings,Marc

Not included in these totals was the December / January trip I led this year. We have 22 on the trip and gave away 4,000 pounds of food and built 2 houses while we were there. We also visited some of the childen;s homes and orphanages and went to the hospital. Also, Nathan led a group in May. He had 15 on his team and they built 5 houses and did a 4,000 pond food give away. The also went on several visitation trips and worked out at Santa Ana at Casa de Esperanza. God was truly glorified this summer and I know that I, for one, came away very blessed by all that we were able to do in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. blessing to you all.

Terry

Thursday, August 9

2008 dates

Since returning from Honduras is seems as if I have leaped into hyper-space (Star Wars fans know what I am talking about). It has been a blur as soccer started training, going to teacher in-service meetings, faculty meetings, coaches meetings, and trying to get the recently converted computer lab into my classroom. Moving computer desks, chairs, miles of wires, a couple dozen computers, speakers, etc, has been a lot of fun. Like most of you, I live to sit in on meetings. Love it.

School started for us Monday, August 6 and it is running smoothly and my classes are going to be great. I have a new schedule, a new planning period, a classroom, and do not have a study hall! Live is about as good as it gets here at FCS. Our first scrimmage is this Saturday and our first regular season game is in less than 2 weeks. Of course, trying to squeeze in anything else (outside of school stuff) is hard right now, but I hope to be in a routine soon.

So, while I have a minute or two, I wanted to let you know what the dates and mission trip opportunities will be offered for this coming year. You are welcome to come on any, or all, of the trips, all it will take is an email and some paperwork and of course, money. If you see something that interests you, contact me soon. Some of the trips have limited number of spaces.

December 27 – January 4: Montigo Bay, Jamaica. VBS, door knocking, and benevolence trip; high school and up. Very limited spaces for this trip.

March 6-15: Guatemala City, Guatemala, Central America. Humanitarian outreach trip (food distribution, visitation, bible studies, etc). High school and up.

June 1 – 11: Recife, Brazil, South America. VBS, door knocking, construction, food distribution, and benevolence trip. High school and up.

June 28 – July 9: Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Central America. VBS, door knocking, construction, food distribution, visitation, and benevolence trip. High school and up.

Details about these trips will be posted later (cost, flights, etc) and dates are subject to change depending on flight availability and housing. Torch applications for 2008 will be available the week after Thanksgiving. You can sign-up before that via email. I hope to have an updated application form on the IRC website (www.irccorp.org) along with the rules sheet and both the Spanish and Portuguese release forms. All of the forms will be able to be downloaded and printed. All of these forms will also be available by email and hard copies of the forms can be mailed to you through the post office.

Email me some of your great photos from this summer’s trips or send me a CD!!! I need photos of Honduras and Brazil!!! My email address is reeves.tl@gmail.com and my mailing address is 221 Oak Hill Drive, Lebanon, TN., 37087. Look forward to hearing from you. Take care; a new posting will be coming soon.
TR

Tuesday, July 24

I want to thank you, thank you very much

Monday marked the end of the summer mission trips that are reported on this blogspot. For the past couple of days groups have traveled back to their hometowns to get back to the daily routines that they left behind to do mission work. The final travelers returned home Monday night as we flew into Nashville. The trip ended just about as it began, with lost luggage. Today I am awaiting a phone call from American Airlines on a bag that failed to reach Nashville from Miami. I guess this would be classified as a “welcome to the USA” moment. Oh well, it could have been worse.

This summer was an amazing one indeed. Torch launched its first trip into Brazil. Our 2 Honduras teams did an amazing amount of work in Tegucigalpa and Choluteca. We overlapped with 2 other Torch teams that were in Honduras the same time we were there. We saw several other mission groups from other organizations and congregations while we were there. It seemed that a lot of good work was done in Honduras the month of July and I am glad that we were part of that work.

For some, the work we did was viewed as only a drop of water in a great big bucket. The need there is so great and the amount of work is overwhelming. We constantly ran out of time, money, and materials. So much more needs to be done. But, for others, the drop of water that we provided adds to the other drops of water that are being added day after day, month after month, and year after year. Those who have been going on torch trips for a long time are seeing changes and things are getting better. We must constantly remind ourselves that patience and perseverance is needed to achieve change. And with that thought we will continue on.

I want to personally that everyone that participated on the trips this summer. I saw Jesus in every one of you. The sacrifice, the commitment, the determination was evident in everything you did this summer. You did the big things, like building houses and conducting VBS classes, with great care and the drive to do them well. You did the small things, like packing food and being prompt, with equal care of detail. Because, as you well know, there really are no small things in mission work. Things that we might consider small to us are not small to God and His kingdom. It all adds up to service to Him that makes all things possible.

I want to especially that those who went on our trips and served as interpreters this year. Whether you spoke Portuguese or Spanish (or both), your talents in language skills were critical to all of the things we did this summer. I dream of a day that we all will be able to speak to those we are serving in their own language, and to that end we will continue to work (I know what you are thinking and all I can say is that my Spanish is better today than it was a year ago and I have a lot of Hondurans that told me!). We had more than a dozen interpreters that came on our trips this summer specifically to work in that role. Thank you for making time to be with us!

