I guess you could call this the calm before the storm. Today we issued out the last of the 14 duffel bags we packed a few days ago full of the meds and last minute supplies going down to Honduras. Friday morning we drove over to Dr. Schwartz's office to pick up another couple of boxes of meds that came in that we have been expecting. We shipped those meds, along with other supplies, back to Nashville with Brandon Mann who was here this past week for soccer camp. And as crazy as it has been , we are still hoping that the children's chewable vitamins that we ordered might still arrive before we head down to Hondo. So, everyone flying out of Nashville on Thursday, make sure you have enough room in your suitcase or backpack for a large bottle of vitamins in case they come in! If they do Gayna and Jenny Taylor will be bringing them to the airport (80 pounds worth of vitamins) that will need to be distributed. It just doesn't get much crazier than this!
For the meteorologists out there, the tropical storm that was threatening to turn into a hurricane off the coast of Honduras has moved northwest and will be making landfall between Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The northeastern coast of Honduras did receive a lot of rain today but it looks as if Hondo will be spared the brunt of the storm. I for one was quite nervous since the advance team is to fly down on Tuesday. But as of now it looks like we will have clear sailing down the Teguc and begin the work. We have actually been in Honduras during a hurricane so nothing really surprises us much anymore, it is just part of the trip.
Joe Jones emailed me and told me that he went to Wal-Mart and bought a handy dandy vacuum system that sucks out all of the air in items like clothes that you are packing to take down to Honduras. He said it made quite a difference in the space he has in his bags and recommends it to anyone out there that might be struggling to figure out how to close and zip your suitcase! (Sorry, it doesn't help with shoes....) I know a lot of people are already packing for Honduras and I just want to remind everyone to be aware of the weight restrictions for luggage and to make sure you have your suitcase / bag handles color coded with the orange tape and the colored tape of your flight (red for American, Yellow for Continental, and blue for Delta).
When you arrive in Honduras make sure to have $20 that is easy to get to... we will have $20 packets of Limperias ready for you at the airport. The $20 exchange will give you enough money to buy lunch on Thursday and to go to the grocery store to buy lunch items and snacks for the first few days that you are in Teguc. Don't go crazy at the grocery store, you will only need to buy stuff for lunches for Friday and Saturday. We will be going out to eat on Sunday for lunch and dinner. You will have a chance to shop again on Sunday for the next week. Remember, the Torch banking system exchanges money in $20 packets... help make banking to be a simple and easy system. Also remember, EVERYONE will deposit their money, passports, and other valuable items (credit cards, driver's licenses, social security cards, etc) into the bank. We do not want to take a chance on any one's valuables being lost or stolen. Since we are dividing into 2 teams we will have an Alpha and Omega bank. The banks will be available every time you will need to have money.
Because of the size of our group and the way the rooms are designed at the Mission House, we ask you to be very gracious and understanding about rooming assignments. In most cases, the rooms will be at capacity and their will be VERY little room to store luggage and to spread out. This will only be a temporary situation since Tuesday, July 6th the first team will split off to go to Catacamas (about 45). Wednesday, July 7th the Choluteca team will depart (about 65) along with a small team that will be working in Santa Ana (7). That will leave about 40 at the Mission House and all of us will have some breathing room for the duration of the trip. If things begin to get to you just take a deep breath and sing The Greatest Command to yourself (just the soprano part... you can't sing all 4 parts at one time to yourself....).
I will post 1 more blog on Monday to go over last minute packing suggestions, reminders, etc. Hopefully you have received your Torch t-shirts to wear down on the flight, have bought your insect repellent with DEET, sunscreen, and the other items on the suggested packing list, and numerous other things that you have thought of that was not on anyone's list! I will actually pack my bags tomorrow (Sunday), a full 24 hours before I have too! I marked off the last "to do" off my list today (1st time in 20 years I can honestly say I have completed everything needed this far in advance) and am actually planning on getting sleep before I fly down on Tuesday (another first).
The time is near, the tasks are at hand. Months of plans and prayers are about to be put into action. We have 160 people ready to go and are excited and anxious to put the hand to the plow. The army of The One is about to deploy and hit the ground running. We are about to find out what 160 missionaries can do when they are focused, poised, and ready to work. Our mission is simple: live, work and breathe Matthew 25. We will give God the Father all of the glory and we will seek to be humble servants serving to be the hands and feet of Jesus for 11 days. We will work with each other and we will serve those whom the Lord has prepared for us to serve. We will lift each other up and we will not allow Satan to defeat us. Neither snow or rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. OK, that is the postal service's motto, but change a couple of words and it works for us too (besides, I am not sure they use this motto anymore....)! Neither rain, or heat, or mosquitoes, or gloom of day or night, nor mud or intense sun or lack of sleep will keep us from the swift and compassionate completion of our appointed work. And the Torch group said, Amen!