Our Mission Statement

Sunday, February 21

Things to look forward to - Volume 1

Well it has certainly been a long time since I've entered the "blogosphere" but I'm glad to be back and pumped about our upcoming trip! I'm writing to get our creative juices flowing - yes we are still months away from our trip, but there is still a lot of planning to do, and we want to get everyone involved!
With such a large group this year, we are going to have to think outside the box on some of our projects and daily operations. We have already started putting together ideas and we want you to get excited with us about our activities! Over the next several months, I will be posting information about specific service opportunities and I want you to be thinking about how God can use you. (Including those of you who might not be able to go with us this year - Please don't forget how important you are in our work in Honduras! We need your help with fundraising, donations, and most importantly - PRAYER!)
Volume 1 of Things to look forward to is new to TORCH - The Patch Adams Crew. Every year we certainly send multiple teams to local hospitals to spend time with children and families who are dealing with illness. I have always found this to be one of the most difficult days for any TORCHER, whether it is your first year or a veteran, the hospital is a place that really tugs at your heart. To see children, so innocent, so young in these desparate situations, it is tough to stay positive sometimes. I think for many who have been to Hospital Escuela, the experience hits so hard personally, and affects us so deeply, that we can miss out on what our mission is. I will be the first to admit that I have walked out in tears, sobbing over the conditions, knowing that for many of the children there, there is little hope. And it is a struggle to look a child with cancer in the eyes and bring them cheer and be a source of hope. Of course, we pray over them and their families. And sure, we bring them toys and stuffed animals, crayons and bubbles, but I believe that we can do just a little more than that! So with the introduction of The Patch Adams Crew, we bring a different kind of cheer and a different kind of hope.
For those of you who don't know Patch Adams, it was a film based on the life of a man named Hunter "Patch" Adams. Robin Williams played to role of Patch, and to give a brief overview, Patch saw an opportunity in the medical field - an unorthodox approach to patient treatment. They say that laughter is the best medicine, so he began bringing humor and ammusement into the hospital. Unfortunately in the movie, his medical professors and "higher ups" didn't appreciate his methods.
Luckily for us - we don't have to worry about Medical Jurisdiction and Precedent - we can just be FUN! So you might be wondering what The Patch Adams Crew will involve? Plain and simple - BE GOOFY! We are going to have clown suits, wigs, red noses, big shoes, face paint, and most importantly - BIG personalities!!! We are literally going to bring Joy and Smiles and Laughter into the hospital and be a huge blessing to everyone we come in contact with! Think about it - what would be more fun to an ill Honduran child than some gringos dressed up with face paint and running around like the 3 stooges?! The cool part about The Patch Adams Crew is that where in most situations like this, language is a barrier. But everyone in the world speaks GOOFY! Sure, we'll teach some key words along the way, but I guarantee no words will be necessary to bring laughter into the hospital wards! I believe with all of my heart that THIS is the medicine that these kids need, then we follow up with love and prayer. There is nothing greater than bringing joy to a child, and if only for a little while, give them a break from the real world and let them be a kid. Let the parents see their children happy, give them a moment of peace. God is going to work WONDERS through this team - Are YOU Ready To BE a part of it?

What we need- Supplies supplies supplies! We are in the process of rounding up clown costumes and wigs, but if you can help, we need all we can get! We need face paint, and A LOT of it! Clown noses, wigs, oversize shoes; anything that says "Wacky", we need it! Simple magic tricks, bring it on! We welcome your ideas, there is no established standard for The Patch Adams Crew, so if you have insight, please share with us!

How can God use you in this ministry? What doors will he open, and will you have the faith and the confidence to walk through them?


Sunday, February 14

Rescue the parishing


This morning during worship assembly at the Estes Church of Christ, Jesse Robertson, one of the pulpit preachers at Estes and a Bible teacher at Freed-Hardeman, gave the lesson. The scripture reading came from Matthew 25... anyone from Torch Missions knows the passage well. As Jesse walked up to the stage a photo taken from a recent trip to Haiti was projected on the wall. The sermon focused on the mission outreach going on in Haiti as related to Matthew 25.

As we looked at the photos and the devastation in Haiti we listened intently to what Jesse was saying about the work going on there. It is in times of desperate situations that you see the amazing bravery and sacrifice f those who are going into the line of work. Amidst the ruin and destruction and the death you see the will to live and to move from the Haitians and the humanitarianism outreach from all over the world. Dozens of volunteer teams from the church have gone in and worked in these conditions without giving a second thought to their own comfort and safety.

Over 1.5 million dollars has been sent to Estes from individuals, organizations, and congregations. It is just one of several congregations that are directly involved in the work going on in Haiti. Estes is organizing their 5th team to go to Haiti in less than 3 weeks. And Estes is just one spoke of the wheel of help going in.

Gayle Davidson, one of the long time Torch team leaders from Melbourne, Florida, just arrived home a day ago. She was part of the 4th medical team IRC has sent to Haiti in the past 3 weeks. Orthopedic surgeons, nurses, EMT's, and paramedics have been involved in the work with the IRC med teams working in the remnants of the hospital that was in Port Au Prince. Gayle has been instrumental in gathering medical supplies and medicines to take to Haiti and getting them across the Dominican Republic's boarder into Haiti. There base of operation was the Son Light Children's Home, where Roberta Edwards, supported by the Estes congregation, works. Food and supplies were packaged and distributed by local missionaries from this point.