I want to thank all of the group leaders who came this year. You all did an outstanding job bringing top-notch workers with you to be on our teams. You provided outstanding leadership preparing your teams for the trip and mentoring and chaperoning your groups on the trips. You were great to work with and I consider all of you some of my best friends on the planet. Without you we would not be able to do so much of what we are able to on our trips. Keep up the great work that you are doing and keep the fire blazing within you to do mission work wherever you are, both home and abroad. You are making a difference.

I would like to thank all of the congregations that supported Torch this year. Your support allows people from around the United States to come together to work unified for a single great cause, teaching and showing the love of Jesus. Thank you for your financial support, your prayers, and your commitment to do mission work. The seeds that are planted today will reap a bountiful harvest in the future. Thank you for having compassion for those who are in such great need.

Thanks also to all of my veteran Torch members. We have a long list of people that have been coming on torch trips for many years. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to continue working in this program. Your experience, leadership, and knowledge allow our trips to go smoothly and allow us to be more productive in our outreach and benevolence programs. Thanks also for taking “rookies” under your wings and allowing them to learn from you. With you we do not have to reinvent the wheel year after year. And you have no idea how important that is…..

I would also like to that the “Segundo’s” who worked with me this year. Taking on the role of a leader on the trip is a big responsibility and you all did it well. You took the lead on many issues that allowed me to focus on other “behind the scenes” stuff, which allowed the trip to run even smoother than normal. Delegating has never been one of my strong points but I am learning that there are several people out there that are more than capable of doing jobs and handling responsibilities that I once did by myself. The weight that has been taken off of my shoulders feels great! And that goes for my interns this summer too, you were awesome!

I will be posting the results of our trips soon. It will take me some time to tabulate all of the things that we did, because it was a lot of stuff. Please continue checking the blogspot, and stay in touch. I know that a LOT of people have been reading the blog and I hope that you found it interesting and useful. As 2007 starts to wind down plans for 2008 are already in motion. Trip dates and details will also be coming very soon. It is never too early to begin making plans. And I promise to work hard to make our trips as productive and enjoyable as possible.

Thanks again, and until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Terry Reeves

Saturday, July 21

slip sliding away




Day 9. The last work day for the trip. Usually one that we hate to see coming because we know the trip is about to end. And, as always, it was true again today. With an exception. Today we might have done the coolest, neatest, most fun thing ever down here... we went to the giant water park here in Tegucigalpa.

Our morning was planned as a "sleep in" day. However, if you know this group, sleeping in means getting up at 6:30 instead of 6:00. For those of us who understand the concept of sleeping in, we tried valiantly. However, Marc Tindall's group did not know that we were having a sleep in day and had their morning devotional outside of the dorm by the baptistery. Now, don't get me wrong, waking up to 70 people singing devo songs is not a bad thing at all, it was actually very cool. So, our group was up and about by 8:00. We had a light breakfast of toast and cereal and then had morning devotional out by the overlook. The morning was beautiful and the view of the valley was inspirational. We found out that last night Nolen, one of our bus drivers and Marlin's (aka Loco) best friend, was baptized. Cisco and Marlin, along with Mrc Tindall, studied with him yesterday at Santa Ana suring some of our down time.

After devo we loaded a huge amount of food that was going out to Dadasko to supplement the food our last team took out there. We also had taken out 4 cases of toilet paper, tooth paste, and soap. With just a bit of supplementing Jorge and Rosa will be able to feed the children out there till Christmas. He told us that this food was such a blessing because they operate on such a tight budget that there are times they really do not know where the next meal is coming from.
Earlier in the month a group from Oregon came down and spent $18,000 to dig a new well for them. They now have a good source of sweet water to drink which eliminates the need to buy bottled water. It is great to know that they are taken care of now for a few months.

We loaded the buses at 11:00 to go out to Dadasko to pick up the kids for the greatest field trip of their lives. Jorge told us that in his wildest dreams that he never thought that they would ever get to go to Aqua Splash. Today, his wildest dreams came true. Our two buses were full of gringos and wide eyed children as we pulled into the parking lot. Earlier AB, Tyler, AK, and Rudy drove out to Casa de Esperanza and picked up 12 children and brought them to the park as well. So, at 1:30 pm 98 of us entered Aqua Splash, a water park that would compare to many in the U.S. The facility has a wave pool; a giant swimming pool; and HUGE children's pool (with 9 slides, water umbrellas, and a giant bucket that dumps water over a cleverly designed shed to splash victims below); and 2 separate speed slide towers with a total of 8 slides.

We never seen children have so much fun! We had our hands full trying to keep up with 45 kids as they conquered the park in short order. Our "lifeguards" were in the pools and slides making sure that everyone was safe and having fun. Other guests in the park stared in amazement as they watched very white skinned gringos care for Honduran children as if they were their own. It was quite a testimony as we did what we do best; love kids. But we are pretty sure that Rosa and Jorge, Dadasko's fabulous parents, had the most fun of all. Jorge did a quality control test on all of the slides to make sure they were in good working order for the kids. What a trooper, sacrificing like that for others. He had a grin from ear to ear and his flew down the slides!!!

