Our Mission Statement

Tuesday, June 30

The Day of Many Rivers...

Since Brandy left, I will be taking over the blog for the remainder of the trip. Today, the majority of the group left the Nashville, Clarksville, Florida, and the Memphis groups left for the states today. It was a very sad time to see everybody leave, for all of those who left today, we miss you and can't wait to see all of you again!

After the leaving members and a few others left, we had a quick prayer devotional. We also loaded wood onto 1 bus and food onto the other bus. We split into 2 groups: 1 food distribution, and 1 construction team. Tricky Pat lead the construction team today which had 20 members. Dr. Aguilera and I lead the food distribution team. The construction crew had a very difficult build today. The site was cut out of a hillside and there was nowhere to stack the wood (those of you who have built houses before realize that this can cause major delays in the construction of a house). They also had to deal with 1 foot deep Honduran mud. The house was very challenging because they were short a few pieces of tin. They also got rained on during the build. But in the end, another family was able to have a roof over their head tonight.

The food distribution team had a much easier time today...for the most part. Cheryl and Gloria Aguilera pretty much ran the show. A few different groups went in different directions so that we could cover more ground. Brett took the truck and loaded it with food to take to another part of the mountain, meanwhile the bus took the rest of the group further up the mountain where it stayed for the rest of the day. Dr. Aguilera and John Otis decided to tell people to just come to the bus at around 12:30 for a short devotional and afterwards the would receive a bag of dry food and a bag of vegetables. It turned out to be a great plan. We were able to give out all of our food bags throughout the day...but, it was too much of a perfect day to end that way. Brett Mitchell loaded the final 30 bags on the truck to take to a team that had ran out on a ridge farther up the mountain. The ride was a little slick to begin with and using a truck that has about the same horse power as an Amish buggy, it made it even worse. Brett got to this little road and this lady is shaking her hands at him telling him he can't go down this road, but he had already passed her, so after failing an attempt to reverse, Brett decided to go forward after being forewarned not to. He made it to a tiny place that he could turn around in, and it took amazing driving skills to do this, then God felt that Brett needed to be humble, so as he's driving back over a drain pipe, the middle of the truck got stuck on a rock. He then proceeded to rock the truck back and forth... apparently this is where God found it a convenient time to humble Brett and his amazing turn around. As he was rocking back and forth, the drain pipe underneath the truck crumbled and the truck slid off of the road making it almost on it's side sunk completely in mud... "Welcome to Honduras!" so we called Mark and him, Tim, Allen Burris, and Brian Steffy came to the rescue. It took a lot of brute force, engineering brains, a tow strap, and many prayers, but we freed the truck without a scratch or dent. Tomorrow though, we have to go back and replace the drain pipe for them, which we will gladly do. We are also building another house tomorrow. The Pennsylvania group is leaving tomorrow along with 1 or 2 others, so please pray for they safe travels. We love and miss you all. Buenos Noches


P.S- pictures of Brett's Truck will be coming soon!!

Monday, June 29

GOD IS GOOD!!!!!!!

I think I have officially been the blogger for Terry’s trips for the last three of four years, I’m not really sure and today is just one of those days that I am speechless!!  For those who actually know me that is a new one for you!!  The PRECAUTIONARY measures we are taking have made today rather interesting, but have not stopped the Lord’s work!!  I know many of you back home are concerned, but please know we are safe!!  Groups were sent out to La Tigra today to build two houses and distribute food!!


The morning started off with breakfast pancakes and bananas.  I usually say a lot about the food because it is extremely delicious, so I am sorry if I am not giving to much description!  After breakfast we had devotional.  When devo was over Terry broke us up into to two building teams and a distributing team. 


All of the teams went out to the La Tigra Rainforest to work today!!  I had the opportunity to work out on a build site in the Rainforest a few years ago and it is an amazing experience!!   I’m sure they all had the same experience.  I did not get to much information from them on the sites except that tonight two more families have a home.  That might not mean too much just hearing it but it is raining right now so that means that a family has a dry place to lay there head.


The distribution team distributed about 300 bags of food that will feed a family for about a week!!  This group had A DAY!!  They climb about 500 mountains and then one more!!  They did a great job and now 300 families have a meal!!


Once everyone made it back to campus we had dinner we met up and had devotional.  Tonight, Travis led us in some thoughts!!  It was very thoughtful and powerful!!  Then we did where did you see Jesus!!  Then we had a few announcements about the next few days. 


Unfortunately, this will be my last post in Honduras L!!  Due to political situation I will be leaving tomorrow along with some others.  There will still be others here to continue to post updates so do not worry about that!!  I am very sad to be leaving.  My heart is always here with the people!!  I love them all!!  Please pray for the people here as well as our safe travel.  I will be posting pictures and hopefully some video clips (if I can get it to work for me).  Thank you all for your prayers!!  I love you and thank you for enduring my sense of humor!!




Brandy B

News Update!!

Hey all!!  I’m sure most of you all already know the news!!  Due to the political situation in Honduras we have made the decision to come home early.  Let me make it CLEAR WE ARE SAFE!!!!!!!  Terry Reeves has been spending many hours talking with different people about the situation and due to the uncertainty of it he, along with the others has decided it would be best if we come home early.  These are precautionary steps. We are still doing work today.  We sent two teams out into the La Tigra Rainforest to build two houses.  The Lord’s work continues and WILL continue in Honduras!!  I will post again tonight about today’s work, and there will be a webcast (hopefully, if the flood gates stay closed) so stay tuned!!  We love you all and appreciate all the prayers.  Please, Please pray for this to be resolved.  We will be home soon!!  Love you!!


