Our Mission Statement

Monday, January 26

Flights anyone?

It can best be described as a roller coaster. This weekend, like most, I spent part of a day checking on the prices of airline tickets going into Honduras this summer. And, from what I can tell, the only thing that is consistent about the prices is the fact that they are inconsistent. Prices on all of the carriers are up and down like an E ticket roller coaster ride at an amusement park. Of course, we expect ups and downs on a roller coaster and we pay big money for them; the bigger the ups and downs the better. However, when dealing with flights into Honduras, this is the last thing we really want. Playing the numbers game can be scary and nerve racking.

As group leaders, most of us are trying to calculate trip costs now so that we can begin the process of securing airline tickets and collect deposit money. At some point each group will have to make their decision to “go for it” as far as airline ticket reservations. Here are the most recent prices I found on the Internet Sunday:

American Airlines
Round trip from Nashville:
Flight #1877 to Miami; #953 to Tegucigalpa
Flight #954 / 410 returning: $845.20 per person

Round trip from Miami:
Flight 351 to Tegucigalpa
Flight 350 returning: $703.70 per person

Continental Airlines:
Round trip from Nashville:
Flight #2506 to Houston; #747 to Tegucigalpa
Flight #255 / 2471 returning:
$644.20 per person

Delta Airlines:
Round trip from Atlanta:
Flight #551 to Tegucigalpa
Flight #552 returning: $632.70 per person

Spirit Airlines:
Round trip from Ft. Lauderdale
Flight #829 to San Pedro Sula
Flight #826 returning:

As you can see, the prices are all over the place. Prices change weekly so I have no words of wisdom here. Last week American had tickets for $645.00, this week the same flight and seats are $845.00. Last week Delta and Continental were more expensive than American; this week they are cheaper. The only carrier that has been consistent in their pricing is Spirit. The most important thing to remember as we begin booking flights is the dates. It is very important that we all arrive on the same day and depart on the same day. Please note, carriers flying directly into Tegucigalpa will offer convenience AND the fact that you will arrive Friday morning or afternoon. Those who fly Spirit will land in San Pedro Sula Friday NIGHT around midnight and will arrive in Tegucigalpa by bus early Saturday morning.

It is my recommendation to all team leaders to try to have your tickets booked no later than March 31 when the deposit money is due. The same holds true if you are traveling with our group but are not under a team leader. As soon as your ticket is secured you need to email the flight confirmation to me so that I can have a record of your travel plans. This will help me in securing transportation for you the day you arrive in Honduras.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas. It is still early and even though plans are starting to get organized, nothing is set in stone as of now. I will be sending out trip objectives soon as to what we will try to do this year as far as the number of houses we will build, number of food drives, number of medical clinics, etc. Also, if you are a team leader and you have specific talent on your team (doctors, nurses, teachers, ministers, etc) please let me know. This information will help greatly as we begin to shape the different teams we will have this summer.

Thanks for all you do and for all the support you give Torch Missions. As always, we are here to serve you and to work along side you in the kingdom. May God be glorified in what we do. We offer our hands and service to Him that makes everything possible.


Tuesday, January 13

It's the little things...

The New Year is off and running, or should I say sprinting! In just a few days we will be swearing in of the 44th president of the United States. President elect Obama will take office next week and will take the reins from George W. Bush. I hope all Americans are praying for a smooth transition and the Obama and his staff will do a good job in office.

People are anxious in a turbulent time and my prayer is that God will continue to watch over us and bless us and that our country will prosper and be a light to the world in economics, industry, research, education, benevolent outreach and example. I also pray that we as a nation will seek God’s wisdom and purpose and that we will be a nation devoted to Him and His word. I hope that Obama, along with all of our elected and appointed officials, will seek after Him. Of course the Bible is clear: God places people into power and removes them and He directs the affairs of men. God has a plan and a purpose for us.

And of course it all starts with each one
of us individually. We kid around a lot in my family about the north and the south. Margaret’s family is from Pennsylvania, or Northerners (or even Yankees) as we say here in the south. Of course all of the McDowell’s have married southerners and live in the south. Even Madre and Padre have moved down to the south to live. We kid around and tell the family that the war is not over and we are taking prisoners one person at a time! It all starts with one person doing their job. I did my part. Jake did his, and so did Keith and Lynn. Now we have all of the parents, children, and grand kids living in the south. It is now time to focus on another family to capture! Watch out Steffys!!!