After a couple of hours of non-stop fun some of the kids began slowing down and bundling up in towels and cuddling up in welcoming laps. Most of the kids used their sly little grins and smiles to get some snacks and drinks from the gringos. They had us wrapped around their little fingers and we knew it. And we loved it. So, after grape sodas and Doritos chips we went to the cafeteria for cheeseburgers, fries, and drinks. We had a very generous portion of food and had a great time with the kids. Some packed up food to take back to share with those who did not get to come on the trip. Wow, how amazing is that? These kids are incredible......

But, at 5:00, the tears began to flow as we had to say goodbye. You get attached to these kids and no matter how many times you come down here it is always hard to say goodbye. Now, the South Carolina group is prone to cry at the drop of a hat, and when they have a really good reason, they can all out cry their eyes out. So, with tear filled eyes, we waved goodbye with hopes that next year we will be able to see our precious little friends again. What a wonderful day it was, and for the record, it did not rain. Again, how cool is that?

Tonight we had dinner at the mission house. Our last meal was baked chicken in a mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes or noodles, with dinner rolls. After dinner our group drove down the mountain to the Kluge's house for desserts. What a spread! They went all out for us with cookies, brownies, fresh fruit, and more. Their house has an unbelievable view of the city from their back porch. It rivals the view from the Jesus statue. After dessert we had our final evening devotional. The singing, as always, we awesome. We did our traditional, "where did you see Jesus today?" with many comments about the events over the past couple of days. It seems like the group is really starting to open up with their thoughts. I am sure that most everyone on the trip wishes that we could stay just a few more days.

Tomorrow we will have church services at 8:00 and then we will load up the buses and head to the airport. Sara and AB leave tomorrow morning at 6:00 am for San Salvador. Please keep Sara's mother in your prayers. She was in the hospital while we were here but the surgery went well and she has been released. Sara is anxious to get home to see her mother. Then on Monday a handful of us will fly back to the states. Rudy is off to Costa Rica Monday to see his family. So, as we depart our separate ways, we leave knowing that we have a big family and that we serve an awesome God. We might live in different places but we know that our church family is everywhere. Praise God that we are one in the Spirit!

We hope that you have enjoyed the blogs. We will continue writing so stay tuned. Next year's trip dates will be posted very soon so that you can get your calendars marked and get your vacation days reserved. It is never too early to start planning your next trip with Torch Missions, the mountaintop experience.

From all of us at Torch Central, goodnight and adios!

Friday, July 20

Welcome to Honduras...



If you have EVER been to Honduras you have heard the term, "Welcome to Honduras." And all of the Torch members know exactly what that term means. For those of you who have not been here before, you are about to learn for yourselves what this phrase means. This phrase can cover a huge variety of things as you will soon read about.


Today was full of unexpected events. In other words, if something could go wrong, it did go wrong. Today actually started out normal, at least until devo was finished, then everything went a little bit crazy. EVERYBODY went to Santa Ana today, including Marc Tindall's group of 60 people, plus our group of about 47. Our original plans for today were as followed: build bunk beds for the new dorm at Casa de Esperanza; build one house; give out food during a food distribution; and play with the kids at Casa de Esperanza. Oh, and send a crew to Mololoa for concrete work and to work at the Manna Project…once again that’s what our plan WAS.

After devo we got the buses loaded up with supplies that we needed for the day, such as tools and food. Then at 9:00, 3 buses left, 1 was full and 1 was only half-way full, and we had over 50 people plus 200 bags of food on the third bus. We then called Elroy (all of our buses have names) to come back and get some of the people so they wouldn’t have to stand the whole way to Santa Ana. The third bus (bus with no name... yeah, that is its name) decided to pull out and go ahead and leave because it was taking so long for Elroy to get back up the mountain. About 9 stayed behind to wait for Elroy to get back to the mission House. About 30 minutes later we called Elroy to find out where it was only to learn that it had turned around when it saw the bus with no name pass it. Both buses headed out to Santa Ana with only about 15 people still on Elroy. Those of us still here, 9 of us, rode in the pick-up truck the whole way to Santa Ana. As if all of this transportation confusion wasn’t bad enough, there was a 7 car wreck on the highway to Santa Ana, so the typical 40 minute drive there, took 1 hour and 40 minutes. This was the beginning of "Welcome to Honduras."

Once we finally got there, we waited for Noel (the preacher at Santa Ana) to show us where the construction site was. 13 people + tools piled into Terry’s truck and they drove quite a ways to the site…or at least as far as the truck could go. After the truck stopped the crew had to walk through the cornfields about 10 minutes to the actual site. Talk about being off of the beaten path! As that crew starting tearing down the old house, they realized that they were going to need more help, so Terry drove back and got another truck load of workers, larger than the previous one and took them out to the site. On this truck load he took most of the food distribution team, and told them that they would have to put the food disribution on hold for a while. "Welcome to Honduras."

