Our Mission Statement

Wednesday, May 20

Here am I send me!

My 10th grade bible class at school just finished watching the film “The End Of The Spear.” Unlike so many other classes I have taught over the years, showing video to this group of guys (its an all boy’s class) is a good thing because they really watch it (of course I do give a test after the video which I am sure helps the concentration aspect of watching a movie). They were glued to the movie and had great discussion afterwards. It makes giving up 3 days of class to show the movie that much more worthwhile.

About half way into the movie, right after the Waodani warriors kill the 5 missionary men on the Curaray River bank, one of my students made the comment that I obviously was not trying to convince them into becoming missionaries! Most of the 34 students (2 classes) had not seen the movie and were completely taken by surprise when the 5 men died. It certainly was not what they were expecting. “Why would anyone risk their very lives to go into an area that dangerous?” they asked. Good question. Why would THEY go?

As we watched the second half of the movie they were completely blown away at the fact that the wives of the men went into the Ecuadorian jungle to live with the Waodani. By the end of the movie they were amazed at the level of dedication the missionaries showed in their effort to teach this indigenous tribe about God and His Son Jesus. They were very impressed with the movie, especially knowing that it was based on a true story.

At the end of the film, right after the credits, there is a small clip with an interview with Steve Saint (son of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries that was killed) and Mincayani, the tribal leader who actually killed Nate Saint. Mincayani was converted and he and Steve came to the States when the movie was released back in 2006. In the clip it showed Mincayani in America and experiencing life here for the very first time.

Can you even imagine what it was like for Mincayani? Living in the jungle your whole life hunting monkeys to eat? Living in straw huts with no electricity or running water? No flush toilets or furniture? Walking everywhere you go on small paths and living day to day with your main concerns being feeding your family and keeping them safe? Then, climbing into an airplane (try to experience that one through his eyes!) and landing at one of our major airports. Hundreds and hundreds of people hustling through the buildings. People movers and escalators shuttling people from point A to point B. Riding in a car for the first time… on paved highways traveling 70 miles an hour. Seeing a Super Wal-Mart for the first time? Can you say “Overwhelming?”

The clip is quite humorous as you listen to Micayani’s take on “moving pathways” and “food houses.” But to be honest, it was very difficult to get my 10th grades to see all of this through Micayani’s eyes. Why? They have never been out of the country. They have never seen anything that contrasts the way they live everyday of their lives in America. They cannot imagine what it would be like NOT having all of the things that are around us everyday. To them, what surrounds them is normal. But you know what? It isn’t.

Time to take a quiz. This time it is only 3 simple questions. Your answer will either be “Yes” or “No.” No trick questions, just simple yes or no questions. Here we go:
Do you have a phone?
Do you have the opportunity to eat 2 meals per day?
Do you live in a house that does not have a dirt floor?

Did you answer, “Yes” to all 3 questions? If so, according to WHO (World Health Organization) YOU are among the top 12% of the richest people that live on the planet. 88% of the world cannot answer “Yes” to all 3 of those questions. Surprised? Shocked? Welcome to America. The world we live in is not the norm. It is FAR from it. Try seeing life through the eyes of the rest of the world.

Several years ago a good friend that I met in Honduras came to America. He had to go to Vanderbilt for medical treatment that was not available in any of the hospitals in Tegucigalpa. He too traveled on a plane for the first time. He left an area with no electricity, no running water, and dirt roads. His capital airport has one runway. Maybe 12 airplanes a day land there on a busy day. Gerardo landed in Miami, one of the largest airports in the world and his eyes were opened. He entered our world the same way Mincayani did in the movie. And Gerardo’s life was changed forever.

The same thing is true for those of us that travel to Honduras, Mexico, or Ecuador. Our lives are changed forever because we see the world through different eyes. So, let’s go back to the question one of my students asked mid-way though the movie. Why would THEY go (to Ecuador to work with the Waodani tribe? Maybe the deeper question would have been, “Why don’t WE go there?” Or maybe, “Why don’t YOU go there?”

This summer about 100 people from Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Texas will climb aboard airplanes to fly to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. These volunteers will form our Torch team and for 11 days we will work among the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. We will build houses; playgrounds; distribute food; visit orphanages; do service projects; visit hospitals; conduct a VBS; teach adult bible classes; and provide a free remote medical clinic. We will have morning and evening devotionals and will attend a local congregation for worship services. And we will, without a doubt, realize what it is like to be part of the 12% of the richest people on the planet.

