Our Mission Statement

Saturday, December 31

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As we say farewell to 2011 and welcome to 2012, may your hopes, dreams, inspirations, and goals be realized as God directs you and guides you along your life's journey. Happy new year to all of you that are part of the TORCH MISSIONS family!

Saturday, December 24

Feliz Navidad

Whether you are sitting on a white sandy beach sipping fresh squeezed orange juice, drinking hot chocolate while admiring the fresh winter snow, or sitting at home with compression bandages after recent surgery, may the true meaning of Christmas be upon you and your loved ones. Over 2,000 years ago Jesus came and changed the world. He is still doing it today. He will be doing it tomorrow. May the joy that comes with the season fill your hearts and warms your souls. The greatest gift of all was given with the greatest love ever shown. Rejoice!

Tuesday, December 6

2012 Torch interns selected

During my years as a youth minister I was fortunate to have many different interns serve during the summer months to learn the ropes of youth ministry and missions. It was always exciting to work with them and to help train and show them the "behind the scenes" stuff that took place, especially when planning calendars, events, and trips. They would certainly understand the analogy of the duck swimming on a pond. When you see a duck swimming on a pond, the duck appears to glide accross the water effortlessly. What you don't see is the duck's webbed feet under the water working continuously to keep the duck stable and moving the duck in the right direction. When people go on a mission trip, a youth trip, etc., they typically see a well run trip and enjoy it accordingly. However, most do not see all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the trip runs smoothly. The interns that have worked with me have seen what takes place "under the water" that makes what takes place "above the water" run smoothly (or at least as smoothly as it can!). Most of my interns were amazed and unaware of all of the work that went in to make a trip work before the internship and appreciate the trips even more since they were shown the ropes.

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.

TR

Wednesday, November 30

Who wins?

Every Tuesday night we have a devo in the dorm. Sometimes we bring guest speakers or have a faculty member speak, and sometimes one of the guys in the dorm takes a turn. Unlike some of the other dorms, we do not have a theme this year so the lessons cover a wide spectrum of topics. Some are 3 point sermonettes (as any good preacher would deliver), some are long, some are short. Some guys are polished speakers and others are a bit timid. For some, it might even be the first time they have ever given a lesson in front of a crowd. All are good, but every now and then one is given that really catches my attention. This week's devo was one of them.

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.

TR

Wednesday, November 9

The meeting of the minds

This past week Tim Hines and I attended the "Marching Toward Independence Of The Honduran People" conference in Atlanta. Hosted by the Consulate General of Honduras, the 2 day conference was attended by dozens of NGOs (Non-government Organizations) that work in Honduras. Tim represented IRC and I reperesented TORCH Missions. Nearly all of the groups there were faith based groups that work all over Honduras. It was really impressive to meet the representatives of the groups and hear what they are doing. Some were small church groups that work only a couple of weeks per year in Honduras while others were large organizations that work year round. Many were medical groups operating clinics and health care centers while others specialized in argriculture and well digging and water purification systems.

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.

TR

Tuesday, November 1

Go!

November 1st! Today is the "official" launch date for the 2012 mission trips. Even though a LOT of people have been working on their trips for a while (recruiting, reserving spaces, promoting, and all of that good stuff), today is the day the applications, Spanish release forms, rules sheets, and packing list is ready to go. I have emailed the forms out to dozens of people this morning to get the ball rolling. If you did not get an email from me this morning please contact me so that I can get the information to you ASAP.

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!

TR

Friday, October 28

A little get together in Atlanta

This past week I got a phone call from Tim Hines. When Tim calls I never know what we are going to talk about... it could be just about anything. Lots of times it is a recounting of his most recent fishing story and the size and or numbers of fish that met their match that day to the Fishslayer (don't laugh... Tim has photos to back up his stories... hundreds of photos). Other times it is just to chat or talk Honduras or even some football (he is a LSU fan, I am an Alabama fan... go figure....what could we possibly have to say to each other?). Conversations can last 10 minutes or 2 hours... depending on the battery charge on the cell phone.

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!

TR

Thursday, October 20

The parable of the seed

There was a farmer who lived in Nebraska and grew award winning corn. Year after year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won multiple blue ribbons for the best of the best.

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.