Brandy B

Sunday, June 28

No Power, No Water, No Problem


This morning started out beautifully!!!  We all woke up to the sound of……nothing.  Terry Reeves likes to call this day the “day of Tim”.  We were able to sleep in like an hour, so breakfast was at 8:30 am.  The great think about this morning was we had no power, which for those of you who have been to Honduras before know means no hot water.  That really didn’t matter though because we did not have water either!!!  Nobody really complained though!!  We just all went with the flow of things.  We came down to breakfast and had ham, eggs, toast, and fruit (Of course it was soooo yummy)  After breakfast we met for worship service!!.


At worship we were led in several worship songs, and can I just say that singing is AMAZING!!!!   Joe Roberts led us in Worship.  I really just want to say a few things about this man.  He is the most awesome man!  He so knowledgably about, not only in the Word, but in general.  I am so thankful he is here.  He talked about finding our mission.  Unless we have God in our life, our mission is impossible, but with Him it is possible!!  Like I said Joe is great, great man with amazing kids!!  You all should get to know them!!!


After worship our fearless leader (Terry Reeves) made a few announcements about the activities we were doing today!!  I hope you enjoy everyone’s perspective!!


Today in Honduras was truly a humbling experience.  Our main activity was a cook out at the La Tigra National Rainforest Park.  What made this rainy day so special was the opportunity we had to share our food and give toys to a couple  hundred children from the surrounding villages.  It was great to see the gratitude on their faces!!




Today we went to a park and had the 3 busses go pick up kids from the area.  Whenever the kids got there we were supposed to go play with them and give out toys and candy.  I had balloons to give out and was going to draw faces on them with my markers.  I decided to let one little girl draw on it herself and ended up accidently giving away my sharpie.  I got to pain their nails and give away all my toys with me.  I helped out with the VBS where they sang songs and had a skit.  It was the first day I got to play with little kids and it was a lot of fun!!


-Rebecca B

Mitchell, IN


We had an awesome day today.  We began today with an inspiring and powerful worship service.  The singing was incredible, and the lesson was insightful and challenging.  After worship, we traveled to a park located within the La Tigra Rainforest.  The drive was a rough, long, twisty dirt road, which was very interesting to say the least.  I could really get used to the driving here.  After arriving, we began setting up for a hot dog grill out and games.  At the same time, the buses departed in order to travel to surrounding villages and gather up as many kids as possible.  The arrival of the three bus loads full of kids was exciting and memorable.  I began doing my best to interact with them.  While handing out lots of candy, balloons, shirts, etc.  We were able to provide a meal for all who came and play various games. I found myself in a few soccer games with some highly skilled kids. The afternoon ended with the kids getting to watch a VBS skit, as well as sing songs in Spanish. Overall, this was an awesome day. I’ll stop writing now.


-Aaron Lyles


Tonight for dinner we had a pizza feast! With 25 pepperoni and 25 sausage pizzas there was plenty for everyone! During dinner we heard the rain start and it has yet to let up. I have never seen it rain this hard for this long before! 


Because of the torrential down pour we had devo in the cafeteria. Brian from Clarksville led us in song tonight and Ben Wright brought us a devo about fixing things. He talked about how we go to the doctor or dentist for one thing that is bothering us and then they find something else that is wrong with us.  The dentist wants our whole mouth to be healthy and the doctor wants our whole body to be healthy. Jesus is like that too. He wants to be apart of your whole life, and wants your spirit to be completely fixed.  


After devo we had a few announcements and headed off to bed for so much needed rest!!  We have a long day plan for tomorrow!!  More to come!!  We miss you all!  Please keep praying for the people of Honduras!! 


I want apologize about the webcast tonight!! The internet was in-and-out and I had to do some moving around.  Hopefully we can get better connection!!  Please be patient!!  Also I want to say THANK YOU to Nathan Reeves for posting this morning for us!!  Sometimes we are not going to have power/internet he was gracious enough to post some important information that needed to get out to you guys.  So thank you Nate!!  Until Tomorrow, GOOD NIGHT!!!!


God Bless


Brandy B


Weekend News Update with Nathan Reeves

Do you remember the game "telephone" we used to play when we were younger? A phrase is whispered into the first persons ear, then the phrase is whispered into the next person, and the next, and so on. Well, by the end of the line, or circle, or whatever shape you might have been sitting in, the phrase had changed. Sometimes, just a few words had changed, and sometimes it had turned into an entirely different phrase. The point of the game was to prove that each time the phrase was told, maybe the person telling it left out a word or said a different word or maybe the listener didn't hear a word or heard the wrong word. Each person then relays the wrong message, sometimes based off of faulty information.

