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