TR

Wednesday, October 12

Filling up

As we settle into fall, the leaves are already bursting into vibrant colors and the temperatures are starting to cool down. In west Tennessee it is a welcome relief from the blazing hot temperatures we have had for the past couple of months. I love watching the seasons change and all the things that come with it. Take time to watch God paint the landscapes, He is quite good at it! While you are at it, take in the sunsets too (I have been told sun rises are stunning as well, but not all of us are early risers).

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!

TR







Thursday, September 8

Much to our display

This week something amazing happened. It was actually weird. We actually had a cloudy day when all of a sudden water droplets began falling from the sky! It has been so long since any of us had seen anything like this we had to call the old timers in to find out what this was called. They said it was rain. We kinda liked it! As a matter of fact this event caused the temperature to go down too! Some of us were talking and decided we wouldn't mind if something like this would happen again. It is odd to say the least, the northeast got so much rain that the rivers and streams are flooding and the gulf coast area from the Florida panhandle to the very eastern edge of Texas got lots and lots of rain. Here, and out west in places like Texas and Colorado, we have gone weeks without rain. It would be sure nice if we could spread all of this rain around so that everyone could benefit from it.

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!

TR

Friday, August 26

What a rush

It has been less than 10 days since I posted the trip information for next summer's trips. The initial response has been amazing, if not overwhelming. Even though it is still only mid-August, many people are already setting up their schedules and requesting vacation time for next summer so that they will be able to participate on one of the trips. I constantly am amazed how God is using Torch Missions, an organization that began with 20 people back in 1988, today, and how many people it touches, both here and abroad. God truly does move in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

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!

TR
reeves.tl@gmail.com
treeves@fhu.edu

Wednesday, August 17

HERE WE GO!!!

Hello again! After taking a month off from the site and settling back into my job and daily routines, it is time to begin work for the 2012 mission trips to Central America. Even though it is only August and school is just beginning around the country, I have been receiving several emails and phone calls asking for information about next year's trips. I have already had my first meeting with a new congregation from the Memphis area that is on board for next summer! So, after having a couple of weeks to catch my breath and catch up on my sleep, here we go!

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
reeves.tl@gmail.com or treeves@fhu.edu Take care and God bless!

TR

Friday, July 15

The totals are in

Is it just me or has anyone else missed the nice, cool weather of Central America? My goodness it is hot here! I have been home for 5 days and west Tennessee is proving to be the equal to anything Honduras, Nicaragua, or Costa Rica had to offer in the way of heat and humidity. Despite the heat it is nice to be home enjoying real hot water showers and sleeping in my own bed. And flushing toilet paper! Oh, it is the little things in life that bring such joy at times. And for the record, I haven't had any beans or rice either. It will probably be a while before I go that route again.


I have heard from many of you, and I am very much like you when I say I miss being in Latin America. I miss the people, the kids, and even the crazy bus rides up and down the mountains. I miss the devotionals and singing; the awesome moments and the laughter. I miss hanging out with some of the best friends that I have and spending time together. I really miss the fruit juices and the fresh pineapple! I don't miss the daily rain and mud or the muscle cramps, but I wouldn't trade any of it in. It was an awesome summer and a great trip. And in about 5 weeks I will begin planning next year's trips!

I have spent the last 4 days trying to account for the things that were done on the trips this summer. I have probably left something out, but this is what I have come up with for each of the 4 trips this summer. If anyone can think of anything else please feel free to contact me so I can add it to the list!

Costa Rica - June 9-19: Over the course of 6 days we covered the entire town of Buenos Aires knocking doors; painted the church building (house) inside and out; painted a house for one of the members of the church inside and out; delivered about 1 month's supply of food to a wheelchair bound man who is a member of the church and helped pay for several months of his rent; conducted a 5 night gospel meeting; did 3 VBS programs for 3 different schools for about 600 children; had 4 baptisms and 12 responses at the meeting; did 2 VBS skits while door knocking for about 100 kids; conducted a 3 day morning seminar, a church growth class for the men and a personality study for the women; taught 5 nights of children's Bible classes during the meeting; worked 1 day at one of the Indian Reservations painting and working at the community center; conducted 3 days of family and marriage counseling; met with the city council to introduce TORCH to them; met with the city mayor to discuss various work opportunities and future projects we can have with him and the surrounding areas; visited the Arenal Volcano and the Baldi Hot Springs Resort; taught Bible classes and conducted worship services at the local church; purchased 85 Bibles for the local church; rented the tent, chairs, lights, and sound system for the meeting; paid for 1 month of radio and TV time for Daniel Chaves to preach and to promote the meeting; paid for the food for the week for the Torch team and all of the guests who came to work with us; rented the house near the church building to use for cooking and housing the out of town workers; took up a special construction for the Chaves family for upcoming medical expenses; had 18 devotionals

