Saturday, December 31
Saturday, December 24
Tuesday, December 6
A few years ago I started selecting interns to work with me during the mission trips. It was one of the best things I have done. Having a group that works behind the scenes to help plan and implement the activities and ministries of the day has helped me in a lot of ways. "Taking things off of my plate" was not just an option, but a necesssity for me to continue doing the trips. Over the past few years I have learned to delegate responsibilities to various team leaders (or segundos as we say while in Honduras) and to interns. This was hard for me to do at first but I have come to enjoy the trips so much more knowing that things are being done by others which allows me time to participate more and even get some rest every now and then!
Selection for the mission interns is a fairly lengthy process. Once emails go out and posters are put up around campus, word gets out about the internship. A detailed discription of the expectations, requirements, and cost is shared to those who express interest. This year about 2 dozen began the process. The process included filling out an application, securing 3 letters of recommendation, and writing a 1 page essay on why they wanted to do the internship. Some went the extra mile and also wrote a biography of themselves to give me even more information to consider. 1 on 1 conversations (interviews) were also done. Once all of this was completed I selected 9 interns that will be working with my Torch teams this summer in Honduras.
We have 4 who have served as interns for me before and 5 new interns. 7 have been on at least one Torch trip. All have impressed me in various ways and I am very confident that they will do an excellent job this summer working with the 2 teams working in Honduras. Here is a quick introduction of the 2012 interns:
1. Kathryn Bettis. Kathryn is a junior at Freed-Hardeman University and is from Clarksville, Tennessee. This will be Kathryn's 2nd internship with Torch and her 3rd trip to Honduras.
2. Kennedy Cheatham. Kennedy is from Hendersonville, Tennessee, and will be a senior next year at Beech High School. This is Kennedy's 2nd internship and her 3rd trip to Honduras.
3. Tyler Gist. Tyler is from Columbia, South Carolina. He is a junior and will be transferring to the University of South Carolina next fall. This is Tyler's 2nd internship and his 7th trip to Honduras.
4. Luke Larson. Luke is from Lithia, Florida, and is a freshman at Harding University. This is Luke's 1st internship with Torch and his 2nd trip to Honduras.
5. Julia Morgan. Julia is a freshman at Freed-Hardeman University and is from Moore, Oklahoma. This will be Julia's first trip with Torch Missions and her 2nd trip to Honduras.
6. Ashley Stewart. Ashley is a junior at Freed-Hardeman University. She is from Columbia, Tennessee. This is Ashley's 2nd internship with Torch and her 5th trip to Honduras.
7. Leah sutter. Leah is from Tavernier (Florida Keys), Florida. Leah is a freshman at Florida Keys Community College. This is Leah's first internship with Torch and her 3nd trip to Honduras.
8. Rachel Timmerman. Rachel is a senior at FLVS Home School and is also from Tavernier, Florida. This is Rachel's 1st internship with Torch and her 3rd trip to Honduras.
9. Erika Wenger. Erika is a freshman at Freed-Hardeman University. She is from Richmond, Virginia. This is her 1st internship with Torch and her 1st trip to Honduras.
I could say a lot more about all of the interns but I will be brief this time. More will be shared at another time. As you can see, the interns come from all over the U.S. and each will bring their unique talents to the mix as we form the 2012 team. I am very excited about the choices and I believe they will do an excellent job this summer.
As far as the trips go, things are shaping up very well. Here are the tentative numbers for each team as of today:
Costa Rica: 65. This trip is full but a few reserved spots might open up soon.
Honduras trip #1: 75. 5 spots remaining.
Honduras trip #2: 77. 3 spots remaining.
We already have 2/3 of a container of supplies collected already! Mt. Dora Bible School (Florida) donated lots of stackable chairs that were used in their auditorium. Ken Haab has secured a lot of school furniture (desks, chairs, cafeteria tables, etc.) from the Florida Keys. Singer Sewing Machines has donated 3 HUGE boxes of sewing supplies that will go to the Mi Esperanza program this summer. In addition, I already have had to rent another storage unit here in Henderson to store supplies that are coming in. Once we get a container scheduled I will give all of you more information about shipping date, loading location, etc.