All kidding aside, the way we re-establish our country to God and Christian principles is one person at a time. It is really hard to deal with the big picture when the small picture is messed up. Local congregations must take an active roll within their communities if we ever want to make a global difference. When things are amuck in Christian homes, youth groups, life groups, and congregations, things will most certainly be running awry in towns, cities, states, and countries. Sounds simple but in reality it is a big job, but somebody’s got to do it. So let’s start with you and me.

It is going to be pretty hard for Obama to fix what it took millions of people to break. It is going to be pretty hard for a preacher to fix what lots of people in a congregation messed up. It is hard for a youth minister to fix problems in a youth group that has many different working parts to problems. We sort of have all of this backwards when you think about it. We want to appoint, elect, or hire people at the top to fix the things that are broken down below. And of course in some ways they can with the right training or expertise. But putting people into place up top really doesn’t do anything unless we are willing to work on it from our perspective.

A perfect example of all of this is college and professional football. If a team fails to win the championship or Super Bowl, if a team has a mediocre season of a losing season, what happens? Fire the coach. Get a new coach, a new offensive coordinator, new VP of operations. Replace the people at the top because it was their fault. But, was it really? Or was it lots of individual players not doing their jobs? Church having problems? Get a new preacher. Youth group not growing? Get a new youth minister. But this is not always the fix-all. Sometimes it is the easy way to temporarily fix a problem. It doesn’t matter how big of a Band-aide you put on a wound if it has not been cleansed! Paying attention to the little things causes the big things to fall into place.

The same holds true for our mission trip to Honduras. Spending time to work on the small things concerning our trip will help the big things to work well. It is not about numbers. It is not about how many people we take on our team or how many houses we build or how many people are baptized on the trip. Sure, those things have their place, but that is not what it is about. It is all about getting YOURSELF ready for the trip. Aligning yourself with God’s will. Purifying YOUR heart. It is all about your preparation for the trip that makes the Torch experience work.

If each of us works on our part, it makes the individual group leader’s part work correctly. That in return makes the team leader’s work run smoothly. By taking care of the little things it makes the big things work well. It is all about the little things. Having a trip journal that helps individuals process and reflect on the trip. Having an adequate place to sleep each night. Having a packing list to help remind us of what to bring (and what to leave behind). Having volunteers to run the “bank” and to keep up with our valuables. Having someone like Carlos who converts money for us into $20 packets to make our trip run smoother. Finding good, responsible, and skilled bus drivers to drive our buses. Having a man like Maximo deliever food orders directly to us for food distributions. Daniel’s lumber yard that specifically cuts our wood for us to build our houses. I could go on and on but the point is taking care of the small things so that the big things work. And when the little things work you notice a big difference when the big things work.

Everyone going on this trip plays a very important part to its success. Whether you have been a dozen times or a first time “rookie,” everyone does their part. This is described by Paul when he talks about the way the body works. Each part plays its part to make the body work. The body is not complete without the ear, the eye, the nose, etc. It is team effort for sure. And when all of the parts work in harmony the whole body functions well. Whether you are a doctor, nurse, or a physical therapist working on the medical team, or a Spanish translator or a VBS volunteer, we all work together to make the torch body run in harmony.

I hope you will start checking the blog often. I will begin posting more and more information about our upcoming trip, as we get closer to our date. Right now I am watching the airline fares to see what the market prices are going to do. Right now ticket prices have dropped significantly in the past couple of months. Round trip tickets on American directly into Tegucigalpa are under $650 (including taxes!) are showing up on the Internet. Groups might want to start looking and reserving soon since none of us have a clue what the price will be down the road. But if we can fly into Tegucigalpa with a good fare it would save a lot of time and headache by not flying in and out of San Pedro Sula. Please stay in touch and let me know what your thoughts are and what your plans are going to be.

Looking forward to a great trip this summer. Hope you are too. Until next time, take care and God bless.