Masaya, Nicaragua - June 19-22: 21 members of the team traveled to Masaya, Nicaragua, by bus (9 hours); participated in the worship service of the local church in Masaya; painted the inside of the church building; conducted a 2 day VBS at a local park for about 260 children; went to the Masaya Volcano; had 5 devotionals


Tegucigalpa, Honduras - June 22-July 4: 21 members traveled to Honduras by bus (8 hours) and arrived to meet up with 3 additional team members to organize the supplies, purchase Bibles, and organize things prior to the arrival of the main team on June 24th; built 12 new houses; repaired and finished 2 other houses; prepared our pharmacy by breaking down meds, counting pills, and labeling all med bottles; sorted and put together 812 hygiene packets; shopped at the fresh foods market downtown; broke down 3 deliveries of food into family sized portions and assembled 1,000 bags of food; distributed the food bags (over 100,000 meals) to various areas of the city; 5 visits to Hospital Esquela; painted the entire playground of Didasko Orphanage; painted the new bathrooms at Didasko; saw 300+ patients during a 2 day medical clinic at Didasko and Tamara; saw 45 patients from the staff at the Mission House during a medical clinic in the cafeteria; distributed 800+ hygiene packets; donated meds to Clinica de Esperanza in Santa Ana; fed lunch to 300 people at the city dump; attended 4 different congregations in Tegucigalpa; painted Jen and Josue Salgado's house; had over 150 girls attend the Daughters of the King at Mololoa; removed mud from behind the church building and dug the hole for the new septic system at Mololoa; planted a vegetable garden in Mololoa; provided seed for the garden at Didasko; did 2 Gatorade blitzes; gave 10 house warming boxes for the 10 sponsorship houses we built; gave away boxes and boxes of shoes, clothes, toys, and stuffed animals; conducted a 3 day VBS at Didasko for about 85 kids per day; performed 3 puppet shows; donated 2 sets of puppets with staging to Didasko Orphanage and the Femosa Daycare Center in Mololoa; stained and clear coated the playground at Femosa; painted one of the retaining walls at the daycare in Mololoa; donated money to begin the tile work at the Femosa daycare center; visited the blind school; visited and worked at the special needs orphanage (Bencoleth); worked 4 days at the Femosa day care center; worked 4 days in the kitchen at the feeding center in Mololoa (The Manna Project); made major structural repairs on the playground at Didasko; provided money to paint the Bible classrooms at the church building in Mololoa (from Sunday contribution); distributed over 900 Bibles; unloaded a 40' container that arrived from the U.S.; visited San Filipe Hospital; 3 days of organizational and clean-up work at the warehouse; painted the hallway of Mi Esperanza; painted the new office of Mi Esperanza; worked 1 day at Nathan Hale's garden project in Zanbrano; visited the Peace Monument; did some serious shopping at the Mi Esperanza store; had a combined evening devo with Paul Bennett's Torch team from Mississippi at the Jesus statue; went shopping at the Valley of the Angels; worked a total of 4 days in San Lorenzo building houses on stilts in a flood plain; had a field trip for the Didakso kids and staff at KFC and a movie with refreshments at the Mission House; loaded a 48' container of medical equipment; had 17 devotionals


Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras - July 5-11: 20 traveled 9 hours by bus to Santa Rosa to work with Mission Upreach; conducted a 3 day VBS at Esquela de Los Angeles for about 100 children; gave away toys and stuffed animals; painted a HUGE (75' x 18' x 14' tall walls) classroom for a night school; visited an orphanage with 45 children; attended the graduation of a Let's Start Talking program; toured the Copan Ruins; did a walking tour of Santa Rosa de Copan; had a worship service in San Pedro Sula at our hotel; had 5 devotionals


As you can see we had a busy and very productive summer. God did amazing things and showed His power and might throughout the trip. We saw His handiwork everywhere we went. We came in contact with literally thousands of people during our trip and was blessed to be able to serve Him in many different ways. Yet, somehow, I feel we are the ones who came away blessed. It is evident that God reigns over all things and that He is in control of everything around us. May He continue to bless those we were able to minister to on the trip and may He continue to bless us as we return to our various routines at home. it was indeed an honor and a privilege to work with you this summer, may God continue to hold you in the palm of His hand. God reigns!