This is Nate Reeves, for those of you who don't know me, I'm Terry and Margaret's son. I'm updating the blog this morning and giving you a news update straight from the source. I opened the blog with that story so that you will remember not to believe or listen to every update you hear. I just spoke with my dad and he told me exactly what is happening in Honduras right now.
So, here's the update:

This morning in Honduras, Congress approved a pseudo-military-coup of the President. Whatever you hear, know this: What has happened in Honduras is 100% consistutional and was voted in Congress as the best thing to do for the Honduran people. This is not the beginning of Guerilla Warfare, no dictator has overthrown the government. As of now, and until the presidential elections this winter, Congress is in power and will be serving as the president. The reason that I am writing this, rather than Brandy, is that the power has been cut off in Honduras to try to limit the spread of propoganda against Congress. Again, don't let this scare you. The government is doing this because they fear that Mel, the president who was just taken out of power, will try to make the Honduran people believe that it was done illegally. Most likely, this will just be for a couple of days, but that is the current situation.
We don't know how the American media will react to this, which is why we want to give you the information directly. If by chance the media decides that they want to make it look bad, we just want you to have comfort in knowing that 1. the TORCH group is very safe and 2. everything that has been done with the government of Honduras is constitutional.

As for an update on what the group is doing, they are on the mountain where they stay, El Hatillo. They were having worship service at the mission house and afterwards were going to do a hot-dog cookout for some children in the surrounding community. They will be staying at the mission house tonight and will play it day-by-day until they receive more news. There is plenty of work to be done on El Hatillo, which is a very safe place to be.

Keep the group and the country of Honduras in your prayers. If they are still unable to post blog updates, I will do my best to get information posted as soon as I receive it so you can keep up with the group.


Saturday, June 27

Let the work begin!!!

Today is the day it all begins for real!!  Yesterday was the day we all arrived and many believed that was the day it began.  I am not saying that it did not begin that day because it did, trust me.  I am saying that the first day there is a lot to take in.  The second day is the day when we might get to make a choice!!  

Saturday we all woke up to sunshine!  We had cereal, toast and fruit for breakfast.  After breakfast we met for devotional outside.  This morning Chad Roberst (Nino) led us in a few thoughts.  He talked about what an important impact just one of us could have on one person during this trip.  He encouraged each of us to go out and be a positive Christian example to the Honduran people.  

After devotional, Terry Reeves divided us into four teams: a building team, market team, bodega team, packing/medical team.  I have decided to do the blog similar to last year and have different individuals tell about there experiences in each of the groups.  I hope you all enjoy their stories.

The Market


No matter how many times I think my Spanish is getting better, I quickly realize that I am greatly mistaken. When I go to the open market. I sat on the bus for 20 minutes memorizing a few phrases that I knew I would need to know. When I stepped out of the bus I forgot EVERYTHING. Luckily, Chase Tunner was with us. He studied Spanish in college so to say the least, he made up for my lack of Spanish knowledge. It’s always a fun and exciting experience going to the Market. Its obvious that the vendors are excited that all the crazy Gringos are there too because we spent nearly 10,000 limps there. The most remarkable thing of the day to me, however, was the lady that left her business and potential income behind to help us bargain and get our money’s worth of food. There are only more great stories like this to come.


-Alex Jackson


My first experience out of the mission house was very enlightening. I discovered that there are very different traffic laws in Honduras, and whoever has a horn  must use it.  A group of about twenty people including myself went to the bodega…a storage unit where TORCH keeps their supplies. We transformed masses of mad chaos into neat and organized piles. We also saw a rat! The rat was almost the size of a small dog and it caused everyone to run for cover into the bus! It was a wonderful day J !


-Marah Casey


Construction Team


You may have heard the song lyric “out in the country past the city limits sign.” Well that line describes exactly where the construction team went today. We drove through the mountains to a beautiful site to build a house, way out in the country. I loved it because the smell of fresh grass and animals reminded me of home in Tennessee. We didn’t waste a minute when we arrived we worked to get all the tools and lumber to the site and began to build. The house we built was an extension for a family of 9. Their original house was made of dirt and clay. It wasn’t all work and no play we took some breaks to play with the kids some played soccer while others played with playdoh. I got the opportunity to learn a new skill, roofing, it made me nervous to be up on the roof at first but I got the hang of it and it was really fun. We finished the house in a little under 4 hours and the family was very grateful. We said a prayer with them before we left and it was a great way to begin the trip.


-Katie Griffy


Packing/medical team

This team consisted of everyone else!! We stayed at the mission house and went through all of the medical supplies/toys/food/etc. and sorted it.  We also a few guys working on the water purification thing that I am not even going to talk about because well I am not an engineer of any kind and I do not know what I am talking about, but I have pictures!!  So, when I can get them on the computer I will post those handy little things and you can see them!!  Ok...the medical team took all of the medical supplies and divided every pill, liquid medicine and broke it down how it needed to be.  While other people divided clothes, and toys and more clothes and more toys and some coloring books and more clothes, ok you get the picture.  We also had a group sorting and bagging rice, beans, and flour, too.  As you back home can tell we were busy!!!!!  Once we bagged the food and sorted the clothes, and moved the meds, and organized everything....nope not done yet.  We started making bags for families to have.  These would be bags of food by the way.  by the end of the day we had, can you guess I be you can't......ok I'll just telll you.....600 bags of food!!!!  ISN"T THAT JUST WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I mean God is so good!!!