Meanwhile, those who were left at Casa de Esperanza played with all of the children around the village up by the clinic, located near the road, and the children from Casa de Esperanza. The plan to build bunk beds was delayed for another day because the lumber for the beds never showed up. (Welcome to Honduras!!). Therefore, those who were at Casa de Esperanza decided to go door knocking and hold Bible studies. As we were about to leave, a little boy came to the clinic with a large, deep gash in his forehead. He had been playing and fell on a rock. We couldn’t just leave him there like that, so Dr. Love, from Marc Tindall's group, gave him a couple of stitches. Welcome to Honduras.

After the medical treatment we were able to leave. Meanwhile, the construction crew was still out in No Man’s Land finishing their house. They had a challenging tear down before they could build the new house. All of the family's belongings were taken out of the old house and placed near the corn field. While all of this was going on in Santa Ana, AB took terry's truck and went back into the city with a truck load of food that Jen Wright's group had packed. He met up with Jen and her team and took the food to the “dump,” and had the most organized food distribution that TORCH has ever had. The dump is located outside of the city and the poorest of the poor live out there. Their main income is digging through the trash looking for stuff that can be recycled. It is one of the saddest places you can ever visit.

The first bus with the construction crew arrived just after 6, and the other bus arrived around 6:30, so it was a very late evening. After supper with mystery meat and rice, we hopped on the buses and headed to El Piccacho for devo. It’s always such a moving site at the Jesus statue. It’s breathtaking looking out over the city. We had over 130 people up there for devo, the singing was amazing!

Marc gave us a great message tonight and talked about second chances. He told us a story of a 10 year old boy named Leuven, who about 3 months ago was put in Casa de Esperanza by a judge, but Leuven was taken right off the streets, and when you live on the streets you have to be tough, and Leuven was a tough guy, so when he was at Casa, he was always beating up the rest of the children and Jen couldn’t have that, because it would put the children in the same situations as they were in. They had to give Leuven back to Casitas Kennedy, which is the government run orphanage, which is really horrible. Nobody really cares for the children there; they’re not showed what love is. Leuven would always tell the workers “my mommy’s coming to get me” and they would ask him “why would you want that” and Leuven responded “no, my gringa mommy.” He was talking about Jen Wright.

About 3 weeks ago, a man from the Jimmy Hughes orphanage was at Casitas Kennedy visiting, and he gave Leuven a pair of shoes, some limpiras, and a gum wrapper with the words “Santa Ana” on it. The next morning at 5 am, Leuven escaped from Casitas Kennedy and traveled for 12.5 hours until he reached Casa de Esperanza. This ten year old, illiterate child traveled 12.5 hours across a city of 1.4 million people to Santa Ana for a second chance. With the limpiras he had left over, he bought all of the children at Casa, as much fruit as he could afford in a way to apologize to them for beating them up. When he got to the gate of Casa de Esperanza, he asked Jen “Can I come home?” and she let him stay. Ever since then, they have had no problems with Leuven and he is always trying to help around the Casa. It’s just amazing how many times in our lives that God gives us second chances, and this is another great example of that. Tomorrow we get to sleep in a little bit later than usual so that will be good.

Please everyone pray that it doesn’t rain tomorrow so that we can have a blast at the water park with the kids from Didasko and Casa de Esperanza!! Adios from Torch Central!!! In Him

The Torch bloggers

TS

Thursday, July 19

The day of "rest" for the Loco Gringos





Today we awoke to find a few visitors at the Mission House, Carlos Toledo, the preacher from the Valley of Angels, and his family came by (the mission house is at least an hour from their house) to pick up the care packages for the family we met yesterday that was without food and clothing. To come out of your rooms and have his sweet children come running to give you a hug...well, it was an awesome way to start of our day.

We did not split into teams today although a few people left early to go help at the Manna Project. After devo we loaded the bus down with food to deliver to Nuevo Oriental. The food packing team had assembled about 450 bags of food the other day. We did a delivery to Mololoa with 1/3 of the food bags and today we took another third. Our final food distribution will take place tomorrow at Santa Ana.

Once we arrived in Nueve oriental we split into teams, one team took the "easy" trail while 3 other groups took the remaining trails. We also had a few people stay behind to occupy the children with coloring pages and bubbles. Everyone that went to Nueve that had not yet received "Mountain Goat" status is not officially a member. Rudy (one of our fearless translators) and part of his group scaled a mountain to deliver food to needy families (if you have never been here, mountains run right through Tegucigalpa. They resemble the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The Mission House is 4,600 feet above sea level). You can never have enough food in Nueve because so many people live in this village. Even with all the food we had on the bus it still wasn't enough. It was heart breaking to to have to tell families that you don't have any more food to give them. Hopefully Marc Tindall's group will be able to go back and deliver more food out there.

Then we went to hospital Escuela. We got to play with the kids there for about 2 hours, giving away toys, bubbles and praying with the families. This was our second visit to the hospital. It is always emotional to go there and to see the patients being treated. There are so many people there and the hospital is understaffed and under funded. Hospital Escuela is the largest hospital in Cental America. The hospital is very good to let us go and visit most wards when we get there. Even though other groups come you can tell that most of the children never have visitors. Many times children are by themselves because their mother or father had t0 go to work. So, to get a smile from the children make it all worth while.