TR









Saturday, July 9

Sacrifice

Hey there! Today has been a lot of fun for us. We left Santa Rosa Copan around 8:30 to head to the Copan Ruins. We got there around 11. It was very hot there! We had a wonderful tour guide named Fidell even though it was a little hard to understand him sometimes. I think most of us a history buff or not enjoyed seeing the Mayan ruins. There were a lot of neat stories behind some of the things there. The tour lasted about 2 hours. After the tour was over, we breaked for lunch and did a little shopping before we left there. We left there around 2:30 to head to San Pedro Sula. It was about a 3 hour bus ride from there. We were all ready to get off that bus!

We got to San Pedro Sula around 6. We stopped first at an area with a variety of fast food options. After we ate dinner, we headed to our hotel... THE HILTON! We were all very excited to get here and to spend the night at a nice hotel! Within 30 minutes of being here, some of the guys already had security in their room... but it was just because their safe alarm kept going off! We met in one of the conference rooms around 8 for a short devo. Joe Jones led us in a few songs and Tyler Steffy gave a short devo. After devo, Terry went over the plans for tomorrow and Monday. This could possibly be the last blog for us because I might not have access to internet tomorrow. Our plans for tomorrow is to meet for worship at 11:00 a.m. After worship service, we plan to go to the mall here for lunch and to hang out for the afternoon. Some of us might catch a movie or just shop. We plan to get to the airport around 9 tomorrow night. Our flight leaves out around 1:00 a.m. We should arrive to Fort Lauderdale around 5 a.m. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel home. Also, this is important information if you are needing to meet us to pick one of us up. We plan to make one stop for everyone living near Nashville at Lipscomb University at the Ezell Center by the softball and soccer field. We hope to arrive to Nashville around 4 p.m. Then the bus will head toward Jackson making one stop in Dickson. I know we are all looking forward to seeing our family! Love you guys!

In Him,
Paige

Friday, July 8

Coca Cola and Cake

Hey! Today was our last day of work for the trip. We got up, had breakfast, and left the hotel to head to the school by 8:30! We had our usual breakfast, eggs, toast, refried beans, fried plantains, and juice. The crew that was painting yesterday went to finish the classroom.





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!

In Him,
Paige

Thursday, July 7

No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

Hey again! Today was another great day with Mission Upreach! We had breakfast again at 7:30 a.m. with eggs, beans, fried plantains, toast, and juice. We left the hotel around 8:30 to head to the school. As soon as we got there and got the bus parked, the kids attacked us! They were greeting us with hugs as we stepped off the bus. It just gave us all energy and enthusiasm for VBS!

The skit for today was based on when Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Acts 16. The kids loved the skit! After the skit, we divided the kids into groups again based on their grade. For about 45 minutes, we played games, sang songs, had snacks, and made chains based on Paul and Silas's imprisonment. We brought them together at the end to sing a few songs and tell them goodbye!

After we left the school, Donna took us to show us the local congregation here in Santa Rosa de Copan. We were all extremely impressed with their building. The average attendance is around 200 now there which is incredible! She showed us all of their classrooms. We got to see one of their basic English classes in action. She then took us to show us the Western Regional Center of Evangelism. There they have training for men to learn the Bible in depth so that they can spread the word in their local neighborhood. They have only 4 students at the time. They study every morning until lunch, and after lunch, they go to hospitals to pray with the families and other places throughout the area. At the school, the men live there throughout the week, and their meals are provided. One of their students is as young as 14 years old.

We then went to where a few of the group volunteered to paint a classroom. They had a huge task! The classroom is not the usual size classroom. Like Terry said, "It was more like an auditorium." They got the first coat of paint on today, but they will be going back tomorrow to finish the job.

We came back to the hotel for lunch. We all got some rest this afternoon since we had another free afternoon. We had a few go out for coffee and to walk around. We met for dinner at 6:30 p.m. The hotel served us another fine dinner! We had salad, grilled chicken with cheese on top, potatoes, corn tortillas, and some yummy strawberry juice! After we finished eating, the Waldrons gave us more information on Mission Upreach.

