After months of preparation, planning, and praying, the 2008 trips are now history. What a summer it was! I want to take a moment to thank everyone who had any part in making the trip such a huge success, for without you the trip just would not be possible. From those who make financial contributions; donated and collected goods; those who helped pack supplies; to the group and team leaders, who organized their teams, thank you so much. It is such an honor and privilege to work with you.
Its time for a wrap up for the trips this summer. I will try to make it brief because all of you know I could write pages on what actually took place on our trips this year. Many lives were touched this year on the trips and much seed was planted that will be harvested in the future. Hearts were changed, attitudes were adjusted, and many came back more focused on what God is doing in their lives. These things cannot be “totaled” like some of our projects, which is a shame, because in some ways these are the most important o all. Mission trips are life-changing experiences and to that we are all very grateful.
A team of 25 traveled to Recife this summer for 11 days in June. A metroplex of over 3 million, Recife is a major hub for commerce and shipping. Working with Randy Short and Danny Bratcher, the team focused on renovation of a bible camp that has been around for a while. The 3 story concrete structure received a lot of new paint as a section of the camp is being prepared to become a children’s home. The playground received a lot of tender loving care, paint, and repair, and a huge climbing tower was started. The team did a major food distribution to the poor along with a vacation Bible school at the Bible camp. Lots of service projects were also done and the team visited local hospitals and an orphanage. Additional work was done at one of the local church buildings too. Despite the daily tropical rain, a lot was done on the trip.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Reeves’ trip)
Even though the airport in Tegucigalpa was closed due to a plane mishap, it could not stop 100 of us going in and doing our thing. Re-routing to San Pedro Sula only added to the adventure. Staying at the newly remodeled Mission House, the team took little time to get started. Over the course of 9 days the construction team built 6 houses in Nueve Oriental and Mira Flores. The team also built the 3rd and final tower for the playground at the Good Shepherd Children’s Home in Zanmarano. 4 major food distributions took place that provided food for nearly 1,000 families. Food was also delivered to the Dadasko Orphanage where 25 precious children call home. We visited Hospital Esquela several times including 1 visit that lasted nearly 6 hours of real quality time. We visited the Special Needs Orphanage, the blind School, and also worked at Casa de Esperanza children’s home in Santa Ana. We worked in the feeding center at Mololoa and also helped build a set of stairs in the village where excessive erosion takes place. We went to feed the homeless at the city dump on 2 occasions, numbering about 250 people. We did a 3 day VBS at Dadasko. The first day we had about 65 kids and by the 3rd day we had nearly 200. Our medical team conducted a clinic at Dadasko and saw around 200+ patients who were able to get medical and dental treatments and assessments. Our pharmacy held on till the very end till the last person was seen. We also took about 75 children from Mololoa to have a KFC night where we fed them dinner and played with them on the giant playground. We attended church services at Los Pinos where we gave $500 to the contribution. We also took up a special contribution for Rosa, Jorge’s wife from Dadasko, who is going through some medic al problems. The special contribution was over $1,000.00. We did “Gatorade Blitzes” twice which simply means we went and bought Gatorade and traveled around town giving it away to the city street cleaning crews. We also helped unload a HUGE container that came in from Iron Mountain, Michigan, full of clothes that was collected and donated for give aways to the poor. Our team shipped FOUR (4) 40’ containers this year full of supplies that was collected from all over. 2 containers came from PA full of desks, chalkboards, and school equipment. Another container was full of paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, and all kinds of school and office supplies collected in Nashville. Harding Academy, from Memphis, collected supplies and made special “Christmas in July” boxes full of school supplies, toys, and fun stuff that was given to the 230 children that live at the Good shepherd Children’s Home. What a wonderful trip we had and I am sure I have left things out.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Palmetto team)
Tom Beach and company of 65+ did their first solo trip this year and what a trip they had. Conquering the transportation challenge from San Pedro to Tegucigalpa did not slow this team down a bit. The hit the ground running even though things did not run as smoothly as they had planned (they wore out the “welcome to Honduras” catch phrase). The team came well prepared and had a great mix of veterans and rookies. This team had the added benefit of having the supplies on the container that arrived late. Because of the container the Palmetto team was able to assemble and attach the new cyclone slide to the new tower at Good Shepherd. They also distributed the “Christmas in July” boxes that the Harding Academy team had made. They built 7 houses this year, mainly in Nueve Oriental. The team conducted 2 major food distributions, providing food for nearly 450 families. The team also provided a large amount of food to Dadasko Orphanage. They did 3 vacation Bible schools this year and the medical team did 3 clinics, seeing WELL over 500 people. The team set up a “free give away” store to distribute tons of clothes and shoes. The visited Hospital Esquela numerous times and also visited Good Shepherd Children’s Home, Dadasko Orphanage, and the Blind School. They also participated in the “Gatorade Blitz” and also did several service projects while there. They attended Los Pinos for church services and made a sizable contribution as well.
Other teams have also had a great summer. Over a dozen teams with 600+ have attended short-term trips this summer through Torch. Hopefully I will be able to report totals on all of the teams later in the year.
Again, thanks to all who made this summer possible. As you can see, those who were able to go on the trips did many, many things this summer. Start making plans for next year; it is never too early to start saving your money and vacation time. 2009 trip information will be ready to go in November. Until then, please keep in touch and continue checking the blog. It has been a pleasure working with all of you this summer. God bless and keep working for the kingdom!