We then went to the Peace Monument for lunch. After lunch and a brief history lesson from AB about the war between Honduras and El Salvador we had our picnic lunch. The view from the Peace Monument is beautiful. It overlooks the city and we can see parts of the city that we cannot see well from the top of El Hetillo. We were the only ones there so it was nice and peaceful.

After lunch we went to the blind school. Our appointment was for 2:30. For many of us the blind school is the highlight of the trip. The children suffer in various degrees of blindness. They are taught many subjects here at the school along with music lessons. These children are so loving and kind and they love having visitors. After playing with them and giving away toys, stuffed animals, and candy, we enjoyed a concert from their choir. The children can sing like angels! It is such a wonderful experience to hear them and to watch their expressions as they sing. They truly sing from the heart. After that we then sang a few songs to them. They also love hearing songs in English. It is always hard to leave and say goodbye because we know that some of the ones we know and met this year might not be here next summer when we return.

This afternoon 60 new Torch members rolled in. Marc Tindall's team flew in and had orientation this afternoon. An additional 27 come in on Friday. We will have 137 here until we leave this Sunday. Needless to say it is packed! It will be challenging to make meals work smoothly and to run two separate schedules, but I am sure it will work out just fine.

Once we returned home a few of the guys began a rousing game of soccer on the basketball court. It seems some people have more energy that they know what to do with. Before dinner we had the opportunity to shop with Mi Ezperanza. Janet Hines and company brought all kinds of goods made by Mi Esperanza to sell. Some people (Erin) couldn't seem to spend enough money. Both groups got to shop and buy things to take back home with them. We had a combined devo with Marc Tindall's group. The singing was awesome with all of the extra voices. After the devotional Janet gave us a presentation of Mi Esperanza. This program trains Honduran women to learn how to run and operate their own businesses and to educate themselves to be better parents. It has been in operation for over 5 years now and Janet shared a couple of stories of women who have turned their lives around through the program. They have big plans to expand in the near future which will give them the ability to help teach and train even more women.

Tomorrow we plan to have a small group for the Manna project and to send out our Loco Gringos back to Mololoa for more concrete duty. They are pumped about getting to go back for another round of dirt, sweat, and concrete. The rest of the group will go on to Santa Ana to build a house and make some bunk beds for the children's home and to do another huge food give away. Oh, and by the way, it did not rain today! Adios from Torch Central, stay tuned for tomorrow! more

The Witte House




these are some pictures of the Witte house that was built the other day.

p.s.- if you want to send emails to someone down here, please email me at ty_steffy@hotmail.com. i apologize for the link not working this trip. i have no idea what happened from last week to this week, but the link reset itself to send the emails to brandy barnett for some reason. and she's not down here. so if you have any emails you want sent to anyone here PLEASE email me. once again i apologize for this inconvenience. also we appreciate your comments but please if you're wanting to email someone, don't use commenting as your source of email. thanks!

TS

Wednesday, July 18

No es mi culpa!




Today was a great day: #1 because God blessed us with the ability to get up this morning & #2 because we got to do work for Him. Although He blessed us with the ability to get up, for some of us, this wasn't an easy task. But for some this must be an easy task because there were a bunch of people out by the cafeteria at 6:30 this morning!!! I don't know how they did that but God must have blessed them with a long night's sleep. After breakfast, we
had devo out at the rock. We then split into 4 teams: a food distribution and concrete team went to Mololoa, we also had our VBS and medical crew back in the valley.

We gave out 130 bags of food today in Mololoa, which is about a 3rd of what they packed up. It took us nearly 3 hours to break down all the food. We had 2 full deliveries of food to seperate and bag. The crew made work into fun as they bagged up beans, rice, sugat, coffee, flour, and other staples. Tonight at devo we discovered that there are a few mountain goats among us..Ray, Danny, and Julia were a few of the ones that were mentioned. They scaled steep inclines to get food up to houses that were located at the very tip of the mountains.

The concrete
team..there are no words left to describe them. Their fearless leader was down with HTP today, they went to work without him today. Tom Beach has declared tomorrow an official day of rest for this team, but rest assured they will be hard at work again on Friday. We are pretty sure they like their new nickname, "The Loco Gringos!" Believe us when we say they have earned it!

When we arrived at the Valley today we were amazed at the number of people that had already gathered and were waiting. Their were 275 people waiting on us when we got there for medical treatment and for the VBS. After a quick prayer we got right to work.VBS began at 2 and was about Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave. After lots of singing and a skit we had pb&j's and lemonaid!! once all the children had been served we then offered these to the adults waiting in line. Right about this time the clouds let lose! (yep, more rain, just more of the same wet stuff we have been battling since we have been here...) Luckily we were able to allow the rest of the patients to come in side or on to the front porch.