We finished the night with our nightly devo. Andrew Allgood led us in a few songs, and Tyler Steffy gave us a short lesson on how the trip has impacted us. His quote for the day was, "No reserves, no retreats, no regrets."

Today has been another great day! We have one more day of VBS, and our work here in Central America will be finished! We love you guys!

In Him,
Paige

Wednesday, July 6

We really get the afternoon off?

Hey guys! Today was our first day to work with Mission Upreach. We met for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The hotel served us eggs, toast, beans, fried plantains, and juice. After breakfast, we loaded the bus around 8:30 to go to a school that Mission Upreach works with. The school was a smaller school than what we have been working with. When we got there, the kids were all waiting for us! Donna Waldron´s son, Harrison, started the VBS with a song to get the kids all energized! Then Katia took over. She started with her usual VBS songs. Some of them are "I'm in the Lord´s Army" and "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock", but of course they are in Spanish. Then Ashley Stewart told the Bible story of Paul´s conversion on the way to Damascus, and then right after we put on our skit of the story! Of course the kids loved Minor´s incredible job of acting out Pablo (Paul). After the skit was over, we broke the kids off into different groups of trivia games, snacks, and a coloring activity. I worked with the coloring activity, and the kids just loved showing us their artwork. They loved it when we took a picture of them with their artwork! When I would take a picture of them and then show them the picture, they would just crack up at the picture! They loved it! With the trivia games, we gave out prizes for the ones who could answer the questions. After the sessions were over, we brought all the kids back together and sang a few more songs with them. When we said that it was time to go, the kids just attacked us all with hugs. I think the kids really enjoyed us being there.

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!

In Him,
Paige

Only 4 hours away...

Hey guys! We have made it safely to Santa Rosa Copan! Sorry about the delay with the post. We arrived around 9 p.m. yesterday and it was raining and storming pretty bad. The internet here wasn´t working last night so I wasn´t able to get on to post anything.

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

Happy 4th of July!

Hey there!
So today was the day to say our goodbyes to the rest of the team. We had breakfast together and then loaded the truck of everyone's luggage to head to the airport. We pulled out around 9:00 a.m. On the way to the airport, we sang patriotic songs to celebrate the 4th of July in Honduras. When we got to the airport, we were all told to not let any of the airport luggage carriers take any of the luggage or Terry would not be happy. As soon as we pulled in, they came running over to our buses, but Ken Haab told them right away, "No, no luggage carriers. Go back to your airport." The interns and Terry helped everyone get through the airport. We all had to sadly say goodbye to each other. Friendships were made that were hard to say goodbye to... that is for now of course. Now it is only Terry and his interns, Pat Guthrie, Tyler Steffy, and also Diane Adams and Patty Johnson.

After we left the airport, Terry treated us to Pizza Hut! It was his bribe to get us to come to the airport to help with luggage. I guess you could say it worked. Today is Ashley Stewart's birthday so the waitresses sang Happy Birthday to her in Spanish and made her wear this ridiculous looking hat!

As soon as we got back to the mission house, we all worked hard to pack up all of the supplies left over to take down to the warehouse. After sorting and loading many boxes, we took them to the warehouse and unloaded them. After we got finished, it started pouring down rain. It was literally raining cats and dogs. We were so glad that the rain held off until after we got finished unloading the boxes.

We had the rest of the day to just relax and do whatever we wanted to. One thing we did was skype Brandy! We all miss her bunches! We had free time until 7:00 p.m. Some of us napped, caught up on our journals, or talked to family back home. The guys that were in San Lorenzo working made it back in time for dinner. We were glad to see their faces again! We had a very delicious meal for dinner! They served us mixed vegetables, lasagna, and rolls!

After dinner, our good friend Jen Arnold surprised us! She brought us banana pudding, mixed fruit, and baskin robbins ice cream!!!!!! This was to celebrate Ashley's birthday also! It was soo good! We couldn't thank her enough for doing this for us!

After our treats, we sang songs and Terry talked to us about how he has seen God throughout the week. He also talked about our last week together and how close we have gotten to each other. It is going to be sad when we all have to say our goodbyes next week. I am sorry we did not broadcast devo tonight. I am not for sure if we will be able to for the rest of the trip, but we are going to try! It just depends on the internet connection at the hotel we will be staying at. Our team of 20 will be leaving around lunch tomorrow to travel to Santa Rosa to work with Mission Upreach for the next few days! We are all very excited to go there! All Terry talks about is how beautiful it is there! Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow as we travel! Love you guys!

