Our Mission Statement

Thursday, May 27

Alpha and Omerga team listings

As the trip gets closer, more and more preparations are being finalized. Prayers were indeed answered as the container left Nashville and is on its way to Honduras. According to Healing Hands International, the container will arrive in Porta Cortez, Honduras, on June 6th. From there the container will clear customs and will be trucked to Tegucigalpa and unloaded into our warehouse. Hopefully by the time the advance team arrives everything will be ready for the team to organize and sort for the main team to use when they arrive on July 1st.

Artwork has been sent to Laura Barlow up in Indiana and the t-shirt orders are in. In just a couple of weeks our shirts will be ready to mail out to team leaders. I am working on this year's journal right now and it will be ready to go to print early next week. Margaret is done with the rooming assignments and will be sending it to Lori and Mark Connell this week. Food and lumber orders will also be made this week. Spanish coloring booklets are being printed this week too. Margaret sent out e-mails reminding group leaders and individuals of missing paper work that needs to be sent in. The books of much importance (yes, there are 2 this year due to the size of the team!) is filling up and will be done soon. A lot of stuff has been done so far!

The Alpha and Omega teams have also been assigned. From here, Nathan and I will begin our scheduling of projects and plans. Coordination between the two teams will be critical to make sure we have enough supplies and equipment each day for both teams and that we do not cross paths during the work days. It is important that we do not over work an area or omit an area due to oversight. It will be even more challenging since a third Torch team, Mark Halbert's group from Mississippi, will also be in Honduras while we are there. But this makes the work that much more exciting as we map things out. We have made contact with several people in Honduras who are helping us with our plans. Greg Vaughn from Good Shepherd's Children's Home and Jorge Castillo, from Didasko Orphanage have responded to our e-mails and we have projects set up with both groups. They are very excited about our group coming this year to work!

Here is the listing of the Alpha and Omega teams. A lot of time and thought went into dividing the main team into 2 teams to make sure there was balance of age, talent, and experience within the 2 groups. Let me know if you are not on the list! Hopefully I did not leave anyone off (or spell any names wrong...)

Alpha Team / Team leader: Terry Reeves

Laura Barlow, Kristen Black, Leah Phillips Black, Allen Burris, Kedra Burris, Lester Burris, Maddie Burris, Rebecca Burris, Kevin Cline, Clint Coley, Jonathan Coxwell, Brittni Dudley, Garrett Elder, Joanna Fussell, Joel Fussell, Keith Fussell, Kim Fussell, Linda Gilstrap, Steve Gilstrap, Patrick Gutherie, Ken Haab, Sandi Haab, Lee Hagewood, Patrick Harvey, Midge Hendershott, Gary Hendrickson, Will Hendrickson, Rodolfo Hererra, Lauren James, Taona Kaulem, Steve Kemp, Allison Lincoln, Cindy McClain, Brittany McMahon, Brett Mitchell, Judy Mitchell, Reid Mitchell, Teresa Moon, Liza Moore, Dave Moorer, Loye Moorer, Drew Myers, Hannah Myers, Jeremy Myers, Tim O'Dell, Debra Overfield, Nathan Overfield, Katie Palmer, Beth Parsley, Jake Parsley, Lou Ann Rader, Margaret Reeves, Magdalena Rigg, Melanie Rigg, Darci Roberts, Natalie Sassine, Brittany Schneider, Carrie Schneider, Steve Schneider, Rita Sloane, Brian Steffy, Ashley Stewart, Jennifer Subic, Gayna Taylor, Jenny Taylor, Pam Timmerman, Ethel Townsend, Scott Townsend, Becky Warren, Seanne Warrior, Katie Wells, Melissa Wilson, Leah Wright