As the year comes to an end and Christmas break gets closer, I hope all of us will take time to enjoy what is really important. God has belssed us all in a very special way. He has placed many people in our lives and opportunities to reach out and serve to those who are less fortunate. As we continue to focus our efforts on Costa Rica and Honduras, remember that your ministry starts by reaching out to those who are all around you. By helping and ministering to those close to you, a ripple affect is created. By ministering to those far away, you bless not only them but you create new ripples that will work their way from the center out. The greatest gift you receive might very well be the one that you gave away. Peace.
Wednesday, November 30
The lesson was given by one of our freshmen, a Bible major, from Mississippi. His opening statement got everyone's attention, "This lesson is going to be short, sweet, and to the point." Now, I use that phrase all the time around the dorm, especially when I call meetings. (That is my way of saying to listen up because I am going to cover the items quickly and will not repeat myself. Most of my all dorm meetings last 10 minutes or less) They guys in devo grinned and shook their heads in approval. I even heard a few "Amens" from where I was sitting.
He told us that was proud of his heritage, Irish and Chickasaw (interesting combination I must say). He heard a Chickasaw parable when he was growing up that he shared with us. There was once an elderly warrior who sat with his grandson one evening by the fire. The warrior told his grandson that there lived within each person 2 wolves that fight with each other. One wolf was evil and was filled with hatred, anger, malice, jealousy, and pride. The other wolf was good, filled with love, peace, happiness, and kindness. the grandson looked at his grandfather and said, "Which one wins?" The old warrior replied, "The one that you feed, it is the one that will win."
A 5 minute talk that was short, sweet, and to the point. Who wins? Good question.
Wednesday, November 9
The General Consulate of Honduras, Emelisa Callejas, comes from a very powerful and politically influential family in Honduras and now works as Consulate in Atlanta. Her passion is NGOs and she is dedicating her efforts in helping groups like us have a better and more productive work in Honduras. She invited several Honduran government officals to the meeting to do presentations and to have question / answer sessions. Representatives from the Secretaries of Argriculture, Defense, Interior, Education, and Finance were presesent.
The focus of all the presentations was to share the new 30 year vision Honduras has in place to help develop the country and assist the people of Honduras. The presentations were quite impressive and were the exact presentations that were used when the current president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, met with the United States. Sharing this vision to NGOs is one of the top priorities of the government because they realize that literally millions of dollars in aid and supplies are donated to the country every year through non-profits and that thousands of volunteers come to work in Honduras. Through coordinated efforts between the Honduran government, NGOs, and other international agencies and countries, Honduras is trying to put a plan into place that will get them off the road of poverty and onto a road to prosperity.
Although IRC / TORCH Missions is just 2 of many players on the field, it became obvious that we were major players in this meeting of the minds. Compared to the other NGOs, we were in the top tier of organizations as far as the number of workers we brought into the country, the amount of goods we shipped in for donation, and the impact we were making in the areas in which we work. Senora Emelisa Callejas, the General Consulate, was very much aware of who were are and what we do. She specifically asked for a private meeting with Tim and I the morning before the conference began.
Even though the morning was a buzz at the Latin American Association building getting ready for the conference (which started at 2:00) Tim and I arrived at the building at 9:30 for a 10:00 appointment with Senora Callejas. She is a warm and charming lady and spoke excellent English (which was good for me!). We met for about 45 minutes in her office and was able to discuss in detail some of the problems and frustrations that we have experienced shipping containers, red tape in paperwork, fees and delays that we have experienced, and other issues that have dampened and slowed down our work in Honduras. She was very concerned that Tim was able to name specific Congressmen and Sentators in the Honduran government, all that she knew personally, that had promised help in various ways, that never fully materialized. She was quite aware of the frustatations found within government and showed great compassion towards the things NGOs were going through. Although she could not promise specifc results, she did promise to do all she could within her ralm of influence (which we believe is immense) in helping us in our work. BTW, we were the only ones that received a private meeting during the conference.
The conference allowed the NGOs a chance to voice concerns on many issues, all of which were common amoung all of our groups. Of the 3,500 NGO groups working in Honduras, only 150 are registered and officially recognized by the Honduran government at this time. Being part of a small number will certainly have its benefits in weeks and months to come. Tim and I are cautiously optimistic that the government is going to impliment rules, laws, and changes that will certainly help us. We are one step closer to having tax exempt status for all goods and services we purchase in Honduras. We also believe that containers will be passing though customs and ports much faster with less paper work and headaches. This is a good start for us and for all of the NGOs in general. Hopefully we will be having more meetings in the future and that our realm of connections will grow and become even more effective as we work in Honduras.