All the while our medical team is working up a storm (sorry, I couldn't resist). While at the clinic we met a man who had 10 children. He and his family had walked 10 miles just to get here today. They have no house, no food, no clothes for their children. To make matters worse he was robbed of everything (even his clothes) early in the day before they traveled over to see us. The police knew where we were and helped get him to us. They spoke with some of our team members and with the preacher, Carlos Toledo, of the Church in the valley. At the end of the day we gave them any food we had left and the leftover lemonaid from VBS. We then gave them a ride back to the police station, which is where they are living at the moment. Once back at the mission house we prepared a few care boxes for them. Carlos is suppose to come up and get the supplies to give the family.

Evening devotional was later than usual so that the team could go to the grocery store to restock their lunch foods. After devotional the Palmetto group made some special presentations to the Manna Project. Randy and Melissa Kluge, along with Jen Arnold, was present to receive a beautiful plaque to honor Claudia Pinkston, who was unable to come this year. She has been a cornerstone of the team from SC and is battling health issues. The new daycare center that is under construction in Mololoa will have a library and a section of the library will be called "Claudia's Corner." The building will be completed by next summer and we look forward to Claudia being with us to see the finished work! Palmetto also gave the Manna Project team a check for $5,200.00 that was collected from the congregation to help with the feeding center. Melissa gave us a tearful reminder of what they money provides for these precious little children that they are working with here in Honduras.

Tomorrow we plan to do food distribution in Nueve Oriental, a visit to the hospital and also the blind school. Even though we are getting near the end of the trip we are not slowing down. Good night from Torch Central.

Tuesday, July 17

Never a DULL moment..



Today started off with an amazing breakfast of pancakes that almost everyone got up in time to enjoy and a devo lead by Jack Nichols on the overlook where he encouraged us to not waste a minute of the time we had here. There were 4 teams today a construction team, a medical and VBS team in the Valley of Angels. We also had a concrete team...surprising I know.

We loaded the buses and left at 9:00 sharp (actually it was 9:20, but that is about as sharp as you can get in Honduras). Once we arrived at the Valley of Angels and unloaded the bus the Medical team prepared everything for the patients that were already beginning to lineup. 10 people made up our outstanding medical crew which was in side the church building. While patients waited for medical treatment an adult bible study was conducted. A few members of the VBS team climbed a mountain (I mean this literally) to spread the news of about our free medical clinic and VBS. Once we returned to the church we began to entertain the children that were beginning to arrive. When the children finally got out of school we began VBS which was about Jesus healing the paralytic.

The concrete team was at Mololoa never ceases to amaze us. Today a dump truck deposited a truck load of huge rocks ranging in sizes of a watermelon and beach ball (strange analogy i know...but its the best we could come up with). above their work site. They then had to carry or in most cases roll these rocks down the mountain to their work site. The construction team built a house in honor of Tom Beach's mother in the Valley of the Angels. This house came with a million dollar view, if you had seen this site you would understand why this place is called the Valley of the Angels. Building a house in Honduras is never dull...even if the chainsaw always is. This summer we have had to preform CPR on our chainsaws more times than you could count. The family that received this house was a 20 year old mother with a 4 year old and a 2 year old child.

Tonight we had a relaxing night at the mission house. After dinner we had another awesome devo lead by Ed Nicholson. Tomorrow we have a full day planned for the VBS and Medical crew, food distribution, and of course....concrete.

Monday, July 16

Loco Gringos..



Today was the first day since our group arrived that it did not rain (at least during the daytime, it rained tonight during evening devotional). We were finally able to have morning devo at the overlook! We had a powerful devo lead by Danny Mullins, he spoke to us about the children he has met and how they have ministered to him. We then split into 5 groups: one team went to finish a house in Mololoa, a concrete team, a small group to sort all of the medical supplies, a group worked with the Mana project in Mololoa and the rest of us went to the Special Needs Orphanage and then on to Didasko Orphanage.

The construction team did not get to finish the Witte House that we started on Saturday, so they left this morning to finish it with the help of the concrete team. After the dedication they joined us at Didasko Orphanage. The concrete team first helped finish the house and then worked on the foundation for the daycare in Mololoa. This group of "Loco Gringos" as we like to call them did a tremendous job busting HUGE boulders, carrying gravel up the mountain side, digging trenches and mixing concrete. Jack Nichols, a member of the concrete team, actually has been preparing to do concrete work. 6 months ago he made a decision to go to a gym and work out to become physically fit to prepare himself for this trip (please refer to loco gringos). This group continued to do this back breaking work all day in the sun and still managed to return home in a good mood with smiles on their faces (although they had a crazy look in their eye...).

Our medical team went to the bodega today to sort our medical supplies and make them ready for tomorrows clinic. They spent literally 2 hours breaking down all the medicine into personal doses and putting Spanish labels on everything. The rest of the group loaded their bags with toys and headed of to the Special Needs Orphanage where we blessed with the opportunity to spend a few hours with these wonderful children! We then headed to Didasko, which by the way is in the middle of no where!! When the children saw our buses they came running from all directions to greet us. We got to spend several hours playing with these amazing children. When we had to say our goodbyes the children stood at the gate until we could no longer see them. I don't believe there was a dry eye on the bus when we left.