Omega Team / Team leader: Nathan Reeves

Diane Adams, Amanda Allen, Jessica Ashley, Meagan Baldwin, Zach Baldwin, Terri Barber, Whitney Barber, Brandy Barnett, Hunter Beaird, Cynthia Bennie, Sarah Bennie, Jerry Brown, Justin Brown, Daniel Burnell, Nathan Carroll, Marah Casey, Kaleigh Chaffee, Kennedy Cheatham, Terry Cheatham, Ken Fehling, Hailey Frazier, Andrew Gary, Tyler Gist, Katie Gooch, Amy Hein, Dan Hein, Sarah Hinson, Jenna Hostetler, Josh Hostetler, Emily Holton, James Johnson, Patti Johnson, Taylor Johnson, Jacque Jones, Joe Jones, Loni Beth Jones, Lonnie Jones, Jake Lovell, Jenny Lovell, Janelle Mabry, Jansen Mabry, Brandon Mann, Jody Mann, Valerie Morgan, Josh Myers, Kevin Newcomb, Daniel Osborn, Brittany Peppers, Rachel Potts, Zachary Quillian, Karen Reeves, Chad Roberts, Beth Rosenblum, Bruce Rosenblum, Judy Rosenblum, Michael Rosenblum, Christina Saenz, Mariano Saenz, Katie Schlemmer, Tara Shea, Austin Shivers, Angie Solar, Hannah Taylor, Matthew Taylor, Ray Thomas, Ray Thomas, Sara Tucker, Butch Weaver, Patti Weaver, Allison West, Will West, Matt Wilkinson, Eric Yow, Erin Yow

We will also have a few from the team that will be on both teams as needed. Besides the medical people, we have several additional translators on the trip this year: Flory Chacon, Jose Chavarria, Kristi Duran, Jesenia Jimenez, Esperanza Massana, Walter Mendoza, Minor Perez, Rene Puente, Chase Turner, and Christopher Wright.

Remember, next week is the deadline for final payments if you are paying by check. All checks need to be made out to Western Hills Church of Christ / Torch Missions 2010. Please mail all checks to us here so we can record them before sending them on to WHCOC. After June 3rd cashiers checks can still be sent to me until June 20th (made out to Terry Reeves). after June 20th final payment must be made in cash. Please do not send cash in the mail!!!! Cash needs to be hand delievered or brought with you to Honduras. Let me know if you have any questions on this.

More information to come! 34 days and counting! Are you ready? It is going to be amazing!


Friday, May 14

Did you hear that sound?


Friday, June 14: It is now 45 days until the Advance Team arrives in Tegucigalpa. 6 1/2 weeks until 13 team members will arrive at airports in Memphis and Nashville at 4:00 in the morning to board our planes. 45 days until all of the plans will become a reality. 45 days until the gears begin to turn. I am excited, nervous, stressed, tired, and anxious. This is true of me every year about this time, but this year even more so... this is the biggest team I have ever led and it is at best, overwhelming. 165 people are signed up and ready to go for this year's trip. 165........

Every year, once we have returned from Honduras, plans begin for the next trip. Taking a blank piece of paper, I begin dreaming and writing down things and places , ideas, opportunities, challenges, goals... you know, the ingredients, necessary to plan a mission trip. Trip leaders contact each other and we set the calendars with dates of each team's trip, and then it begins in earnest. Emails and phone calls go out to groups and people, the faithful and loyal veterans, who mark their calendars and then it begins. Teams are recruited, sign-ups begin. Deadlines are given and fund raisers start. Applications go out and deposits come in. This is standard stuff... nothing new about any of this. But this year has been different.

Individual team numbers remained constant. New teams came on board. Past Torch members returned. New faces, fresh ideas, relentless excitement, flooded the scene. More paper, more notes. More dreams. Plans kept getting bigger, more detailed. I reached out more and more to different people for input and ideas, for answers and opinions. I began delegating projects to different people, which, by the way, is very difficult for me. One by one, projects were assigned, some are things that we need done every year, and new ones. And, slowly but surely, the projects have been completed. Others are in the works even as I write. And I look and see a trip that is better planned and prepared than any trip I have ever led. But so much is still to be done.

So, with that in mind, I need to post information that is important for the trip. 45 days may seem like a long way away, but I can assure you, it is not. The next 6 weeks will go by quickly and there is still much to do. By now, all applications and deposits have been turned in. Round 2 is about to come to an end. Round 2 consisted of the following:

* Torch Missions rules sheet signed and notarized.
* Spanish release form (for those under the age of 18) signed and notarized
* A photocopy of your passport made
* Plane tickets purchased

Paper work should be mailed to me and in my possession by Friday, May 21st. Flight information should be emailed to me immediately. [Note: If you have not bought your ticket by now you are now in jeopardy of not going on the trip. Some flights are booked and sold out and others only have a few seats left on them] It is very important to have all of this done by May 21st so that round 3 can be finalized. Round 3 is making your final payments for the trip. Final payment is due June 3rd if paying by check. We must have time for checks to clear the bank and we can withdraw the funds to take with us to Honduras. After June 3rd all payments need to be made in cash.