On another note, Tim and I will be traveling to Costa Rica soon, as early as March, to begin meetings with the government there. Last year's trip to Buenos Aires opened up doors of opportunity that are rarely given to Americans working there. If all goes as planned, we will be one of the first groups that will be allowed to bring in a medical brigade to work in Honduras from the States. Tim and I, along with Minor Perez and Daniel Chaves, will be meeting with local government leaders and possibly national leaders as well, to begin developing the protocols that will be needed for medical personnel to come and work in Costa Rica. I guess I will be going out and buying more dress clothes, since my typical shorts and t-shirt garb will not be exactly up to speed meeting with government officals! Oh if my high school teachers could see me now....
As we approach my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, I hope and pray that you will spend time in the next few days reflecting on all of the good things that God has done for you in your life. God continues to give us what we need, many times in abundance, and provides for us in ways we seldom even realize. We should be eternally grateful and thankful for the blessing we have, both physically and spiritually. We truly have been blessed and I consider all of you some of my greatest blessings of all. And the blessing of being able to work together in a great ministry like TORCH has blessed the lives of countless thousands with more to come. Do not allow the Christmas blitz to overlook a time we should pause and give thanks.
Tuesday, November 1
Although the early bird reservations are not set in stone and the numbers will change, here is where we are at as of November 1st:
Costa Rica trip - May 26 - June 4: 60 spots reserved with 5 spots still remaining.
Honduras #1: June 28 - July 7: 74 spots reserved with 11 spots still remaining.
Honduras #2: July 7 - July 16: 65 spots reserved with 20 spots still remaining.
I am now recruiting Spanish translators and medical personnel for all 3 teams. Once these are in place the teams will be set and ready to go. I am still taking applications for interns for this summer. This is the last week to get applications, essay, and 3 letters of recommendation in for consideration. Intern selections will be made on November 18th.
The cost for any of the 3 trips this year will be $800.00 per person plus the cost of the airline ticket. All paperwork and $200.00 deposit are due on March 20th. However, anyone who turns in all paperwork and deposit by January 20th will have $50 waived from their final payment. Final payment is due June 1st for the Honduras teams, May 1st for the Costa rica team. By paying early we can make early payments of reservations which will allow us to get better deals. As always, flight information will be given out soon so that you can begin shopping for the best deal.
It is not too early to begin collecting supplies for the trip. Hygiene items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, bar soap, shampoo, etc. will be needed and there is no way we can collect to much. Toys, stuffed animals, crayons, and infant clothing and shoes are needed as well. Additional items will be posted later as we begin collecting specifics for each trip. I already have a 10'x10' storage unit full of supplies that have come in so far! Remember our motto when collecting supplies, "No Junk For Jesus!" Make sure used items are clean and in good condition. You can find amazing deals at yard sales and thrift stores.
Let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything I can do to help. Remember to keep Tim and I in your prayers this week as we head to Atlanta. Hopefully many good things will come from our meetings and the conference. I will be writing again soon to let you know how it goes!
Friday, October 28
This particular call was intriguing and exciting. We have been invited to go to Georgia next week to go to Atlanta for a conference being held by the Consulate General of Honduras to the United States for non-profits and relief organizations that work in Honduras. Those who know Tim know that this is not necessarily all that unusual for him. He does this kind of stuff a lot. Within Torch / IRC, he pretty much is our point person for this kind of stuff and specializes in meetings with governmental people. I don't even want to try to list the people Tim has met with and worked with over the years in Honduras... from the president of Honduras to congressmen to military leaders. I, on the other hand, do not do this very often.
Over 8 dozen groups will be represented next week at the "March Toward Independence Of The Honduran People" conference. The focus is the conference is to give the Consulate an overview of what each group is doing in Honduras and where they are working and to list the specifics of what each group's focus is on while working in Honduras. It will also be an opportunity to find out what ways the Honduran government might be able to help the groups in a specific way. During the sessions we will have opportunities to have small group talks to find out ideas and methods being used by other groups that might help help us. Key note speakers will present to the group and address things non-profits and relief groups need to know.
The most exciting part of the conference will take place on Thursday morning when Tim and I will get to have a 1 on 1 meeting with he Consulate. The government is very familiar with Torch/IRC and asked us to arrive early for the conference to talk. I am not sure what will come from the meeting, but hopefully we might be able to make some suggestions and offer some insight and opinions on things that would make our ministries more effective.