By this time the rest of the team had gotten back to the mission house so everyone had started getting ready for dinner.  For dinner we had chicken, salad, pasta salad, and a roll.  It was pretty good I might add!!!  We sat around for a while and conversed with one another then headed over for devotional!!  Tonight the devotional was done on the live stream!!!  Chase Turner led us in some thoughts tonight!  He started off with Phil. 4:13.  Chase wanted us to remember that we can do all things through CHRIST if we are doing it for the glory of God the Glory of me!!  Because you know what it's not about me, it is about GOD!!!  Chase sure knows what to say!!  After the devotional thought we did the Where Did you See Jesus.  This Is always, always an awesome time!!  He was seen in so many places today.  I am going to just put people's name and hopefully I can write quicker next time and get stories!!  Jesus was seen in Darla Ham, Sara Tucker, Tara Shea, Erin Mann, Terry Stewart, Girls on the Build site, Bodega crew, Whitney, Mark's interns, there were so many more guys I just couldn't get them down, I'm so sorry!!  

The devotional was great tonight.  Like I said it was live stream if you are reading the blog then you can get access to it.  There is a link!!  I will try first thing to get that on in the morning, I do not know hat to do it right now.  Guess what it is actually already posted from last year though so if you would like to try and find it just scroll down the blog to the 2008 post and it says click here I think.  It is actually really simple.  I will try to get up on a recent one ASAP though!!!  Thank you all for being patient!!  LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!  Please keep praying!!!!!

Brandy B

News Update!!

Hey all!!  This just to let you all know that we are in direct contact with the US Embassy here!!  We are aware of all that is happening.  As of now we are remaining inside the city limits of Tegucigalpa.  We are still working very hard inside the city limits.  Tonight I will bring you an update of all the activities of all we did today and you might be surprised!!  We are safe and having a very good time serving our Lord!!  Please remember as you receive news at home that some stories could be over emphasized and that Honduras/Tegucigalpa is a VERY VERY big city!!  We are staying on the out side of the city and we could be miles away from anything that could being reported.  Just remember to read the blog.  Also remember that if a storm comes through it could knock out the power/internet.  Please do not worry to much if you do not hear from us for a day or two because that could happen!!!  If you have any questions email me!!  brandyb06@gmail.com.  Thank you guys for being patient!!  We love you all and we know that you are praying for us, but please do not forget to pray for the people that live here!!  Thank you all!!

Brandy B.

Friday, June 26

The Gringos Have Arrived!!!

Today started out lovely for the advanced team!!  We woke up to breakfast, which I am sorry to say I did not eat, but I did have the coffee!!!  After breakfast we played the "sit around and wait game" which is loads of fun, everyone should try it some time!!  Then a truck delivered food to the mission house that the advanced team unloaded (this food will be broken down into smaller bags that feed a family of about 8 for a week).  About 30 minutes later a truck delivered wood for two houses (do not quote me on that guess) and the guys unloaded that while Amy, Jenny, and myself did some assignments Terry had given to us!!  As you can tell we were very busy way before the group even arrived!!  

At about 10:30 we got in the trucks and headed to the airport to meet up with the first group flying in on Continental!  Here's where everything gets a bit sketchy time wise for me because all of it runs together.  The first group lands and meets us upstairs to eat lunch and to wait on the next group which is the Delta group.  They fly in come upstairs eat and wait on the next group which is the American group.  When they fly in they come up and eat.  We wait for a while so they all have time to eat.  Then we all leave the airport by about 3ish?  I'm not really sure.  We come straight to the mission house for a brief orientation.  Everyone gets their rooming assignments and bags and goes to their rooms.

At about 4:30 we loaded a bus and went to the local grocery store to buy our food while we are here.  I thought we were going to be meeting up with the other group but apparently not.  I guess they got there before us.  Anyway, we left there and came back to the mission house for some much needed supper.  

After supper we met for devo.  Bret Mitchell, from Canada (now living in Montgomery, Al) led us is a few thoughts.  After devo we broke off into to groups to go over a few more rules and then went off to bed.

There will be more to come!!!!  I am glad to have almost everyone here!!  There are still a few more coming to join our group, but a majority of us are here!!  Keep praying!!  We love you all!!

Please if you want email you can!!  Feel free!!  Oh and Collin if you would like to get the Mississippi accent you are going to have to read it that way!! love ya!!

God Bless you all!!

Brandy B

Thursday, June 25

Day two for Team Awesome!!

Let me just say you can all thank Nino aka (Chad Roberts) for the title of our blog!!  Terry posted the first blog this morning and has officially handed the torch over to myself for the trip!!  I know that there will be a lot of new folks on the trip so let me introduce myself briefly!!  My name is Brandy and I am from Mississippi.  There that is all you need to know, which should be enough to explain my sense humor and my craziness!!

Ok...The day started nicely, if I do say so myself!!  Breakfast was served between 7 and 8.  This morning we had a choice or cereal, toast, and a banana nut bread thing.  It was great of course!!  Then we played the "sit and wait game."  There is only 8 of us on the advance team or "team awesome" according to Nino, so the the game really isn't that bad.  After Terry and Mark Connell chatted for a bit it was decided we would go down to the bodega and load the buses with boxes of supplies and bring them back to the mission house.  

I think we loaded up at about 9:30 am, which isn't bad at all I might add, and headed down the mountain to fill the trucks with gas and go to bodega.  At the bodega we loaded up supplies that had been sent earlier.  To give you all an idea of how much we loaded, we had two trucks and a whole bus full with just 8 people!!!  Which is awesome!!  Guess how long it took us?  Just about two hours, which is awesome!!!  Ok...I'm finished bragging on the advanced group!! 