In Him,
Paige

Hey guys! It is our last full day together. We got up, got ready, and loaded the buses and pulled out of here 8:30 a.m. to go worship with the church at Los Pinos. The ride out there was a little adventurous... Once we pulled off of the main road, the ride was bumpy. We went up and down a few hills that you normally wouldn't think a school bus could make, but we have some AWESOME bus drivers who can drive in anything..

The worship service went wonderful. We filled the church house and many of us had to stand. Jeff Wilson and a man from their church led us in singing and others from our team took part in the worship service. The preacher spoke on Luke 19 focusing on the story of Zaccheaus. Chris Barrantes did a wonderful job translating the sermon for us Gringos. After services were over, we loaded the buses to head to town for lunch. After several attempts of trying to get the bus up the hill, we finally made it!

We all went to lunch at El Patio. It is known as one of the best in town! They serve traditional Honduran style food. They first served us with homemade tortilla chips, salsa, cheese dip, bean and cheese dip. Then they brought us a plate with a variety of plantains, fried cheese balls, and empanadas with potatoes inside. Then they brought us our main course which we got to choose from steak, chicken, or vegetable kabobs with a side of rice. We have never seen so much food on one plate. Most of us did not even eat half of our plate so we decided to box up the left overs to give to some of the local Hondurans. It was a meal we won't forget!

Then after lunch, we drove out to the Valley of Angels to shop, shop, and shop! People had the chance to buy as many souvenirs to take back home. The rest of the team that went to San Lorenzo met up with us there. They ended up getting the foundation started on one of the houses so that Nathan's team can finish it up. At the Valley of Angels, people bought purses, jewelry, pottery, paintings, machetes, and much more. A bunch of people treated themselves to a homemade ice cream bar. We left there around 6:00 to head to the mall for dinner. The mall has a wide choices of food. After we ate there and did a little shopping, we pulled out of there around 8:00 to head back to the mission house.

When we got back, it was pouring down rain. We all went and got ready for devo. Devo started around 9:00 and we had it in the big chapel hall. Terry led us in singing tonight and Tim O'Dell delivered the last devotional. We all shared some of the "awesome experiences" that we witnessed this past week. Some were how we saw how some of us impacted some of the locals here. One of the guys that went to San Lorenzo mentioned how awesome it was to stay in a hotel with AC and a hot shower. Tim spoke on how we can take things back home with us and do service there. After Tim finished, Terry got up to give some end of the trip announcements out. Jennifer Arnold from Mololoa was also with us tonight. She brought over some of the cookbooks that she sells to benefit the daycare there. Everyone closed up their bank and got ready to pack up everything to head back home tomorrow. After all of this, we called it a day!

In Him,
Paige

Saturday, July 2

A Tangled Day!

Hello Torch fans! This is my first time to do the blog so please bear with me! This morning we had a power breakfast consisting of eggs, beans, sausage, and toast. Breakfast was from 7-8 and then devo was following. We had a VERY uplifting devotional from Luke. He arrived on the trip with a foot injury that enabled him from taking part in some of the activities that he had planned on doing. However, he still did whatever he could for the team. He talked about how God humbled him through the circumstances that wouldn't allow him to do what he wanted.

Our plans for the day wasn't a wide variety of work like the previous days. Our team of 24 who manned up to head to San Lorenzo to build as many houses as they could in two days left as soon as devo was finished. The medical team set up a clinic here at the mission house for the Villa Gracia workers and their families. We had a small number go back out to Didasko to finish up the paint job that was started yesterday. Mark Connell, Jenny Lovell, and Uncle Bill went to deliver housewarming kits to the families that we built houses for this week. The rest of the crew had a day of fun planned with the kids from the Didasko orphanage!

The crew that headed to San Lorenzo arrived safely this morning! God did answer our prayers for no rain so that the work could be done. However... plans did not go as hoped. When they got to the work sites, the concrete still was not completely dry and... the measurements for the house did not match up with the Torch construction plan. Our INCREDIBLE engineer Brian Steffy had to put his brain to work to devise a new layout for the houses. They did not get to build a single house today but our hardworking team has committed to start bright and early after their worship service. They are going to complete as much as possible until Nathan's reinforcements arrive tomorrow afternoon. Please keep them and the work being done there in your prayers please!!!!!!