Needless to say I am pretty excited about all of this... hopefully I will learn a little bit more about diplomacy and "rubbing elbows" with people of authority, and I will get to spend a couple of days with Tim. Don't worry, we will not get ourselves into trouble... on purpose!
On another note, November 1st is coming up SOON and that means my Torch Missions applications and paperwork is about to go out. The applications, Spanish release forms, packing lists, etc., have all been updated and ready to go. Its time to turn the key and start the engine (imagine starting up a big block Chevy with duel exhaust) and to get ready to rumble. The 2012 mission trips are about to officially begin! Soldiers of Christ Arise!
Thursday, October 20
A newspaper reporter picked up on the story and requested an interview. During his time with the farmer he learned something very interesting about how he went about growing his corn. He discovered that every year he distributed his corn seed to his surrounding neighbors.
Puzzled, the reporter asked, "How can you afford to share your best seed with your neighbors if they are entering the same competition as yours each year?" The blue ribbon farmer did not hesitate to give his answer, "Don't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors are growing inferior corn then cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I want to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."
The question is asked over and over to me and others that do foreign mission work. "Why go to Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, etc., when people in our own backyard need help?" I like to use this story to convey my point. The United States is, and has always been, the "melting pot" of the world. People come here from all over the world, especially Latin American countries. If we want our country to be a strong Christian nation, a nation that not only believes in God but believes in the truth of the Bible and what it teaches, we must indeed cultivate and work the fields locally like the Nebraska farmer in the story. You know he tends his fields with utmost care. But, we must also reach the nations of the world, teach them the gospel, teach them the truth, give the the best of what we have so that their influences, once they arrive, will help, and not hurt, our communities. By reaching out to the world we in return help ourselves as well.
"Go unto all of the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. " Mark 16:15-16; "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:16-20. When you read these 2 passages of scripture, known as the Great Commission, it has a different ring to it, when you look at it through the eyes of a Nebraska corn grower.
We need workers. The fields are white unto harvest (and around here with the cotton ready to be picked this is a great analogy). Jesus wants workers in the local congregations. He wants workers in the neighborhoods, in the countryside, in the cities, and in the States. And Christ wants workers in the foreign mission fields. "Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field." Matthew 9:37-38. It is not a request... it is a command.
The choice is not IF you will work, it is WHERE you will work.
Wednesday, October 12
As we approach the midway point of October, plans for the mission trips are starting to be formed. My schedule has been quite a bit busier than normal this fall with work and grad classes (not to mention the new attitude I have towards taking classes... skipping is not even remotely considered an option and I spend 8-12 hours a week in the library STUDYING!!!) so dedicating time to write blogs and work on details for the mission trips is getting less time than before. Hopefully next week after I take mid-term exams I will have a little bit more time on my hands... (wishful thinking) Several have been emailing asking specific questions about the trip and I can tell that everyone is getting ready to gear up as well! Its time to get going.
Since the trip dates were set and emails went out to team leaders, just about everyone has picked their dates and have reserved their spots. I am very pleased with the way things are working out so far. All 3 teams are filling up and the numbers are fairly balanced! As of now the Costa Rica team has 50 spots reserved, leaving about 10 spaces (last year we took 42 on the trip so we have already met last year's numbers). Honduras trip #1 (June 28-July 7) has 80 spots reserved and is just about full. Honduras trip #2 (July 7-16) has 55 spots reserved and has about 20-25 spots left. We already have spaces reserved that exceeds last year's trip total so it looks like the plan is working... 2 smaller teams that allows for more people overall to go on a trip. Medical personnel and translators are two areas that I am recruiting for right now.
More than a dozen have applied for the internship so far. I have also had several more that have asked for information. I am very excited about the number of people that are interested in working as an intern and am sure I will have a great team again this summer. The interns will be selected by Thanksgiving break so that they will be able to begin their fundraising for their trip. Once the intern team is selected we will begin working on specific projects for this summer that will be used during the mission trips.