To date 126 people have sent me their travel information. I am waiting for 39 others to send me their information. 126 is great, especially at this time of the trip planning. However, since there are so many going, not to mention other groups that might be traveling the same time we are, we are behind schedule. Round 2 paper work needs to be turned in on time so that I can sign up and purchase our supplemental travel insurance, Once that is done, I can begin the final preparations needed before we arrive in Honduras. Lumber has to be ordered. Sites have to be finalized. Food has to be ordered. Bibles have to be ordered. Reservations need to be made to visit hospitals, children's homes, orphanages, and schools. Oh, there is still a lot to be done. 45 days.... and counting!

T-shirts are going to be ordered within the next week or so. Journals will be going to print soon. Hopefully our container will be shipping out next week. [Note: For those who might not know, Nashville was struck by a devastating flood about 2 weeks ago. It was the worst natural disaster to ever hit Tennessee. Hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Among the things damaged was empty containers. The floors of the containers buckled from the water damage and new containers have had to be brought in from other places. Because of this, our container did not arrive on the scheduled time and Healing Hands has been waiting for another container to arrive to load our supplies]

Things you need to do:

* Send in all required paper work on time!
* Pray that our container will make shipment in time to arrive for our trip!
* Read Matthew 25 once a week and focus on ways that this chapter will impact you on the trip
* Continue collecting toys, stuffed animals, crayons, finger nail polish, etc
* Pray for the people of Honduras; pray for our team members
* finish raising your funds for the trip
* Make appointment for any shots that your doctor might recommend

RUE2B: a servant... humble... sacrificial... a vessel... a mentor... merciful... loving... challenged... uplifted... focused... touched... amazed... exhausted... poured out... prayerful... mighty... an ambassador... salt... light... broken... purposeful... patient... gentle... kind... Christ-like... a burden bearer... trustworthy... faithful... joyful


Saturday, May 1

I love it when a plan comes together!

Back in the early 80's America tuned in each week to watch a group of renegade ex-special forces veterans save the day in the classic series "the A Team." After 5 seasons the TV show went to re-runs and even spun off a cartoon series. Who can forget the colorful characters such as Sgt. B.A. Baracus, Lt. Templeton Face Peck, Capt. Howling mad Murdock, and Col. John Hannibal Smith. (OK, the younger generation probably has no idea who these guys are... too bad so sad). The show featured lots of action, fight scenes and exploding vehicles, rarely with anyone ever getting seriously hurt! Regardless if you watched the show or not, classic quotes abound from the show. "I pity the fool" was Mr. T's line of choice. But the most famous line of the show was Col. Smith's, "I love it when a plan comes together." And that, is the phrase of the day. I love it when a plan comes together.

For weeks, actually months, groups all around have been collecting supplies to send down to Honduras on the container we scheduled to ship. The 40 foot container was going to have 20,000 pounds of Indiana's finest corn, plus various goods collected for the trip. Our plan was partially derailed when we found out that Honduras was suspending importation of corn into the country due to an over abundance of the crop in their country. With 50% of the container now on an indefinite hold, and the scheduled shipping date looming, I considered down grading our container from a 40 footer to a 20 foot container. However, the price difference was minimal so I decided to keep the 40 footer. All I can say is that I am glad I did! I love it when a plan comes together!

I stumbled upon an Amish/Mennonite business here in Henderson that does wood working. They build storage sheds, gazebos, and playground systems. I drive by it every time I go to Jackson (which is all of the time). I saw a really nice playground system that was on display and decided to go in and find out how much it would cost. I was thinking that a pre-built one would be easier to reassemble than building one from scratch. After meeting the owner, we found that we had many things in common. He had just recently returned from Honduras, visiting friends that work at a private Christan school in Tegucigalpa. It was Los Pinares where Jen Arnold and Katie Wells worked (and Mr. Miller). He had also been to Sarasota to visit family and friends in November. He knows the Hostetlers and the Yoders, both families have participated on our trips before. Now, you tell me, what are the odds of running into a guy in Henderson, TN, who knows people that we know in Honduras and in Sarasota, where I used to work as a youth minister??? By the time the conversation was over I had a $3,900 playground system for $2,500 with free shipping to Healing Hands the day before everything was due there. I love it when a plan comes together!