Why did that mission team go to Ecuador? Probably for the same reason we go to Honduras. Little Stevie asked his dad, Nate Saint, right before he flew to the contact site, if he would fight and defend himself if he was attacked. Nate Saint replied he would not. Why? Because he was ready to meet God and they were not. And He said unto them, Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who had believed and been baptized will be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. Mark 16: 15-16. That is why we go. We are ready and they are not. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39. As Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me!” Thank you Lord for sending us.

Terry Reeves

Tuesday, May 12

Running on empty

As I begin writing this blog I am sitting in my classroom at school staring out the window. I am mesmerized at a brilliantly blue sky with sunlight flooding in my room. What a beautiful sight! This is the 3rd day in a row with no rain and today the clouds have parted and the sun is shinning through. Of course I do live in Tennessee and the weather could change in half an hour so I am enjoying it while I can.

According to the site counter, we are now only 44 days till our trip to Honduras. About 6 weeks and counting. It is hard to believe, isn’t it? For those GOING on the trip, time is creeping along and June 26th can’t get here soon enough; for those of us PLANNING the trip, time is flying by and the departure date is roaring towards us like a car approaching a stop sign while going down a steep hill with no brakes!!! It is all in your perspective.

Here are important dates and information everyone needs to know concerning our trip:

Monday, May 18: Villa Gracias (Mission House) deposit paid
Saturday, May 23: Torch T-shirt orders go to the silk screeners to be printed.
Friday, May 29: Torch supplemental insurance submitted and paid.
Saturday, May 30: Torch duffel bags stenciled and numbered
Sunday, May 31: Torch fund raiser luncheon / auction @ Western Hills CoC
Friday, June 5: All collected supplies and donations due in Nashville.
Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 7: Torch retreat in Centerville, TN
Wednesday, June 10: Final balance payment due (and remaining paper work)
Friday, June 12: Torch Journal goes to printers
Tuesday, June 16: Torch Journals mailed to team leaders
Friday, June 19: Torch funds withdrawn from bank for trip
Tuesday, June 23: Stress test as last minute details taken care of before departure!!!
Wednesday, June 24: Advance team departs for Honduras
Friday, June 26: Main team departs for Honduras!!!

Outside of this, the only things I need to do is design the Torch shirts, write the Torch Journal, and finish ordering / buying medical supplies and gear for the trip. As you can see, time is flying by!!!! Forget about teaching classes, reviewing, final exams, report cards, sleep………

As for our Torch team members, Wednesday, June 10th is the date you need to focus on. It is VERY, VERY important that you have your final paper work and payments to me NO LATER THAN THE 10th. Do not mail your final payment on the 10th. I need it on my hand by that date. Checks have to have time to be deposited so that they have time to clear before I withdraw the money on June 19th.

For those coming to the retreat the weekend of June 5-7, I need to know how many are coming BY THIS WEEKEND. We have to confirm our reservation numbers at the retreat center Sunday night. Group leaders please take time this week to get with your team members to verify how many are going. The retreat is $25 per person and that pays for 3 days / 2 nights at the retreat center and Friday dinner; 3 meals on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.

This is our tentative schedule for the retreat:
Friday, June 5
3:30 – 6:00: arrive at Camp Meribah Lodge
6:30: Dinner
7:30-9:00: Mixer games and such like
9:00: Evening devotional
Saturday, June 6
8:00: Breakfast
9:00: Morning devotional
10:00 – 12:00: Presentation of the overview of the trip (projects, expectations, dress codes, rules, etc); presentation of the water purification system (construction of system, problem solving, prep work, etc by Friendship Christian students); presentation of VBS materials and Bible lessons (Hilldale Church of Christ, Clarksville, TN)
12:30: Lunch
1:30 – 2:30: Free time; prep for packing of supplies
2:30 – 4:30: Sort, pack supplies in duffle bags; color code bags; create manifest list
4:30 – 6:00: Small group discussions. Team will be divided into groups and will rotate to different stations to discuss different aspects of the trip (construction projects; medical; evangelism; visitation; service projects; etc)
6:00: Typical Honduras Dinner!
7:00: Group activities continued
9:00: Evening devotional
Sunday, June 7
8:00: Worship service
9:00: Camp clean-up
10:30: Brunch and final clean-up
11:30: check out

Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or thoughts concerning the trip. Continue reading the blog, I will be posting on a regular basis from this point on! It is an honor to get to work with all of you this summer! Hasta luego mis hermanos y las hermanas en Cristo!