I have already received a great deal of donations to be sent down to Honduras this summer. I am not sure if we are going to try to piggy back with another Torch team on a container or if we are going to ship a full container for our teams, we will have to wait to see how much comes in first. We will have to make a final decision by the first of March to make sure our supplies have plenty of time to get to Tegucigalpa. Things we can begin focusing on for the trip will include: 1). Hygiene supplies - toothbrushes; toothpaste; combs and hairbrushes; bar soap; shampoo; razors; etc. 2). medical supplies - Bandaides; Pepto; Advil; Tylenol; cough syrup; children's chewable vitamins; adult vitamins; antibiotic cream; etc. 3). Clothing: infant clothing (boys and girls); children's clothing (boys and girls); shoes (all kinds - men, women, children, infants); new socks, belts; etc. 4). School supplies - crayons; markers; construction paper; scissors; rulers; pencils; pens; notebook paper; glue; etc.
Start watching airline prices. You never know when a good deal is going to come along. With fuel prices going up and down so much it is hard to tell when the prices will be low. Remember, you can fly on any carrier you want as long as you arrive and depart on the right date. Contact me if you have specific questions about flights, arrival points, times, etc. Make sure to check details about luggage charges... everyone is different. Make sure you know what the carrier's policy is before you buy... (unlike the commercials, you cannot throw a penalty flag at the counter worker!).
More information coming soon. Even though it is still early, excitement is growing and the clock is ticking. It won't be long until we will be well underway for the 2012 mission trips. Take care and keep in touch, I love hearing from you!
Thursday, September 8
This past weekend, Labor Day weekend, was the annual SonQuest Youth Rally in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, I missed for the 3rd consecutive year. It is a great rally, normally averaging around 2,000+ from all over the state of Florida and other states as well, and this year was no different. Thanks to the brave efforts of Brandy Barnett Torch was able to once again have a booth at SonQuest. Last year Nathan ran the booth and this year Brandy was in charge. She was able to set up the Torch booth next to Mark and Lori Connell and the Mi Esperanza booth! According to Brandy the youth rally was awesome and several people came by the booth to talk and get information. Of course no trip is complete without flat tires, traffic jams, and detours. Brandy experienced all of that and more. Who else could take a 12 hour drive and turn it into 18? OK, several of us could, but Brandy actually did it. She even managed to run over a skunk. Oh yeah, she enjoyed that little event for a while! I am very thankful that she was able and willing to drive down from Corinth, Mississippi to run the booth. She was thankful for getting to go to Orlando and seeing the Bell Shoals group! I guess it worked out well for all of us.
This coming week is Missions Emphasis Week at Freed-Hardeman University. Torch will have a booth for this event which I feel quite confident will create a lot of interest for the 2012 trips. F-HU is a recruiting ground dream come true for me. Nearly 2,000 students on campus and a lot of them are starting to look for mission trips to go on this year. Of course several are offered here so I will be one of many to choose from. During school breaks, especially spring break, dozens of trips are offered to the students from social clubs to organizations like Torch. This is the first time Torch will have a booth and I am really excited. For those of you that are thinking about going on one of the trips this year, you might want to get with me very, very soon. Next week could generate a lot of names for the summer trips and the teams might fill up even faster than I projected. Drop me an email if you want to reserve spaces! Once I get in recruiting mode, it is hard to turn off the switch!
Plans are being made to have a Torch booth at Winterfest this year too. We did not have one last year (first time in a long time not having one) and I hope we can put a booth in once again. Many times our booth generates not only contacts and creates interest, the booth also provides us with a way to keep our name out in front of the people who attend the event. Our booths become a place for former Torch members to come by and visit and catch up with us and what we are doing. It gives us a chance to visit with other mission organizations to see what they are doing and "compare notes." Let me know if there are other places that you might know of where we might be able to display a booth and talk about our mission program. Maybe some of the other Christan colleges and universities have events similar to Freed-Hardeman's Mission Emphasis Week, or maybe there are other youth rallies or lectureships we can attend.
I am actively recruiting medical personnel for the Costa Rica and Honduras trips. Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, Nurse practitioners, physical assistants, athletic trainers, and even people who are EMTs and first responders, are needed this year. I am also looking for interpreters. Last year we were very limited at times on what we could do because we didn't have enough translators. Please help me in searching for any of these people who you think would be able to go on one of the trips and would be willing to help.
Information about the 2012 internship will be ready next week. If you, or anyone you know, might be interested in the internship and spending 3 1/3 weeks in Honduras, contact me via email. I know I will have a lot of interest here at F-HU and I want to make sure others have the chance to apply. I haven't decided how many interns will be selected this year, but all of that will be decided by next week. I will decide and announce the interns by the end of October.