Following a long day of work (or play) a group went to play indoor soccer. Marc Tindall's interns came with us and we also had some of the men who work for American Airlines come too. Several also went to watch and to cheer on the players at Victor Sport. We then returned to the mission house for devo. We sang a few songs and had a short message. Tonight was the first time we have been able to do the where did you see Jesus reflection time. Hopefully we will be able to do this more as the trip continues.

Tomorrow our plans include VBS in the Valley of Angels, a construction team, medical clinic, and believe it or not a concrete team returning to Mololoa. The pace continues to be fast and furious as we try to squeeze as much into the day as we can. We ask for prayers, especially for Mother Nature to be kind to us for the rest of the trip. Good night from Torch central.

Sunday, July 15

Lord make us Instruments




Today started off a little earlier than usual. We had breakfast at 7:00 and then we loaded the buses at 8:15 and headed off to the Valley of the Angels for church service. Our service was a bilingual service. Danny Thomas led the singing in English and Carlos Toledo (the local preacher) led the singing in Spanish. Jim Williams spoke to us during church service and Phillip Shockley translated. His lesson brought home the fact that we have brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and that we are all the same to God. We stand before him in poverty because we do not have anything without Him. AB interpreted the comments for the Lord's Supper and we had prayers in English and Spanish. It was a wonderful assembly and it was great to worship a God who hears all languages!

During the service a few of our girls helped with the children's class. We located some left over coloring pages, crayons, and craft supplies from yesterday, (that by some miracle had been left in the bus) and gave these supplies to the teachers for the children's class. Of course, not children's Bible class is done until they have cookies and juice! There were 20 children present and we had a great time with them.

Following our worship service we had the opportunity to spend lots of money in the Valley... we were only hindered slightly by the torrents of rain (did we mention that it is rainy season down here?). At 3:00 we went to the Hope Center which is a small children's home in the Valley. They have 16 children that are all lovingly cared and well provided for. All of the children could comprehend and speak English. It was refreshing to see Honduran children that were both healthy and happy. We had a blast playing with the kids and giving them a few toys and some candy. They are adorable and just loved all of the attention. While that was going on a few team members slipped out of the house and engaged playtime and give away time with s0me local children that live across the street. Some of the interns at the Hope Center go over there on a regular basis to minister to these children. They were also just adorable although it is evident that they are not having the same home life the Hope Center children are receiving. It is so sad to know that so many children here are living in homes where love, hope, and safety are missing.

We then journeyed to Santa Lucia for an amazing dinner at the Santa Lucia Hotel. We had a buffet of chicken, beef, and pork that was amazing. We had a great time at the meal and had enough food left over to send back with Jen Wright. Jen has a group here from Ohio this week and they drove out to join us for dinner and our devotional. We then proceeded to the oldest cathedral in the Western hemisphere (built in 1530) for devo. The singing was beautiful and very moving (those of you that have been here know that the acoustics in this place is unbelievable). After devo we came back to the mission house to rest up for tomorrow.

We have a busy day planned tomorrow. We plan on sending a team back out to Mololoa to finish the house and also a team to work on the foundation some more. We also will send a team out to work in the kitchen to feed the children. The rest of us will be going to the special needs orphanage and to Dadasko. We also will be playing soccer at Victor Sport as if that was not enough. Keep us in your prayers. God is doing amazing things down here! Dios te bendiga!

Rain, Rain, Go Away...





Hola! Today was our first day of “real” work with the South Carolina group. After breakfast and morning devotional, we all loaded up on the buses, and headed to Mololoa. We split up into a few different teams today. We had 2 construction teams today, both of which were pretty high up on the mountain. We had a team that was digging a footer (note: a "footer" in Honduras is about 5 feet deep and about 4 feet wide...they do this for all of the buildings no matter how tall they are going to be.... it would take an earthquake to shake this foundation) for the new daycare, and we also had a team to play with the children and keep them occupied so they woould not be at the construction sites in the way of danger. With all of that going on, we also had to fight mother nature all day. It was rainy, windy, and cold (well for Honduran weather). Mother nature pretty much won.

The construction sites were…well in less than perfect areas, both were on a side of a mountain, and both were very difficult/challenging to get to (Torchers will know that this was a typical building site). At first, only one site had wood so we had about 30 people working on one house at the beginning, which was good considering how difficult it was to get the wood there. The wood was dropped off on the road (path, trail, narrow driving area...) and we had to carry the lumber down the mountain side to the build site which was about 200 feet away. After we had dug out the post holes for that house, the wood came for the other house, so half the crew grabbed their supplies, and walked about 15 minutes up the hill to their site, which to the eye looked a little bit easier…HA…looks can be very deceiving! The site was closer to the road but was located about 25 feet below. After using our acrobatic skills to get down to the site we had to dig out additional dirt away from the side of the mountain to make enough room to build. The house build began very smoothly, but hey, it’s Honduras, that can’t last long, so of course it had to start raining and the wind had to start blowing (slightly less than gale force which was so fun to deal with on the side of a mountain...).