Tuesday, May 5

Raindrops keep falling on my head

If spring showers bring May flowers, we are going to have a bumper crop this year here in Tennessee. I honestly cannot remember seeing so much rain. Please do not get me wrong, we are not having the flooding that happened up north, although our rivers and streams are as full as can be. It is just the day after day after day rain. Outside activities are all but impossible right now. My soccer team has played 2 matches all season on a dry field. Yesterday I bravely volunteered many of my students to go help the ground crew at school try to prep the softball and baseball fields to be usable for the district tournament games. My grass at my house is nearly a foot tall because it won’t stop long enough to cut it.

This past Sunday was one of our scheduled fund raisers at church. Months have gone by as we have planned and promoted the annual Torch Invitational Golf Tournament. This year it was at the Opryland / Gaylord Springs course. Very nice and challenging. And, as you might have guessed, it rained. Now, playing golf is not one of my strong points. Never has been. I like playing and consider it a fun game and all, but I have never even tried to master it. As a matter of fact, the last time I played was this time last year for the same event! So, rain really doesn’t mess my game up very much. Far from it. Maybe for others who are good at the game; but not me.

Amazingly, about 44 people came out to play Sunday afternoon. The rain came down and the flood water rose and winds blew (well, the rain came down) and we had a great time. And, as always, my team had a lot of laughs along the way. And in the process money was raised to go towards our trip to Honduras and the mission team from Western Hills that is going to work at the City of Children this summer in Mexico. Dark clouds and liquid sunshine could not stop the event. We had a great time. It will just take a while to get the mud off of my shoes.

Some people wonder why we would go through such great lengths to raise money to go on a mission trip. After all, it is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and energy and resources. Sometimes the end result does not seem worth the effort. Not to mention the time and money it takes to go on the trip in the first place. Sacrificing vacation time; the cost of the trip; the lodging arrangements; the food; the shots and vaccinations; the dress codes; the rules; the cold showers; the Imodium, Tums, and Pepto; the language barriers; the culture differences. Why in the world would anyone have yard sales, golf tournaments in the rain, and pancake breakfasts to do all of that?

Sunday our preacher at Western Hills (my brother-in-law), brought up to the stage one of the adults going on the trip to Mexico. He just picked him randomly from the crowd. The man had no idea this was coming. Scott asked him WHY he was going on the trip to Mexico. Talking about impromptu! But his answer was swift and sincere, “Because they need us.” The truth in those words rang in my ears.

They DO need us. Even in the mist of a recession I have found that the number of people going with me to Honduras has not gone down. As a matter of fact, this is going to be one of the largest groups I have taken to Honduras. People are still giving generously to the work fund. People are still donating supplies that we need. People are even playing gold on a rainy day instead of staying home to watch the NBA playoffs on TV. As bad as the recession is here in the States, you an only imagine how bad it is in places south of our boarder. We live in a huge country with lots of natural resources and wealth. We have a country with a health care system and programs set up to help those in need. We have faith based organizations and churches that help in time of need.

But imagine living in a place like Honduras. 55% unemployment rate. Inflation that is out of control. The value of your monetary system failing (the Limperia continues to lose value. 10 years ago the exchange rate was 12 Limperias per Dollar, today is nearly 20 to one). Corruption at every level of government keeping tax money from reaching its intended projects. No health care system. No welfare system. No unemployment system. No government agencies to speak of that can rise to the level of help that is needed. And faith based organizations and churches that have the ability to help are outside of your country.

In Honduras you do not live from paycheck to paycheck. You live day to day. You are not concerned about next week’s bills; you are concerned about putting food on your kid’s plate today. You are not worried about what you are going to wear today; you are worried if you have anything to wear today. You are not concerned about the internet being down for a few hours today; you are worried that the water truck will not make it up to your side of the mountain to deliever drinking water. You don’t worry about downsizing or “cutting back,” you don’t even know what that means.

In Honduras the value of money is going down and the price of goods is increasing. Jobs are hard to find. The cost of food and fuel continue to climb. The poor is getting poorer and the need is growing everyday. Why do we go? “They need us.” And it is not just our money and supplies. If that was all that was needed we could just put a check in the mail and be done with it. Clean. Sterile. Unemotional. Unattached. They need to know that there are people that care. They need to know that there are congregations that care. They need to know that we serve a God that cares.

Thank you Lord for the rain.