Adios for now, take care and God bless. May the Lord keep you in the hollow of His hand!
Friday, August 26
Over the past week and a half, I have received dozens of emails and even a couple of phone calls to discuss next year's trips and to "reserve" places on the teams. I have met and talked with new youth groups, Christian schools, and congregations that are seeking information to get involved with Torch Missions next year. I am also well aware of the fact that it is still mid-August, and for many next summer's plans are not even on the horizon yet. The posting of the dates has started in motion plans that used to start after Thanksgiving or even Christmas break. I know it is hard for many to know what they can and will be doing next summer and may not be able to commit to any of the trips yet. However, I really am going to stand firm on capping the trips to bring the size of each team into a more realistic number that will make staging the trips easier for all involved. This does indeed put pressure on those who have gone on previous trips to commit earlier than usual to get your spot reserved.
The wear and tear of running mega teams is tough on me and those who have been faithfully helping with the trips over the years. Someone recently pointed out to me that I am not as young as I used to be! Can you believe that? In reality they said what I have been feeling the past couple of years... that statement is correct. In reality I have actually increased the number of days I am spending on mission trips over the past 5 years. Last year I was gone 34 days; this coming year I will be gone 41 days on 4 different trips. My current job at Freed-Hardeman has given me the freedom to do more trips and I am taking full advantage of it. However, being better organized and scheduling my time must be done well to compensate for the "getting older" thing. In other words, I am trying to replace the "shooting from the hips" and running with reckless abandon with organization, delegation, and planning. It is a tough transition (Some might even call it a maturing process... but I am not sure I would go that far!) but one that has to be made and one that will be for the better.
Why am I saying all of this? Well, it is pretty simple, really. I need those of you that are thinking about going on next year's trip to start planning, organizing, communicating, and moving towards getting signed up for a trip. I am excited to know that new faces and groups are going to be on this coming summer's trips, but I want the veterans and long time faithfuls to get signed up before the trips fill up. I am actively recruiting evangelists, translators, medical personnel, and other skilled workers for the trips. I predict that the 2012 trips will be full way before the end of the year. Once they are full waiting lists will begin like I did last summer. Last summer we had over 20 people that wanted to go on one of the trips but did not get to go because a spot did not open up for them. This year might be the same.
The Costa Rica trip has been expanded from 45 to 60 this year. The hotel we stayed at in Buenos Aires has a larger capacity that we thought so it gives us room to add more people. We currently have 20 spots already reserved, leaving 40 spaces. Although the 2 Honduras teams will be capped at 85 this summer, it gives me the ability to add 50 additional people (from 120 to 170 total). The 1st Honduras trip already has 40 spots reserved, leaving 45 spaces. The 2nd Honduras trip has 20 spaces reserved, leaving 65 spots. As you can see, in less than 10 days 80 spots have been reserved for 2012. I hope you are one of them or will be 1 of the 150 spots that are remaining.
I will be taking applications for interns for the Honduras trips this summer. Interns and extended trip team members will be in Honduras for approximately 24 days this summer. It will include arriving early (AKA the Advance Team) and will stay 2-3 days after the 2nd team leaves. The internship will be open for upper class high school students (11th and 12th graders), college students, young professionals and adults who can take off for the duration of the trip. More information about this in the next blog!
I am very excited about the opportunities that await for next year. I am excited about the theme and the different Bible lessons and VBS classes that can be planned around it. I even have the t-shirt design almost ready! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, ideas, suggestions, comments, etc., I would love to hear from you. Take care and get those day planners out and make your plans for 2012, we want you on the team!
Wednesday, August 17
The Theme for this year's trips will be ARISE! It comes from Ephesians 6 where Paul writes and urges Christians to arise and take up their battle armor. The devil has launched his assault upon the world and we are called into battle wearing the full armor of God: the belt of truth buckled around our waist; the breastplate of righteousness in place; our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. In this battle you are either a soldier or a prisoner... for there is no middle ground or spectator stands in which to sit and watch. God has called us into battle and He has given us the things we need to be victorious!