After we finished loading the bus and trucks, Mark took us to a place that served the best fried chicken ever, yes even better then back home!! I promise!!  We stayed there for a while talking about what we "plan" on doing and then headed back up the mountain!!  Once we made it back we unloaded the trucks and sorted what we had picked up from the bodega.  Then the Heavens opened and God sent every ounce of water ever made on top of Honduras.  I'm pretty sure He had a huge bucket and kept pouring it on top of our mountain, it was pretty cool actually!!!  Until we backed the bus up and unloaded it!!  It didn't take long though with "team awesome"!!  After we finished unloading we sat around for a while.  Then, a couple of the of "team awesome" thought it would be cool to run and slid in standing water.  I hope I can figure out how to upload the video to the blog so you can enjoy Tyler Steffy and Nino (Chad Roberts) and their run!!

So far the trip has went well.  Please, Please, Please pray for the groups flying in!!  They start coming in the morning.  I will post tomorrow night Lord Willing!!  Remember to be patient with communication!!  I love you all and miss you!!  God Bless

Brandy B

welcome to Honduras

The advance team arrived in Honduras yesterday and the "welcome to Honduras" moments have already started!  So, here is the first of many updates coming to you from Central America.

We discovered yesterday at the airport that Delta and Continental ARE charging for the second piece of luggage.  American is Not charging... imagine That!  Sorry, welcome to Honduras.  The American Airline flight was delayed and arrived 2 1/2 hours late.  Welcome to Honduras.  One of my bags did not make it.   Welcome to Honduras.  Friendship rental car, where we rent our pickups, did not have any available.  Welcome to Honduras.  So, in other words, typical trip. 

All is well so far. Today will be a day to organize up coming projects and buying supplies. We will be driving into town to make copies of the VBS flyer and meeting with Mark Connell to visit potential house sites for building. Tim is constantly updating us on the political situation here in Honduras. Things are stable as of now, although, the President has been on the television frequently making appeals to support his agenda. We are expecting large turnouts on the streets this weekend as the vote approaches. Our plan is to proceed with caution as we plan our work. 

We will send more information as we receive it. As a reminder, make sure to retain luggage claim tickets because we experienced very strict security at the airport. Also, make sure that those bringing Torch gear bags have i.d. tags because that is the bag that did not show yesterday for me. With 90 bags coming in, all looking the same, you can imagine the airport security trying to verify baggage claim numbers. 

The weather is hot a rainy, just like we like it. We will be waiting at the airport on Friday. Can't wait to see everyone!!! 


Saturday, June 20

Making a list, checking it twice

With less than a week to go it is time to start going though the final check off list to make sure you have everything done before you leave on your trip to Honduras. I am not one to make lists (ask my wife) but I have been using one the past 2 weeks to make sure everything gets done. My check off list had over 50 things on it so count yourself lucky that today’s blog will only have a fraction of that number!

1. Complete your shopping for the trip. You should have received a packing list for the trip. If not, here it is: Bible; Toilet paper; Pepto Bismal; rain jacket; Tooth brush/paste; Soap/shampoo; Hand wipes; Hand sanitizer; Imodium; Shaving cream/razor; Towel/wash cloth; Deodorant; Q-tips; Insect repellent; Multi-vitamins; Passport; Camera/film; Deck of cards; Waterproof watch; Work clothes; Personal medicines; Gallon size sip lock bags; Hammer; Toys / give away stuff; Flip flops (for shower); Work shoes; Work gloves; Laundry
bag; Flash light; Alarm clock; Spending money ($75 - $150+); Hat; Water bottle; Sunscreen (psf 20 +); Paper/pen/pencil; Backpack; Snack foods; Gatorade / Kool-Aid mix; Pocket knife; Sunglasses; Sharpies; Band-aides;
You can buy a lot of this stuff in Honduras but it will be cheaper to get here in the states.

2. Locate your passport and put it in your backpack

3. Withdraw your spending money. The amount varies per person. A long time veteran might only need $75.00 spending money for the whole trip while rookies might want to bring much more. You will need spending money to go out to eat every now and then (especially on Sundays… you will need money for lunch and dinner on both Sundays we are in Honduras); snacks; soft drinks; and shopping money (souvenirs, etc)

4. Contact your credit card companies. If you are planning on using a credit / debit card at all
during the trip you need to let your bank know you are going to be out of the country! Otherwise the card company might deny charges.

5. Contact your doctor. Let your doctor know you are going to be out of the country.

6. Contact your insurance company. Make sure the insurance company knows you are going to be out of the country and find out if there are any special forms / waivers that need to be signed so that you can have treatment if you get sick or injured.

7. Contact your emergency contact person(s) to remind them of the trip and verify their phone number(s) before you leave.

8. Make sure all of your clothes meet the dress code. No tank tops, sleeveless shirts or tops; shorts need to be knee length; shirts that have print on them must be appropriate for the trip.

9. Call in your prescriptions. If you have any medications that you need to take on the trip, make sure you have enough for the trip. Call in refills if needed and pick them up at least a couple of days before you leave.

10. Verify your airline ticket / e-ticket. Make sure to print off your itinerary with record locator number, ticket number, etc. Place it in your backpack with your passport.