It amazes me what tremendous amount of work, supplies, donations, etc, can be generated during a time of crisis and need. Besides Estes and IRC, I know that the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota and the Northeast Church of Christ in Tampa, are also very actively involved with relief efforts. And this is just my tiny little corner of the world... imagine what all is taking place around the country! When the need is great the "sleeping giant" responds in a mighty way. I would love to hear what others out there have / are doing for the Haitian relief effort. Write me at reeves.tl@gmail.com

However, as we all know, other mission points around the world are still in need. Even though the spotlight has been on Haiti, there are many other places that are hurting and in need of help and assistance. Honduras is one of them. The assistance in Honduras, a continuous need, is not only there but amplified from last year's political unrest. The international community turned its back on Honduras as they stood up to Mel Zelaya and said, "enough is enough!" Paying a costly price, Honduras chose integrity and honor in defending its constitution in the mist of the over throw of Zelaya. Financial aide, goods, and services were stopped during the past 8 months and the people of Honduras, especially the poor, paid the price. The need in Honduras is overwhelming and we cannot forget them.

So, as we gather supplies and seek donations to pay for food, clothes, medical supplies, and more, we hope and pray that the generosity of our congregations, members, friends and family will not fail us. I encourage each and every one of us to work diligently to collect the supplies listed on the blog, to write letters of support to raise money, and to do fundraisers to help prepare us for the trip we are taking this summer.

Finally, please remember that applications and deposits are due at the end of this month. On March 1st those on the waiting list will begin filling any spots that become vacant from those on the list who have not turned in paperwork and deposits. 2 weeks and counting!!!! The Lord continues to open new doors this summer for our team and I am more excited than ever for the work we are going to do this year. I will talk more about it in future blogs. Until then, take care and may God be the focal point of all we say and do.

Terry Reeves

Monday, February 1

in case you haven't heard

Last Wednesday was a day many of us have been looking forward to with anxious eyes. Honduras officially installed its new president, Porfirio Lobo, as the new leader. The 62 year old businessman takes the reins after a turbulent 6 month ride by interim president Roberto Micheletti, who led the country during the exile of ex-president Mel Zelaya. International pressure on Honduras during this time was immense as Honduras endured economic sanctions and boycotts from countries who failed to recognize Micheletti as president. Zelaya was removed from office after trying to illegally change the Honduran Constitution to allow him to have a chance to run again for office. The Honduran constitution allows only 1 term of office for a president, whether it is for 1 day or for a full 4 year term. That part of the constitution is not allowed to be amended.

Although the inauguration did not receive a lot of fanfare worldwide, it went off without any problems and the transfer of power was completed in a very professional and dignified way. Tim and Mark were just a few of the many who where there for the inauguration and the president's inaugural ball (rumor has it that Mark was actually all dressed up in a suit!). With the new president in place and the political situation resolved (Zelaya was given official permission to leave the country to go to the Dominican Republic) a new chapter is about to be written. Lobo, from the conservative party, will hopefully bring Honduras back to the center of the political pendulum and restore assistance to the poor and needy of Honduras. And, just as importantly, financial aide will begin to return to the country and mission teams will once again arrive and work. The year-long layoff for most groups has put a huge strain on the poor and their ability to survive.

Plans for our trip to Honduras are progressing nicely. Actually, our trip is flying along at Mach 3! Things are happening so quickly that I am watching it all like Hans Solo watched the stars blur by when his Millennium Falcon jumped into hyper drive! The interest in this year's trip is like nothing I have ever seen. Since the initial information went out back in October, I have had more e-mails, phone calls, and Facebook messages than I have ever had for a trip. So, in case you haven't heard, the trip is officially full and a waiting list has been started. This is the first time I have ever had to cap the trip because of size limits, but even the Mission House (Villa Gracia) has limits to its capacity!

The team, including the waiting list, is now over 180. In order to run a mega team (any team reaching triple digits) we are going to take a new approach. Instead of running our team as 1 mega team, we are going to divide our team into two separate teams, the Alpha and Omega teams. Nathan will head up the Omega team and I will be in charge of the Alpha team. The teams will be equally divided by number and talent and will be run as 2 distinct teams. We will set up meal schedules for breakfast and dinner and will have separate morning devotionals. The evenings after dinner will allow the full team to mix and visit, along with time in the dorms. We will have a combined devo each night as well. I can only imagine what the singing will be like at night!!! By operating as 2 separate teams we will hopefully avoid downtime and will be able to keep everyone busy each day. But, this is going to take a lot of coordination and a lot of help with project leaders, construction crew chiefs, and multiple segundos.

The bulk of our work will be done in the Tegucigalpa area from the time of our arrival until the morning of July 7th. At that time we will divide into 2 groups. 1 team will travel to Choluteca to work in Timeteo's home village and the other will be going to a new area, Catacamas, where we will be doing work with a local congregation there. I will give you details on both of these works later as the details are hammered out. Both teams will return to Tegucigalpa the evening of the 9th and will spend the last couple of days there at a local hotel until we depart on the 11th. Tom Beach's team from South Carolina will arrive on the 9th and we are hoping to have a combined devo with them before we leave.

I will be posting another blog soon that will discuss supply collections and shipping plans for this summer. We have a lot of new groups coming on board this year and I will introduce them to you as well. I am so excited about all the things that are happening right now and I can assure you that God has great things in store for us this year! I hope you are excited and are praying about the trip. It will be here before you know it and this year is going to fly by... I mean, we are already in February!

This Friday is the deadline for the early bird registrations and deposits. After February 6th, applications need to have a $250.00 deposit check included (instead of the early bird $150 deposit). All checks need to be made payable to the Western Hills Church of Christ / Torch Missions 2010 with your name on the memo line. Trip balances are due the 1st week of June. Let me know if you have any questions, my email is reeves.tl@gmail.com . RUE2B?
Esta usted listo para ser utilizado en una manera poderosa este verano?