The TENTATIVE dates and information for next year's trips look like this:
COSTA RICA: Plans are in the works for a return trip to Costa Rica and the town of Buenos Aires to work with Daniel Chaves again. Although Daniel and I have not been able to talk much in the past few weeks I believe we will go back to continue the work we started this summer. The trip will include a major evangelistic thrust into the community along with service projects and a medical brigade. THE TENTATIVE DATES FOR THE COSTA RICA TRIP WILL BE SATURDAY, MAY 26th - MONDAY, JUNE 4th. The 10 day trip will be $800.00 per person plus airfare. The $800 covers most meals, ground transportation, airport fees and taxes, travel insurance, Torch t-shirt, exit fee, lodging, retreat, Torch journal, and misc. expenses.
HONDURAS: Plans for Honduras will be similar to previous trips but the format will be different than what we have done the past few years. My team has reached its max level for the past 4 years (120+) and the need to create room for growth is needed. In order to do that I am going to post the dates of 2 trips (teams) with a maximum cap of 80-85 per trip (team). This will allow us to have two (somewhat) smaller teams which will be easier to manage and organize and also give us the ability to grow and expand. I will be recruiting interns and extended team personnel that will be involved with both teams.
THE TENTATIVE DATES FOR TRIP #1 IS THURSDAY, JUNE 28th - SATURDAY, JULY 7th
THE TENTATIVE DATES FOR TRIP #2 IS SATURDAY, JULY 7th - MONDAY, JULY 16th. Both 10 day trips will be $775.00 per person plus airfare. This will pay for lodging, transportation, Torch t-shirt, travel insurance, airport taxes and fees, most meals, Torch journal, admin fees, supplies, and exit fees.
A lot more information will be posted later concerning the trips. Dates are subject to change slightly in order to possibly adjust to other Torch team dates and schedules. Prices are also subject to change to adjust for price adjustments for expenses like fuel, cost of food, exit fees, etc. As always, we will strive to keep the trip cost as low as possible and to provide a top notch mission experience that will provide the most effective and meaningful projects and mission experiences!
I look forward to hearing from you soon! The trips will fill up and they will probably fill up very quickly. My email address is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Take care and God bless!
Friday, July 15
Saturday, July 9
Friday, July 8
As we pulled up to the school, the kids once again were greeting us as we got off the bus with hugs! We started the VBS with our usual songs and went right into the lesson for the day. The skit was based on Paul when he went in front of King Agrippa. After the skit, we broke off into our groups. In our groups, we made crowns with a Bible verse glued on it. We played a trivia game with them, ate snacks, and sang more songs with them. When it was time to leave, it was a little bit sad because it was our last day with the kids. We formed a close bond with these kids since we have been spending the last few days together. The principal thanked us for coming and spending time with the students.
After VBS, we went back to the hotel for lunch. We had a little break until 2:30. Then we went to visit the orphanage here. The children here are anywhere from infants to 5 years old. We split up into two groups. Some of us played with the toddlers and up, and some held the little precious babies. They were a little shy at first, but it did not take the kids long to warm up to us. We fed them their snack, and then took them outside to play on the playground. We pushed them in little cars, pushed them down the slides, helped them swing, and even just held them. After awhile, we brought the kids back inside to play some more. All of the children here were very well behaved. We were told some of the stories on how the children got there. The stories were heartbreaking. We need to keep the children there in our daily prayers. We were only there for two hours, but we all got attached in that short time.
We met for dinner at 5:30. The Waldrons took us to this wonderful local pizza place called Weekend Pizza. The pizza was so delicious! After we went with them to the graduation for the students who have been studying English at their school. They had a total of 35 students. We celebrated with them and enjoyed yummy cake. After the ceremony was over, we headed back to the hotel. We had devo with Andrew leading us in singing and Terry sharing a short message with us. We have an early start for in the morning. Please pray for our safe travels for tomorrow! God bless!
Thursday, July 7
Wednesday, July 6
After the VBS, we went back to the hotel for lunch. Terry treated us with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, and apples. Harrison promised us to take us on a BIG tour of the city of Santa Rosa Copan. He met us at the hotel at 1:00 p.m. He showed us the town, the Catholic church that is 500 years old, and then took us to the market here. The town is very small so the tour did not last very long. After the tour was over, we went to an ice cream shop and a coffee shop (of course to satisfy Katia and Tricky Pat). The rest of the afternoon was all up to us what we wanted to do. Some napped. Some took advantage of the pool. A few of us went to the park that is right down the road to go for a walk/run. The track circles a soccer field and there was a match going on at the time so it was entertaining.