The medical team had a successful day of seeing a total of about 45 patients today! All of the workers and their family were given hygiene kits, toys, clothes, and medicines! Great job to all of the medical staff! They have not only been working super hard during the clinics but also on our fellow sick team members!

Our painting team who went out to Didasko completed the painting of the bathroom! Brett Mitchell took over this work for the day! With his awesome color coordinating talent, the bathroom was completed!

Jenny Lovell and Uncle Bill's home congregation, Western Hills in Nashville, prepared the housewarming kits that were given to the families. Jenny shared her uplifting experience of getting to see the completed houses after the families have already moved in them and made it their home.

Now on to our major project from today! About 30 of the team left around 9 a.m. to ride out to the Didasko orphanage to pick up the children and the staff members to treat them with a day of fun! The first stop was at good ole KFC! The rest of the team members met them there to have lunch with them all. We treated the kids with fried chicken, french fries, and a biscuit. Those kids loved every bit of it! They shined the bones of the chicken! After they ate, they got to play on the AWESOME playground there. I don't think I have seen such an awesome playground in the US as this one was! The kids had such a blast! Even we were climbing around on the playground and having as much fun as they were! We left there around 1:30 and headed to the mission house with the kids! We set a mini theatre in the dining hall! We watched Tangled in Spanish and treated all the kids with fruit punch drink and popcorn! After the movie, we showered them with toys and our last goodbyes until next year that is...

We met for dinner around 7 tonight. The lovely cooks prepared a fancy and yummy last dinner for the team! They did an incredible job! I do not think we could ever thank them enough for all the food that they prepare for us! We had barbecue chicken, mixed vegetables, pasta, and homemade rolls! They spoiled us!

Right after dinner... we lost power again... We started devo with no lights. The singing was powerful! Tim delivered the devo in the dark. After sharing with us a few of the quotes from the Book of Awesome, he talked with us how our time here is running out, but our service to the Lord does not have to stop when we leave. We all then shared of ways that we or our home congregations reach out to the community! The lights decided to come back one during this time. We rushed to try to start the live stream of the devo so that ya'll could catch the end of it.

On another note, Brandy the blogger safely arrived to Nashville around 9:30 tonight and had someone arranged to take her home to Corinth, MS. Please keep her and her family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of her father. We love her and already miss her!

Also, please continue to pray for the group in San Lorenzo, our safety, and all the work that has been done this week! We love you guys and can't wait to come home to you and share our own personal stories!

In Him,
Paige

Welcome to Honduras

Well guys...welcome to Honduras!! Last night we had our devo and did the broadcast with no problem. I was even able to keep the live feed going while I went to a meeting. At the meeting the power went out. This of course means no internet. So I wasn't able to post the blog last night!! Sorry, but maybe this will make up for it.

Yesterday we started the morning at 7 am for breakfast. For breakfast we had french toast, and fruit, and coffee!!! After breakfast we had devo in the chapel. The Canadian (Brett Mitchell) spoke to us. He talked about walking in the light, in our actions, and our homes. He encouraged us to surround ourselves with Godly people. He also encouraged us to be aware of what we see and hear and encouraged us to listen and watch positive things.

After devo our teams got together to leave. We had a team that went to the hospital and to the Special Needs orphanage, a team that loaded a container at the bodega then handed out hygiene kits, a team that worked in the daycare and feeding center and dug a hole for a septic tank in Moaloa, and a paint team.

The first team went to the hospital for a few hours to play with the kids and bring a smile to there faces. THe group was able to go throughout the hospital to different wards to visit the with the families and patients. Afterward they loaded the bus to go to the special needs orphanage. There they loved on some really special kids. The children have a variety of different complications. Our physical therapist were able to work with them as well. After they had visited for a while they loaded the buses and headed back to the mission house.

The second team went to the bodega first to unload a container with medical equipment that was being shipped to a different location. This team of BUFFTRUCK, had earlier in the week unloaded the same equipment. After they had finished they went to a community and handed our hundreds of hygiene kits. Once finished they made their way back to the mission house.