More to come! We are now on the count down…. this week will go by super fast. Don't drag your feet on this stuff, get it done so you won't have a lot of last second things to do. You might even be able go get a couple of hours sleep the night beofre you leave! Take care and I will write more SOON! Dios te bendiga!!!!


Thursday, June 18

1 week and counting!

One week!!! One week from today we are on our way to Tegucigalpa, Honduras! I am pretty sure I am not the only one excited. I am getting emails and phone calls everyday from team members who just want to tell me how excited they are about the trip! I have been going to Honduras for a long time and I am pretty sure that I am sensing more excitement this year than any other trip. And that just makes me that much more excited!

It reminds me of my college days at Freed-Hardeman. I was sent out to go preach at a congregation just outside of Henderson (I believe it was the Oak Grove Church of Christ). I didn’t know it at the time but it was a predominately African-American congregation. I was nervous (I still get nervous, even today, when I speak in front of a group of people) and when I began preaching I heard a booming “Amen!” come from the crowd! It scared me senseless… but I regained my composure (sort of) and continued. I got another “Amen!” and a “Preach it!!!” from the crowd and as the crowd got more excited about my sermon the more
passionately I began to preach. I don’t even remember what my topic was that day but I can tell you it was one of my best sermons!!!! Excitement generates more excitement. And the “Amen corner” is getting excited!

OK, I have more information for you. As I mentioned earlier, I am going to be posting information every day or two until we leave. Please check this daily and make sure you get this information!!! Even seasoned veterans make mistakes when it comes to the small things as we get ready for the trip.

Wednesday I gave you important information about your luggage. Just as a reminder, let me say it again, “KEEP UP WITH YOUR LUGGAGE CLAIM TICKETS!!!” There are 2 main reasons I keep mentioning this:
1. Honduras is not America! You can’t just walk up to the luggage carrousel, grab your bag, and
walk out. The Honduran customs people will not let you leave with ANY bag unless you can prove it is yours! (You will be glad they do this when you realize that no one is going to steal your suitcase).
2. If your bag does not show up (AKA “welcome to Honduras”) we HAVE to have the baggage tickets to verify which bag is lost. Then, if we are really lucky, we will find the bag a day, or two, or three, or 6 weeks later (ask Brett and Judy Mitchell…. They know this routine really well…)

OK, now that I know we all understand the luggage information, let’s go over the flight information and entry procedures when you arrive in Tegucigalpa. If you are a rookie, this is very important. If you are a veteran, make sure you haven’t forgotten this information!

1. You need to check your flight information. Lots of times airlines will change flight
information after you have bought your ticket. I am not sure why they do this, but they do. Especially departure times! Make sure you know the current departure time of your flight! Double check flight connections, arrival times, etc, so that you are not left in the dark on this.

2. Everyone needs to wear his or her Torch T-shirts on the flight down. It is not because we are trying to make a fashion statement on the plane or to cause everyone to look at us and admire our beautiful maroon colored mission shirts. It is so that we can identify team members! When you arrive at the airport you will recognize a team member by their Torch shirt, even if you do not know their name. Those that meet up with us at connection airports will be glad to see those shirts too. And it will make my job of gathering up all 95 of you when you arrive in Tegucigalpa. It is EASY to leave someone behind when they are not in their Torch
shirt. And we don’t want to leave anyone behind…

3. Before you land in Honduras, the flight crew will pass out 2 different forms you will have to fill out before you get off of the plane. MAKE SURE TO HAVE A PEN WITH YOU WHEN YOU SIT DOWN IN YOUR ASSIGNED SEAT ON THE PLANE! You will have to have both forms with you when you go through the customs area at the airport. Most of it is simple and self-explanatory. Here are a couple of questions you need to know how to answer:
* Where will you be staying while in Honduras? Answer: VILLA GRACIAS Km 8 EL HATILLO, TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS, C.A.
* What is the purpose of your trip: Answer: TOURIST
If in doubt, ask someone nearby what to write down. The forms will be in Spanish and in
English (if you are lucky). Once you have filled them out place the forms in your passport and keep your passport SAFELY put away until landing. Do not misplace your passport… put it in your backpack or in your front pocket!

Going through customs can be a bit intimidating. Just make sure you have your 2 forms filled out with your passport when it is your turn to go to the counter. They are going to speak to you in Spanish. Make sure to take your hat and sunglasses off so that they can see you. They are going to ask you to place one of your fingers into a fingerprint scanner and they will also take a digital photo of you. They do this to everyone so don’t panic.
Very important: they will staple one of your forms into your passport. do not loose it! you need that form to get out of the country!!!

Once you have passed through customs you will go to the luggage area to claim bags. Claim your bags and set them with the rest of the luggage from your group. Once all bags are located (or identified as lost) everyone will proceed through the X-Ray scanner and through the final check point. Once the security personnel checks your bags with the baggage tickets they will allow you to pass through into the airport where the advance team will be waiting for you.

See? It wasn’t that hard, was it? OK, for the rookies, you might be scared to death by now. Don’t worry, it will be much easier than all of this sounded. And if it isn’t, at least you can say I told you so!!!

1 week and counting! Stay tuned; more information is coming on Saturday! Hasta luego


Wednesday, June 17

Packing and baggage information

I have spent time on the phone and on line securing travel information for all of us going to Honduras in just a few days. Please make sure you read the following carefully:

For international travel, you must be at the ticket counter a minimum of 2 1/2 hours before
departure. American Airlines recommends 3 hours. Allow plenty of time; all of our flights are sold out so there will be lots of other people checking in besides our group!