We met for dinner at 7:00 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Waldron had dinner with us. The hotel served us steak, mixed vegetables, this breaded potato filled with cheese in the middle, and corn tortillas. We also had a cantaloupe juice drink with it. The meal was delicious!
We had a short devo tonight. Tyler Steffy led us singing and Terry gave us a short devotional. We had to meet after to go over plans for VBS tomorrow. I think we all probably will be calling it a night soon so our batteries will be charged for tomorrow.
We have 5 more days until our 33 days come to an end! We love you guys!
We had a late breakfast yesterday morning at the mission house. We left out around noon. We thought we would make it to our destination by 5 at the lastest... however we found out as we were leaving that it was more like an 8 hour drive. It was pouring down rain for most of the way there. The roads were covered with water so we had to drive a little slower. We made a few quick bathroom stops on the way, but other than that it was a straight drive there. The scenery was BEAUTIFUL! The mountains were gorgeous! We all got lots of good pics! We finally got to Santa Rosa Copan around 9 p.m. We met Donna and her family and they took us to our hotel. We dragged our luggage through the rain and dropped it off in the lobby. Dinner was waiting on us so we went straight to eat. We were starving!! We had not eaten anything but snacks since breakfast! They had prepared for us grilled chicken with cheese on top, tomatoes with mozerrella cheese, rice, and corn tortillas! We also had some kind of fruit drink that was very delicious! After dinner, Phillip and Donna Waldron introduced their family to us. She told us a little about Mission Upreach. The main goal of Mission Upreach is to establish a church in each village. Their first priority is spreading God´s word, and then their second priority is meeting the physical needs of the people. After that we all called it a night.
Monday, July 4
Saturday, July 2
Thursday, June 30
Good day to you all!! I can’t believe this trip is almost complete. Tomorrow a small group is heading back to the states, sad times!!! The rest of our group will be leaving Monday the 4th of July. Of course Terry’s interns will remain in Honduras for about another week working in a different location. All I can say is WOW!! God is good and I am so grateful for my brothers and sisters I have been able to build a closer relationship with!!
Ok today…Today started with breakfast at 7am. For breakfast we had fried eggs, toast, beans, and a mysterious enchilada thing (fyi it was good, just didn’t look so great). After breakfast we had a devo. Brian Steffy led us in our thoughts!! He discussed with us the meaning of TORCH. He said that his goal as a TORCH board member was to break us all so God can rebuild us!! It was a moving lesson!! I have come to Honduras several times and have been broken down many times. God has been such an amazing part of my life and I really do owe most of it to this experience. I would not be who I am today without it!!!
After devo the construction crew left out. We had two teams today that went to build homes. The construction teams have been amazing this trip. They have been working through rain, and lots of mud!! They are fabulous!!
Another team left out to participate in the daughters of the king. The first group came in and washed the little girls hair, feet, and hands. They also fixed their hair did their nails and gave them a dress!! At lunch this crew delivered about 250 bags of food to the same village. Another crew came in after lunch to do another group of young girl’s hair and nails. Before they got their they had visited the hospital to spend time with the sick and injured!!
The last group was the VBS crew. The team left for Didasko at 11am. Once they arrived they played with the kiddos until some of the others showed up. The team did lesson two. The VBS crew did an awesome job. After the skit the children played games, did a craft, had snack, and watched a puppet show. After VBS we loaded the bus and headed back to the mission house for dinner and devo.
For dinner we had TACOS!!!!!!!!!!! It was so good!!! After dinner we met for devo. Tonight Tim discussed with us God reigning in our lives completely no matter what trials we face or obstacles we have to endure, GOD REIGNS!!!! After devo we discussed the schedule for the next day. Then we all spent some time together!! The love here is fantastic!!!!!!
Thanks so so much for your prayers!! I love you all and am so grateful for the support!!!
Love you all
They went to Zambarrano to assist Nathan Hale with a gardening project he is working on. There was several acres of land that was on a mountain in a rural area. Nathan has learned about an approach to organic farming. He believes is this approach is suitable for Honduras that will increase yields exponentially when compared to conventional farming. One particular plant, called the morinca (no sure what this is) is considered a “super food” due to its high nutritional content. The juice is used to pray on plants to increase their yield and the seeds of the plant are used to kill microorganisms in the water for drinking. Finally, Nathan has a worm farm. Without going into how the process works (though it is very interesting) worms are used to convert waste into compost for his garden.