I certainly pulled the disappearing act for the past 5 weeks. I could usher in a dozen top notch reasons / excuses as to why I have not blogged but I will spare you the time and me the embarrassment. I have watched the site counter and know that many people have been checking it and with the new year comes new year's resolutions. And one of mine is to get back into the routine of writing regularly and keeping everyone updated with trip plans for 2011. December was one of the busiest months I have gone through that I can ever remember. But January is here and things seem to be back to normal (whatever that means!).
There is a lot going on. During the past 5 weeks I have been very busy in the planning stages of our trips this summer. Lots of phone calls and emails have been made as some of the ideas and thoughts of 2011 are starting to become realities. Trip work schedules, work sites, travel plans, etc. are becoming more concrete and plans are becoming clearer as to what we will be doing this summer in Costar Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Although no where near complete, the big picture is starting to come into focus, which is a good thing! Once the big picture is in focus the task of ironing out the fine details will become easier to do.
This weekend the Torch Missions Board of Directors will be having our annual meeting. This year we will be meeting right here in Henderson, Tennessee. I am very excited to bring the board here for the meeting. It will be 2 days of meetings and fellowship. These are some of my closest and dearest friends on the planet and friends that share the same passion I do about the mission work that Torch is involved with in Central and South America. The meetings this weekend will be very important because specific strategies, guidelines, framework, protocols, and goals will be mapped and laid out. Our focus will be both on current and long range plans for Torch. As Torch continues to grow and expand the board is dedicated to provide the necessary leadership to keep us an effective missions program to serve and to reach those who are in need.
This month is also the official beginnings of the 2011 trips. Back in September trip information went out concerning the dates of the 2011 trips I would be leading. The 1st week of November the 2011 application was ready and was sent out. The 2 trips, Costa Rica (45 spots) and Honduras (100 spots) filled up before Thanksgiving and waiting lists began. Now its time for the rubber to meet the road. Applications and deposits are due this month. The application states that paper work and deposits are due January 8th. So far I have received nearly 60 applications and deposits. The sooner you can send them in the better.
Spaces that have been reserved by email, phone call, or in person are still valid. However, if you are a group leader and you have reserved a specific number of spots for your team, it is time to lock in those reservations. If you blocked off a certain number you need to send in applications and deposits for those reservations. If your numbers have changed, I need to know right away so that any slots that are not being used now can be filled with those who are on the waiting list. The sooner I can contact them the faster they can start moving towards getting their applications and money in. The balance of the trip payments is due June 1st.
Supply collections will begin this month. I will be posting specific items that we need to start collecting for our trips. I am not sure yet if we will be shipping a container this year or not. Containers are shipped throughout the year and depending on how much we collect and have donated will determine whether we will ship a container or "piggy back" with another team that might be shipping a container down to Honduras. Last year's collections and supplies certainly warranted the use of a 40 foot container, we will wait and watch to see how this year goes.
As we enter 2011, I hope that you have a very productive and exciting new year. I hope that you will seek opportunities to serve others and to be a living sacrifice for the One who makes all things possible. I hope that the Lord challenges each of us and stretches us and uses us in ways that will make us more and more like Him. As our 2011 theme states, God reins! I hope that God will rein in your home, in your family, in the work place. I hope He reins in your speech, conduct, and actions. I hope God reins in your church, your school, and your community. Commit to Him. I also hope that you will begin focusing on the mission trip this summer. Commit it to prayer. Commit time. Be pro-active. Collect supplies. Work on your Spanish. Talk to others about the trip. Help raise money for our work fund. Find ways to prepare for your trip along the way.
2011 is going to be a great year, and I look forward to working with those of you going on the trip this year. And for those of you who are not going this year, I hope you will continue to support us any way that you can. We are a team and a strong rope of many cords. With God's help there is no limit on what we are capable of doing! Dios te bendiga mi amigos! Reinados de Dios!