When you arrive make sure you have / do the following:
* Your checked luggage has an I.D. tag on it (even the gear bag if you are checking one in). Do this BEFORE you get to the ticket counter!!!!!!
* MAKE SURE to keep the luggage claim numbers!!!!!!!!! You will not be able to claim luggage in Honduras if you do not have the claim tickets (they will attach them to your boarding pass sleeve when you check in… make sure you know where they are)
* Once you have cleared the security passport you will not need your passport to get on the plane. Give it to your group leader or put it somewhere SAFE. You will need it to fill out entry forms to Honduras.

Concerning checked luggage:
* For international travel on Delta, Continental, and American there is NO CHARGE for checked luggage. You will not have to pay for your luggage.
* Bags MUST weight 50 pounds or less. There is a charge from $50 - $75 if you go over! (Even if it is only a couple of pounds). Weigh them before you leave the house.
* You can only check in 2 bags.
* Reminder: make sure your bags have identification tags on them! The Honduras inspectors are VERY picky about this detail.
* Remember that all baggage is subject to inspection before it is loaded onto the plane. U.S. inspectors will leave a note in your suitcase if they have inspected it.
* Place anything that might leak in a zip-lock plastic bag to keep it from getting on the rest of your stuff! Remember Murphy’s rule: “If something can go wrong it probably will.” (otherwise you will be washing the clothes the first day you arrive…)

For carry on luggage:
* Make sure it will fit the overhead compartment! If it doesn’t and they have to put it under the plane you could be charged up to $100.00.
* Carry on luggage cannot weigh more than 40 pounds.
* You are allowed 1 carry on item and 1 personal item (purse, pillow, etc). Remember, EVERYONE on the plane is doing the same thing you are so follow the rules! Don’t be the one who doesn’t abide… your shirt will give you away as to who you are and what group you are with on the trip!

Things you can and cannot bring in your carry on bag:
* You cannot bring your pocketknife on the plane! Pack it in your check in luggage. Same is true for tweezers, fingernail clippers, etc.
* Liquids and gels (Toothpaste, hair gel, hand lotion, Shampoo, sunscreen, etc) must be in containers of 3 oz or less. If any are larger it must be packed in checked-in luggage (remember the zip-lock bag). ALL liquids and gels in your carry on bag MUST be put in ONE (1) quart size zip-lock for the security personnel to approve it.
* You cannot bring tools (hammers, nails, etc) in your backpack! I know you are laughing about knives and hammers, but all of these have been taken from group members traveling on my team (I can’t make this stuff up!!!)

So, as you begin to pack for your trip (I know some of you are!) remember these things. For the last minute packers (like me) you might want to print this off and have it when you do pack so you don’t for get anything listed. Do these things and your check-in will go more smoothly and you will not be the one causing the glares and stares from those behind you waiting to check-in or get on the plane.

MUCH more to come. Make sure to check regularly and make sure anyone that you know going on the trip is reading this blog. This blogspot is the communication lifeline for our trip. Use it regularly starting today. Make sure all family members and friends have this web address so that they will be able to keep up with our trip. We will post daily activities and news along with photos.

It’s almost time!!! Hope you are as excited as I am about the trip. Hasta luego!


Sunday, June 14

Tick. Tock.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The seconds are winding down as we get ready for our trip. I can hear the sound of the clock in my head. But yesterday one of the last big burdens was lifted when I finished writing this year’s journal. I have to admit my English teachers from high school AND college would give you a weird look if you told them I did a lot of writing. If you saw my grades for composition, grammar, spelling, and such you would have to agree with them. But here I am, writing away. Funny how things turn out, would you agree?

So, now I am writing checks out to pay the bills and my debit card is about to melt from all of the last minute purchases. I have bought airline tickets, gear, supplies, and yesterday the good folks at the Corner Drug Store hooked my up with a lot of meds for the medical team for a fraction of their shelf price. I love resourcing and it is amazing how it works. 6 degrees of separation? I think in the church it is more like 3 degrees. Tomorrow the t-shirts come in, Tuesday the journals are done from the print shop, and Wednesday I mail packages to the team leaders. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

My next objective is to type out the projects we are going to do and match them up against the work fund to see if everything works. Once that is done I will make one last contact to the people in Honduras and the wheels will begin to turn. Wood will be ordered. So will tin, nails, hinges, and spikes. Food will be ordered. Literally tons of it. Hospitals will be contacted to set up visitation times. Paint, brushes, rollers, pans, and masking tape will be bought. Fliers will be printed. Carlos will start making $20 packets of Limperias. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Right now I am coordinating flight arrivals so that I can make sure everyone is picked up at the airport. This year we have folks flying in on Delta, American, and Continental. As always, I will be living at the airport. I have people coming and going all week long. But hey, whatever it takes to get people to be part of an amazing group called Torch. And for the several long timers who can’t go this year, you will be missed. But probably nearly as much as you will miss being here. Who knows, maybe next year? Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

As we get closer and closer to the trip I want you to begin spending dedicated time in prayer to prepare yourself for the trip. Try to spend some time each day praying about the trip. Here are some things you need to SPECIFICALLY pray for as the trip approaches:

* Safety during our trip down
* Good weather!
* The people of Honduras we will minister to on the trip
* That each person will have a servant’s heart
* Safety while we are in Honduras
* Good health!
* That His will shall be done
* For patience and understanding
* For kindness and a loving spirit
* That all of the groups will bond together and become one

I will be posting another blog this coming Thursday so stay tuned. It will have LOTS of IMPORTANT information. Take care and I will be seeing you SOON!!!