The third team went to Moaloa. Here the team split in three, a puppet team went to the daycare, a group worked in the feeding center and the last group dug the rest of the hole for the septic tank and moved mud. Moaloa was the same community the team had worked in the day before doing daughters of the king. THe team says that many of the kids were wearing the dresses that had been handed out at the daughters of the king. The team was able to love some sweet little children!!

The last team of about 10 went to paint a good friends house. Jennifer Arnold, who moved to Honduras about five years ago (give or take) needed her and her husbands house painted. Her husband built their home a few years ago but it was never painted. We were honored to paint their beautiful home!! It was awesome spending time with a sister that has followed God's call. WHen this team finished we loaded the trucks and came back to the mission house for dinner and devo.

For dinner we had rice and a chicken soup thing. IT was really good!! After dinner we met in the dining hall for devo. Tonight Tim O'dell added to his book of awesome and brought us some encouraging words about God reigning over His creation. After devo IT GOT DARK!!! So most everyone settled down and went to sleep.

I have enjoyed writing the blog so much this year. I hope you all have gotten, somewhat, of an idea of the experiences your loved ones are having. This will be my last blog, but Paige Atkinson will be taking over for me for the remainder of the trip. Please continue to pray for those who are working here and those who will be traveling. The majority of the team will leave out Monday morning. Time has went by so very fast and long lasting friendships have formed. We will all be seeing you soon!! Love you guys!!

In Him
Brandy B

Thursday, June 30

Just some pictures








Broken

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

In Him

Brandy Barnett

Yesterday’s gardening!!

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.

Todd Mikula

Wednesday, June 29

Light or dark?

I hope you are all doing fantastic today!! Our group continues to work hard serving!! Please continue to pray for the work!!

Today started at 7 am for breakfast. Today we had pancakes and fruit, of course I ate mine like a peanut butter sandwich YUM-MIE!!!! After breakfast we met for devo at 8am. Todd Mikula from Bell Shoals led us in our thoughts. After devo we split into our groups. Today we had two construction teams, a VBS crew, a garden crew, and a food packing/blind school visitation crew.

The first team that left was the construction teams. The team built in the La Tigra Rainforest again. The construction teams have had an amazing opportunity to see God's beautiful creation!!! Words can not describe the beauty.

The second group left early as well to go meet with Nathan Hale to start a garden. THey worked all day with Nathan gardening. There was a group of 40 that assisted with this task!!

The VBS crew stayed at the mission house until 11am. They worked on learning lines, in Spanish, to do skit one at Didasko. The team consisted of about 25 people. They had about 80 children in attendance.

The last team consisted of about 25 people as well. This team worked the first half of the day sorting and packing bags of food that will be delivered tomorrow. The team packed about 250 bags of food. After sorting and packing food the team loaded the bus and went to Rosa's store. Rosa is a lady that used to work here at the mission house. A few years ago a team built her a home in the La Tigra Rainforest where she is still living. She is no longer working at the mission house and has her own store in the city. She has been struggling recently so the small team went to her store to buy a drink and other goods. After that we went to the Blind School to visit with the children there! The blind school is such an encouraging experience. The children are so beautiful!! They also sing for us. There is a guy, who is blind, that plays the piano while the children sing!! It is amazing how God uses all of us!! After they sang to us we sang to them. It was pretty awesome!! Afterward we came back to the mission house to meet up with the rest of the team for dinner.

For dinner we had beans, rice, and beef tips. MY FAVORITE!!!!!!! After dinner we loaded the bus to go to the Jesus Statue. (Sorry we did not broadcast, it was a last minute decision to go since we finally had a dry night.) At the Jesus Statue we took lots of pictures then had devo. Mark Connell led us in our thoughts. He discussed the light vs. the darkness. He explained that being in the light meant we have an understanding of something. If we walk in the light then we have an understanding. If we walk in the dark we are blind to that understanding. He went on to say that now we have been to Honduras we are walking in the light, we have an understanding of the poverty most of the world faces. He also encouraged us to continue walking in that light, the light of serving others no matter where we are!! After devo we loaded the buses and came back to the mission house for announcements.

We were given the schedule for tomorrow and then we came to the dinning hall and had cobbler prepared by Joe Jones (aka Little Joe). It was delicious!!! Afterward we all made our way to the bed!!

Thank you all for reading the blog!! I hope you all are getting so what of an idea of our trip so far!! Hopefully we will be back online tomorrow night!! Until then, GOOD NIGHT!!!!

In Him
Brandy B