Now, I knew from seeing the size of the playground system, that was only going to be partially taken apart, that a good part of the container would be filled up with swings, slides, A frames, tower, roof, climbing wall, and picnic table. If only we could come up with enough stuff to fill the rest of the container. However, I did not know how much supplies the various groups had collected during the past several weeks. It would not be until a few days before everything was due at Healing Hands that I would find out. As I began compiling the shipping manifest that would be required for the container, I asked the various groups how many boxes of supplies they had so that I could assign shipping numbers to their boxes. every box has to have a shipping label on the outside of the box with a description of what is in the box. It is a tedious job that takes time, patience, and coordination. I love it when a plan comes together!

Boxes were going to be coming to Healing Hands International from several different places. Sarasota, FL. Memphis, TN. Centerville, TN. Henderson, TN. Nashville, TN. Huntsville, AL. Mitchell, IN. Kittanning, PA. Mobile, AL. I was assigning numbers and packing instructions. Numbers were constantly being adjusted as supplies kept coming in and totals changed. It was crazy. It was insane. It was madness. It was just the way I liked it! The final numbers were given out. Emails with the box numbers and contents came in. Cutting and pasting, changing font and font size, formatting and reformatting, it all came together. 12 pages later we had 550 boxes inventoried!!! Medical. Dental. Hygiene. Toiletries. Toys. Stuffed animals. VBS supplies. Art supplies. School supplies. Clothes. shoes. Tools. Cookware. Food. I love it when a plan comes together!

Thursday was "D" day... delivery day. All of the supplies was to come to Healing Hands on Thursday. No small task, considering where everything came from. Sarasota, FL, and Kittanning, PA, had sent their things down early. It had been stored in a storage unit in Nashville. West Tennessee and Memphis also sent their things to Nashville early. Margaret and I arrived in Nashville at 8:30 and met Steve Kemp and his son Justin. We loaded all of the stuff from the storage unit and headed to HHI. We got their about 10:30. Jenny Lovell and Daniel Burnell were already there unloading supplies from West Nashville. After their boxes we stacked on pallets we unloaded our rental truck. We took a lunch break and shortly thereafter Allen Burris and company showed up from Indiana. then Michael Rosenblum, from Huntsville, and Tim O'Dell and friends, arrived at the same time. 4:30 and we were done and heading back to Henderson, TN. 550 boxes arrived in less than 5 hours, already numbered, labeled, and inventoried. I love it when a plan comes together!

There was only one snag. Joe Smith informed me, once everything had arrived, that I was going to need a bigger container! Yep, the one we had was going to be too small. We are going to need an over sized container. It should be there in about a week. Which is good, because I have more stuff to take over there next week. We were all tired, sleep deprived, and worn out. But it was an amazing journey to get to last Thursday. And to be honest, I am not so sure that God isn't watching all of this and saying, "I love it when a plan comes together." What do you think? This was a classic, "Where did you see Jesus today?" moment.
So, in about a week the container will be loaded and on its way to port where it will be loaded on a cargo ship and sent to Porta Cortez, Honduras. From there it will be trucked over to Tegucigalpa where Mark Connell and / or Marc Tindall will unload the container and store it in our warehouse until we arrive. The Advance Team will arrive a couple days ahead of the main team and will organize all of those supplies and stage them so that we will be able to rock and roll when the main team arrives. Soon I will be putting in the order for lumber and tin for houses, and ordering truck loads of food to be delivered to the Mission House for sorting and re-packing for door to door distributions.
Rules sheets and Spanish Release Forms went out last week. In the next couple of weeks they are due back, filled out and notarized. Also, photocopies of passports will be due. And just a reminder, final payments for the trip is due in less than 6 weeks (38 days to be exact). you are certainly welcome to send in your payments early. Several have done just that. And finally, if you have not booked your airline ticket, you are just about to run out of time. The Continental flight from Houston to Tegucigalpa is nearly sold out, there might be a couple of seats left on it. So, American TACA, and Delta are now the 2 main choices for those of you still waiting to buy. If you are waiting for prices to go down, I wouldn't hold your breath. With the oil spill in the Gulf right now, fuel prices are going to start climbing and so will airline prices. Book now of be ready to fork out a lot more money to "fly the friendly skies." Remember to send me your flight information as soon as you book!

RUE2B... amazed? 61 days and counting!!!!