Monday, June 8

God lives under the bed!

“ I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner and later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied.

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculates loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple.

He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived und under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!”

This was sent to me via email and I have no idea who wrote it. But it really hit home with me. I know Kevin! I actually know several Kevins. But their names are Taylor, Tommy, and Billy. I bet you know Kevin too. And if you don’t, it is your loss. They truly are special people that live a life most of us cannot even imagine. And I am blessed to be around people like Kevin.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18: 1-5

I don't know about you, but the idea of being a kid sounds pretty good. The "being an adult" thing doesn't work for me very well. Maybe that is what the Bible is talking about when it says, "Humble yourslef in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." Some thing to think about.... when was the last time you caught fireflies, skipped some stones, and looked under your bed for God instead of a pair of shoes?


Tuesday, June 2

Come on, give me a real challenge...

To say Nate (my son, for those who might not know “the prince”) is a chip off of the old block is not totally accurate. To say he is a chunk off of the block might be more precise. I am sure my son would not admit it openly, but he is a lot like me in so many ways. One of his many similar traits is confidence. The boy does not suffer from a shortage of this man trait. Of course, with mentors like Tim Hines and Mark Connell (for those who do not know these men, you will certainly get to know them this summer on our trip down in Honduras), let’s just say Nate has been influenced and leave it at that.

This last couple of weeks has been quite a stressor for me. Just trying to wrap up the school year with reviews, finals, grading papers, etc. is rough, but add to that the upcoming retreat, all of the paper work that has to be filled out (and collected from our last minute add on people and for those who haven’t turned everything in yet…), buying supplies, and you have the perfect recipe for stress. And then I found out that I was being let go from school. Due to a drop in registration, several of us at school were told we would not have contracts renewed for next year. So, add to this mix filling out applications, typing up resumes, and trying to set up interviews, and now you have one stressed out mission team leader.

THEN, just in case I had not quite reached the “snapping point,” a few of my long term Spanish translators contacted me to tell me they would not be able to go this summer. I went from 10 translators to 3. All had good reasons and I am certainly not upset with them… but this Alabama boy has had about all he could take. I had so many issues to deal with that I felt I was involved in a 5-alarm fire. Enter Nathan Reeves.

The most pressing thing on my list (in my mind at least) was 2 fold: find Spanish translators and find a doctor for our medical team (I didn’t even mention that one…). I sent out emails to my network / resourcing friends in the ministry field looking for anyone that might fill the bill. Nathan called me on the phone and told me not to worry, he was on it. Again, for those who know Nate, and those who have molded him, you have to take in a breath and just hold it when you hear that phrase.

About an hour or two later he called me back. “Problem solved. The real question should have been HOW MANY translators do you want?” Now, stressed out of his mind Dad was hearing his highly confident son tell me that he solved the translator problem. 1 phone call and a couple of emails he said. He sent me 2 phone numbers and told me to make the calls. I laughed to myself. Right. So, when is the last time you ate a slice of humble pie? Mine was a great big slice and it tasted pretty good to tell you the truth.

2 phone calls later I have 5 (yes FIVE) Spanish translators. How good are they you might ask? After all, a couple of hours? Who could Nathan contact in a couple of hours? Chase Turner for one. Chase played soccer with Nate at Freed-Hardeman. He majored in Spanish and is now working as a Spanish minister in Arkansas. Chase has been with me to Honduras too, which is an added benefit. And he has really wanted to go back to Honduras… that is where his vision for Spanish ministry began. How cool is that?

Call number 2? Well, I called Nadia Aguilera (yes, I know, THAT is a Spanish name if you ever hear one, right?) who graduated from Lipscomb last year. She went to Honduras with me 2 years ago and was a wonderful
translator. I was SO excited that Nate gave me Nadia’s number… this was going to be GREAT! However, my bubble burst when she told me she could not go. Rats! As I was thinking “Thanks Nate” she continued the conversation and told me that her brother and sister were available to go. As we talked on the phone I could hear her talking to others in the background. Soon her youngest sister asked if she was needed and then her Dad. Jorge Ernesto Aguilera. Oh yeah, grand slam, game over! Just his name did it for me! He is a PREACHER at the Cole Mill Road Church of Christ (Latino congregation) in Raleigh / Durham, NC. Oh, and he is a medical doctor. Did I mention that the family is from HONDURAS?

Yes, Nathan is that good. All you have to do is ask him. 5 translators, 2 are ministers, 1 is a doctor. Not bad. God certainly does move in mysterious ways. He certainly worked through my son. And I am pretty sure if He can take care of this fire in my life He can probably take care of the others as well. I told you that God was at work, didn’t I? If He can do all of this in 1 day IMAGINE what He is going to do during the 10 days we will be in Honduras!

Dios es bueno todo el tiempo. ¡Todo el tiempo Dios es bueno! God is good all of the time. All of the time God is good!


June 10th is the deadline for all paperwork and money! Less than 4 weeks and counting! Now, I need to go find a job..... :-)