The World Missions Workshop is winding down at Freed-Hardeman University. Several hundred from many of the church of Christ colleges and universities came this weekend to hear some great lectures and messages about world missions. Along with the Christian Universities were groups from state schools, youth ministers, and guests. Dozens of booths were set up in the student center highlighting efforts taking place in Asia, Europe, Oceania, Central America, South America, Africa, and North America. I really enjoyed walking around and meeting people and finding out about their works. There is a lot of neat stuff going on all over the place.
I was especially glad to hear a long time and very dear friend, F.H. Gates, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, speak. F.H. has been in Brazil for 30 years. He is very good friends with Randy Short and Danny Bratcher from Recife, the area Torch has sent teams the past 2 summers. I also spent time with Alfred Donald, another classmate of mine from Freed that is a minister in the Atlanta inner-city program. I met lots of new people and had several that singed up for an email follow up from the Torch Missions booth. I believe several new contacts have been made and the door has been open for new participants in the future.
With the workshop out of the way my next mission is to secure a booth for Winterfest and CYC, which take place in Gatlinburg in February. I also hope to be able to set up a booth at the Faulkner lectureship this spring. My hope and goal is to begin giving Torch exposure in as many venues as possible. Even though our program has been steadily growing the past 7 or 8 years, PR is important for our organization as we begin climbing towards the step up to the next level of ministry. We have certainly come a long way in the past 10 years but I feel we have yet to touch the hem of the garment of what Torch Missions is going to accomplish and achieve.
As far as my trip is concerned, the dates have now been set. After much time looking at calendars and comparing notes with several people on our team, we have decided that the best dates for our trip will be THURSDAY, JULY 1 – SUNDAY, JULY 11. Unless something drastic takes place, these dates will not be changed. You may now fill out those vacation request forms and get those dates off for the trip. We will again be staying at the Mission House for the trip and will use it as the base of our operations. We do have some day trips planned that will take us out of the city. If tentative plans work out, a team or two might even spend a couple of days away working in new locations that we thinking about working. It will indeed be an exciting trip and for nearly everyone, something new and challenging.
As you know, the political situation in Honduras is still very much a boiling pot of controversy. Even though very little has been said in the media the past several days does not mean things are not going on down in Honduras. Ex-president Mel Zelaya is still in the country and negotiations are still taking place. Agreements have not been reached and the elections are now just over 1 month away. In my opinion, the elections running on schedule is one of the most important items of the process at this time. Recognition of the results from the international community is equally important. Let us all hope and pray this will take place and the stalemate will end. If it does we will precede full speed ahead with our plans.
However, if the waters remain cloudy, and unrest and tensions continue on, I have been working on an alternate plan for our trip this summer. Research and scouting is taking place right now in 2 different locations in Central America. We will have a backup plan in place and will be able to implement the plans by the end of March 2010 if needed. With this in mind, I think it would be prudent to research airline tickets to Honduras but I do not recommend that anyone purchase tickets until we have a clear indication as to where we will be working this summer. I will certainly let you know the moment a decision has been made.
I know some of you might be wondering how to go about making plans for the trip. My plan is to prepare to go to Honduras and consider it our mission point unless something changes that decision. Fund raising should be geared, as of now, to go to Honduras. Collections for supplies should be based on needs in Honduras. If we are to change plans, you will have detailed information to give out and use at that time. Safety is our number one point of emphasis on our trips, and if we feel the trip is in any kind of danger, we will change our course of action. Anyone who questions our plans to go to Honduras can certainly be given any information being discussed in this message.
Please feel free to write if you have any specific questions. I will be posting information on a regular basis from this point forward. In particular, I will be sharing information about a small Torch team (from our summer team) that has been in Honduras this past week working to install the water purification systems we began this summer. I have some exciting details to share with you early next week! The team had an amazing trip and got a LOT of work done in the few days that they were there.
I am constantly amazed by the hard work and dedication of those who work with us at Torch. I feel that I have the BEST teams, resources, and networking that anyone could ever ask for. We have loyal and dedicated team members who constantly work to make our missions program better and better. I am so blessed to be part of a mission team that loves the Lord, the people of Honduras, and the work that we do. It is truly a privilege to work with all of you. RUE2B?