Our Mission Statement

Monday, May 28

Get the door, it's....God?

God is unbelievable. As a matter of fact, God is awesome. Now, those of you that know me know quite well that the words “unbelievable” and “awesome” are used quite a bit. OK, a lot. But I have to tell you that I am amazed a lot and it really doesn’t take a whole lot to do it. This is but just another example of how amazing and unbelievable God truly is.

Torch is launching into Brazil for the first time this year. I have dreamed of going to Brazil since I was in 7th grade at Davis Hills Middle School. I was in geography class and my teacher assigned everyone a country to do a report and a presentation in class. I was assigned Brazil. It wasn’t my first, second, or even tenth choice, but never the less I got it. But, after doing my research I decided that I would go there someday. Lofty dream for a boy growing up in northern Alabama. For most, just leaving the state of Alabama seemed like a pipe dream.

Yet, here I am, a week away from seeing that dream come true. Finally. Let me share with you another “God thing” moment. It happened today, on Memorial Day. A national holiday honoring our fighting men and women, past and present, who have guarded the freedoms of this country.

Plans began for Brazil about 2 ½ years ago. Danny Bratcher, long time Torch veteran, decided to sell his possessions and go to Sunset School of Preaching to get his degree in bible and go into the mission field in Brazil. We began discussing the idea of a Torch team going to Recife to work. Last summer plans began in earnest for our trip. Information about the trip went out in November and by March of this year our team was assembled.

Now, to go to Brazil you have to apply for a visa. I have never had to do this but it seemed to be a fairly simple procedure. You have to fill out an application, send a photo, your passport, and a check for $110.00 to the Brazilian consulate in Miami, Florida. How hard could this possibly be? Plenty hard, I can assure you!

My first mistake was waiting to the last minute to send off my application. I was waiting for 2 of my students from Friendship Christian to get all of their paperwork and money to me. I wanted to send all 3 of them together. Now, Danny had given me VERY SPECIFIC instructions on how to till out the visa application. He told me that if we made any errors on it that it would be rejected. I should have known this was true since 2 members of our team were rejected and they had to reapply.

My second mistake was not signing my passport. I just renewed my passport this year and I forgot to sign the new one. My application had been gone for about a week when Margaret asked me about it. Knowing that just one mistake could reject the whole thing, I began to worry. Actually, I had already started worrying because I sent off the applications 3 weeks before we were suppose to leave (and it takes 2 weeks to process the applications).

My third mistake was not paying close attention to the visa instructions. It clearly states to attach a passport photo to the application. Although I did attach a passport photo to my application we did not attach passport photos to my student’s applications. We used school photos that we got from the yearbook staff. One of the team members that were rejected was because he did not use a passport photo on his application. When I found that out I began to worry even more. (A lot…)

In my state of Worrydom, my wife told me to turn it over to God and stop worrying about it. Let HIM handle it. In my sarcastic little way I told her OK. (Can I say easier said than done here…?) So, Sunday night (May 27th) I finally did laid it out there in prayer and turned it over to God. I also got in touch with Brian Steffy to let him know that he might be leading the trip. (I am such a believer, aren’t I?) I figured I needed to make plans in case God decided that I didn’t need to go this year…

Monday morning. Memorial Day. National holiday. The banks are closed and so is the U.S. Post Office. 11:30 am the doorbell rang. I am outside in the back yard working. Margaret answered the door to receive a package. A package being delivered on Memorial Day??? It was the U.S. Postal Service delivering a 1-day express delivery envelope from Miami, Florida. ON MEMORIAL DAY. I really thought my heart was going to stop beating. It was from the Brazilian Consulate. Judgment day was about to take place.

And to my surprise and great pleasure, 3 approved travel visas were inside. And a great big invisible note from God with a smiley face on it. I guess nothing, including the U.S. postal service or a national holiday, can keep God from making a delivery!!!