Then in the middle of the day (3 O’Clock) we stopped work and went to the church building. We had the official dedication of the new daycare to the Claypoole’s, which was amazing! The daycare will serve the women of the community so that they can go off to work and know that their children will be same and in a good environment. The Claypoole family made a sizable donation to the project and flew down for the dedication. Jen Arnold’s Sunday School class sung 6-7 songs in Spanish and in English for everyone. Her English class recited a verse from the Bible. Melissa Kluge gave a speech about all of the things that are being done in Mololoa and some of the mothers spoke about what the daycare would mean to them. After all of that, the cooks from the feeding center prepared a meal for everyone (they had been up since 5 AM preparing).

Meanwhile, the interns stayed behind and finished one of the houses, and when the rest of the crew came back we dedicated the house to the Dial family. The proud new owners of the house were very grateful that God had blessed them so greatly today, they now have a dry place to sleep. It was very heartbreaking to see the little boy helping us with the house telling his mom that he was cold. He was shaking so bad that he couldn’t move. It was a bit relieving though to know that tonight they now have a brand new house to keep them warm and dry. We do have to go back and finish the other house which is almost done. Weather and building conditions stopped us from finishing that one. We got a lot accomplished considering the circumstances today.

While the construction crew was hard at work, a group of girls went down to the soccer field armed with hundreds of coloring books, crayons, balloons, jump ropes, and lots of nail polish. It was a fun day playing with the kids and neither rain nor wind kept them away. We packed up our stuff and headed down the mountain around 6:00 to catch warm showers and a hot meal (chicken enchiladas!) The devo tonight was lead by Mr. Claypoole. He spoke about our influence on others not only in Honduras, but also back in the states. He spoke about his father and the influence Christians had on his life. He told us that people are always watching so always set a good example. At home, school, work, wherever. There were a lot of tears when we finished (Note: The SC group cry more than any group we have ever worked with! We are thinking about starting a support group!) Most of the group was weary after a hard day of work but a few people got together for a rousing game of spoons. Puffy reversed his usual role of being on the ground wrestling for spoons and instead tackled one of our rookies. As you can see from the pictures….this is what happens when you show no respect…..

It was a great day, despite the weather. It is going to take a lot more that rain and wind to keep us down! Tomorrow we will be at the Valley of Angels for worship and to do some shopping. We will have devo at Santa Lucia too. Take care, more later!

Friday, July 13

South Carolina present and accounted for...



The Palmetto church group from Columbia, South Carolina, arrived in Tegucigalpa today. The flight was an hour late getting here but that is pretty standard for this end of the world. And, believe it or not, all of their bags made it too. That was a thrill for me since I was totally prepared to go back to the airport Saturday to pick up lost luggage. Even though they were tired from the 11:00 pm departure the night before, they were excited to be back to do what they love to do.... serve God.

After a quick lunch we headed off to Hospital Esquela for a visit. We arrived around 4:00 so we only had a little over an hour to go in. We divided into 4 teams led by our fearless team of translators. We went to the burn unit and divided up to cover the children's ward. Lots of toys, stuffed animals, coloring books and bubbles were given away. Many stopped and prayed at bedsides for the children that were ill. Even though is was a short time it was well worth it.

From there we went to the grocery store to buy food to make lunches for the next couple of days. We arrived at the mission house around 6:00. We had our orientation and question/answer session and gave out room assignments. We had dinner and then had devo at 8:00. Danny Thomas spoke and read from Matthew 25 and focused on the point that everything we do is done in the name of Jesus and therefore nothing we do is trivial. Whether it is scooping beans into a zip-lock bag or nailing a board into place, it is all important.

Saturday we are going to be building 2 houses in Mololoa and will be working on the foundation for the daycare center that is being built. We are also having the official dedication at the site tomorrow with our special guests, the Claypools. We are very grateful for their generous spirit to help the Manna Project to get the funds needed to begin the daycare facility. Next summer it will be up and running and we will be able to see the fruits of our labor from this trip. Sunday we are going out to the Valley of Angels for worship and to pass out flyers for our VBS / medical team that will be out there next week. We are also going to be visiting a children's home located just outside the city. We will also have our devo at Santa Lucia. A group of 40 from Lebanon, Tennessee, and Auburn, Alabama, will be joining us.

It is going to be a great trip. We are excited and ready to roll. Keep us in your prayers, we have 1 sick already. After the last group, we have no idea what to expect! Until later, Dios te bendiga! Blessings to all,

TR

Thursday, July 12

Die Hard?

It has been a relaxing day at the mission house. Most us got to sleep in until 9:30 and eat breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, some people (SARA) got a little hyper after eating a triple chocolate donut...we then went to Baxter Institute, Valley of Angels, and Santa Lucia to get things ready for the next group coming down tomorrow. After driving around for awhile trying to find a children's home that we visited a few years ago, Terry proved that if you drive around long enough you might possibly find what you are looking for.
Following this
exhausting day, we went to the Metromall saw a movie and did some shopping. Let me tell you...it was TOUGH having to watch a movie in English, in an air conditioned room with popcorn. Needless to say we will all be glad to get back to work tomorrow.
Buenas noches! (That means good night for those of you who don't speak Spanish)