I pulled an all nighter last night. The past couple of weeks has been brutal as far as my work schedule, going through Honduras paperwork, and recording checks and making deposits! Thank goodness Margaret has been here to help and my sister-in-law Jenny has had my back. WE have received well over a hundred applications so far and I am expecting a couple dozen more in this week. We have deposited several thousand dollars and a lot of it has already been sent south. Hopefully as I write this blog our reservations are made for the hotels in Tegucigalpa, Choluteca, and Catacamas. A lot is done but much more to do.
The race is on. To buy airline tickets. I have already received a LOT of flight confirmations! People are booking flights right and left and seats are starting to go fast. I have confirmations on all 3 carriers so far... American, Continental, and Delta. I am expecting to have some of the Florida group book on TACA before it is over. So, if you are playing the "wait and see" game, watching and waiting to see if ticket prices go down, good luck. Just remember, there is only a certain number of seats on each flight, and once they are gone, they are gone. Buying early will allow you to get the flight you want on the days you want. AS the old saying goes, "The early bird gets the worm!" Or, in this case, the early Torcher gets the seat!
7 of us (Brian Steffy, Steve Kemp, Ben and Jill Wright, Minor Perez, Margaret and I) will be flying down to Costa Rica this coming Friday! Margaret, Minor, and I will be driving to Atlanta to catch our flight on spirit Airlines (Ken Haab, I hope you have been telling me the truth about this company!!!). Our trip will be focused on meeting the local minister at Perez Zeledon, in the southern part of Costa Rica. The church there was started about a year ago and is prime real estate for a campaign group. It is going to be an exciting trip, especially since we have to drive over the 11,350 foot tall Cerro de la Muerte (the mountain of death). Seriously, I am not making this up!
We will be meeting with the preacher, visiting several hotels in the area (looking for just the "right" one... not too nice... not too bad... just right"). We will also be visiting the local hospital to meet with administrators about visitation procedures, etc. We will also look for stores where we will be able to buy supplies such as bulk foods for food distributions. There is also an orphanage nearby that we plan to visit. We will worship at the local congregation and meet the members too. We will also drive around the area to see the neighborhoods and the outlying areas and look for a possible retreat location.
All of this is preparations for the May, 2011 trip to Costa Rica. I have had Costa Rica in my sights for the past 3 or 4 years but did not have the right contacts until recently. Minor Perez, one of the students at Freed-Hardeman that lives in my dorm, is from Costa Rica and has played a huge part in organizing this trip. He, along with Isaac Barrentes, who is also from Costa Rica, will help plan and organize the May trip next year. Ben Wright, from Kittanning, PA, will be co-leader of the trip. To say we are excited about the trip would be an understatement!
So, I am expecting this next week to fly by! In the next 4 days, besides my regular work load, I will be focusing my energy on the Costa Rica scouting trip and the Honduras trip. For the rest of you, focus on fund raising and buying airline tickets! I can assure you, June 1st will be here before you know it. And before that final payment is due, there will be additional paper work that will have to be turned in. rules sheets, photocopies of passports, Spanish release forms (those under 18), to name a few.
Using white water rafting as my illustration, our trip looks like this so far: November - January we picked out our rafting outfitter; February we picked up our gear for the trip; March we loaded the raft and pushed off into the river and have now started down steam... and the roar of the white water can be heard ahead!!! It will not be very long till we will be in the middle of the rapids and flying down the river! If you have rafted before then you know exactly what I mean! If you haven't... then all I can say is try to get ready! Tighten up your life vest, strap on your helmet, 'cause we are about to go on a ride!
Man, I am so excited! I know you would never know from reading all of this, but believe me, I am so ready to go on the trip this year. And I know most of you are right there with me. Come on in, the water is great! "I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send, who will go for us? Then I said, here am I, send me!" Isaiah 6:8