According to our count down ticker we are less than 90 days to our 2008 mission trip to Honduras. Time is ticking and everyday we get closer and closer to that date that has been marked on the calendar for months. And even though it is about 3 months away, I can say that it will seem like a blink and the time to get on the airplane will be here. I know all of us have been starting our trip preparations and have been getting things ready.
Hopefully you have looked at flight information by now. I have talked to some group leaders that are locked in and ready to go. For the rest of us, it is just about time to bite the bullet and get the tickets purchased. Whether you are flying American, Continental, or TACA, I need flight confirmations from all of you so that I can get them into the “Book of Much Importance.”
Deposits should already been in my possession. (Hint… that means some of you have not mailed in your deposits yet…) It will not be long before I will be sending in our deposits to Villa Gracia (Mission House), Torch Administration fees, and our deposit for our retreat to Tela. Without your deposits in hand I cannot make our required deposits. The longer you wait the longer I have to wait. Thanks to all of you that have been on time for your checks, I appreciate it! (Brett and Judy win for being the first to pay their deposits. Bravo to the Canadians!)
Our team continues to grow. 5 weeks ago our team had 63 people signed up for the trip. As of Sunday, March 30, 2008, we have 101. With this growth comes a lot of extra planning. Mega teams can get a lot done in a short amount of time but it takes a lot of resources to accomplish this and to keep everyone busy. It is very important that all group leaders focus on securing money for the work fund. I am thrilled to have such a large group because it shows the will and desire of the hearts of so many that want to go and work for the Lord. It is going to be an amazing trip.
We are very fortunate to have a great team of translators coming this year. To date we have 16 translators committed to work with us on our trip. Most of these translators have been with this team for several years and bring a wealth of experience and dedication to our mission team. Our translators will be working with our evangelism and medical teams, and will also work with the visitation teams when we go to the hospitals and children’s homes.
Our medical team continues to grow. We are excited that Dr. Tom Whitworth, from the Western Hills congregation in Nashville, has committed to return again this year. Nurse Angie Chaney, from Sarasota, will be with us again. Dr. Judy Mitchell (Montgomery, AL) and Dr. Anna Jane Maria Josefina Palmer Jimenez Alvarez Valdez (Dyersburg, TN…. It’s a long story…) are back again for wound care and physical therapy. We also have a nutritionist, Lisa Shepard (Nashville), and a dental hygienist, Terri Barber (Centerville, TN), with the team, as well as Steve Kemp, our athletic trainer.
Team members this year come from the following states: Alabama; Alaska; Connecticut; Florida; Kentucky; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; and Washington, and from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Brazil. The team is about 50% male and 50% female. The team is about 33% teenagers, 33% college/young professional, and 33% adult. The team is about 40% rookies and 60% veterans. It represents dozens of congregations, which blend together to make one fantastic team.
Although it is still too early to know all of the details, I can share with you a few things that have been set up for this year’s trip. As always, we will be building several houses. We have already had funds raised to build houses that will be dedication houses. We also plan on returning to the good Shepard Children’s Home to build the 3rd tower to complete the playground we started 2 summers ago. We plan on building 2 new classrooms for the school in Nueva Oriental and to outfit it with desks, chalkboards, and school supplies.
I have talked with Jorge and Maria at Dadasko and we have worked together to plan an evangelistic outreach in the Tamara area. We are organizing a 3 day VBS at the Dadasko home along with an adult Bible class. Jorge and Maria, along with the children of Dadasko, are going to door knock and invite the community to come to the VBS. Our medical team will be offering a free clinic at Dadasko for the community as well. We will conclude the events on Sunday with an outdoor worship assembly and dinner on the grounds. Veterans know what that means, “A Banquet for Jesus!”
We plan on doing at least 2-3 large food distributions in different areas as we go door to door. I hope to send workers to serve and cook at the Manna Project in Mololoa, and of course we plan on several visits to Hospital Esquela, and Hospital San Felipe. Trips to the Blind School, the Special Needs Orphanage, and Jovenes en Camino are also being planned.
Remember, our retreat plans have changed. We will be going to Tela for the retreat. Tela is on the northeast coast of Honduras, about 30 minutes east of San Pedro Sula. So, make sure you book your airline tickets into Tegucigalpa and out of San Pedro Sula. I will post information about the retreat soon.
The Mission House has completed the construction from last year and I can assure you the singing at the devotionals is going to rock the house. From the moment that we set foot on the ground until we leave I feel that this year will be the best trip ever (of course, I have said that 7 years in a row…. And meant it every time).
If this doesn’t get you excited, check your pulse and get to a doctor right away! Remember our theme, “Becoming all things to all men so that by all possible means we might win some.” We want to be Christ to those we come in contact with on our trip. Good luck on your fundraisers. Good luck on your preparations. Good luck on your supply collections. May God receive all of the glory we are going to do and may we praise Him for making all things possible.