Wednesday, May 23

Brazil packing list


Camera, film, memory cards
Deck of cards
Paper, pen
Toilet paper, Kleenex
Pepto Bismal
Tooth brush, tooth paste
Soap, shampoo
Shaving cream, razor
DeodorantHand wipes
Hand sanitizer
Insect repellent
Sunscreen (spf 25+)
Towels* (at least 2)
Wash cloth
Twin bed sheets* (2 sets)
Pillowcases* (2)
Spending money ($100 - $150)

Watch (waterproof)
Hat or visor
Flash light, extra batteries
Alarm clock Work clothes
1 “church” outfit
Work shoes (closed toed)
Work gloves
Peanut butter, jelly
Snack foods, gum
Laundry bag
Water bottles
Box of Zip-lock sandwich bags
Several boxes of Zip-lock bags (gallon size)
Pocket knife (pack in suitcase!!!)
Sharpie marker
Personal medicines

Items in bold VERY important
*Items to be left when we leave (Bring new sets if possible in white.)

Tuesday, May 22

What lies within us

Ahhh, fresh air. Well, at least, sort of…. We have entered our last week of school and finals. For several of my students school has already ended because they were exempt from tests because of their class averages. So, classes are half empty (or half full, depending if you are an optimist or pessimist I guess) and reviews are taking place. My grades are caught up, my tests are already made, and soccer is over. Life is slowing down to the speed of light and I feel like I can breathe again. At least for a couple of days that is.

The summer mission trips are here and the bullet train is leaving the station. Nathan and his team are already in Honduras. They left Saturday and will be there until May 30th. The inaugural Torch trip to Brazil leaves June 4th. I am both nervous and excited. Our team will consist of 22 from Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas. WE have 5 interpreters that speak fluent Portuguese and one very excited Danny Bratcher.

Danny left Monday afternoon for Recife, Brazil, SA. He is moving down there to become a full time missionary. He is an amazing guy with one of the biggest hearts I have ever met. He sold his possessions, went to Sunset School of Preaching, earned his degree, and is about to do what he has dreamed of for several years. Many of us that are reading this story are jealous. He is doing what a lot of us wish we could do. But, for the rest of us, we rejoice in the fact that we get to spend a couple of weeks doing what we love to do too. And for 22 of us, we get to do it with Danny.

Torch Missions has blessed so many lives. In so many different ways. But I think in every way it has helped us all to see the importance of our relationship with God and with each other. God’s kingdom is so big, so vast, and even though we all play just a small, small part, collectively the work is huge. We can never truly understand nor comprehend the worth of sharing the good news about Christ and showing the love of him through simple everyday actions and deeds. For the treasures of the earth do not compare to the wealth of just one soul.

OK, for the Brazil team, here is a news update for you. Remember, you can take 2 pieces of luggage on the trip. Plan on 1 suitcase for your clothes and stuff, 1 needs to be filled with toys, stuffed animals, crayons, paper, jump rope, and give away stuff. Bags need to weigh 50 pounds or less. Make sure you bring 2 sets of sheets and pillow cases for a twin size bed (that we are going to leave for the bible camp) and 2 towels (we will leave them also). If you have not done so yet, please send me a copy of your flight itinerary so I can make sure Danny knows when we are all arriving in Recife. If you have not send your final payment to me, I need it ASAP or you need to bring it with you in the form of cold, hard cash! Plans are falling together well and we are going to have a great trip!

For those going to Honduras, your final payment is due. Please make your checks payable to Western Hills Church of Christ / Torch Missions. I will be ordering lumber for our houses very soon and will be making our reservations at the Mission House and paying deposits. Any last changes with team numbers, names, etc., need to be made at this time. Otherwise, it looks like we are good to go.

We will be blessed this summer by having Tim Hines and Marc Tindall in Honduras. For those who may not know, Marc, and his wife Teri, are moving to Honduras to begin full time work. The Tindall’s is yet another family who has sacrificed greatly to go do kingdom work. What a blessing it is to see God at work through so many people!!!

May God continue to bless us all as we endeavor to work for Him. Keep your eyes focused on the cross and look ahead. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Terry Reeves