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!!!!