Our Mission Statement

Tuesday, April 26

What do you do when the wind blows?

An old farmer owned and operated a large farm outside of a small town in Indiana. He was in need of help and put an ad in the local paper seeking a farm hand. A handsome young man drove up to the house a day later to ask about the job. During the discussion, the farmer asked for the young man's qualifications. With an air of confidence the man replied, "I can sleep when the wind blows." Puzzled by the statement the old farmer scratched his head for a moment. He wasn't sure about the statement but the young man was kind, polite, and looked like he could handle hard work so he was offered the job.

Just a few days after the young man began work the old farmer and his wife were suddenly awakened in the night by a violent storm. The quickly set out to check things to see if everything was alright. As they headed for the door they noticed a good supply of split logs neatly stacked by the fireplace. As they circled the house they noticed that the window shutters had been closed and securely fastened. Inside the storage shed they found all of the farm tools neatly arranged and stored. The tractor was in the over-sized garage and the barn was properly locked. Animals were in their stalls and the horses in the corral. The finally made it to the guest quarters to check on the young man. The man was in bed and asleep. All was well.

It was then that the old farmer understood the young man's words a few days ago, "I can sleep when the wind blows." Because the young man did his work properly and faithfully when the skies were clear he was prepared for a storm if it ever came upon him. So, when the storm came, he was fearless and slept in peace. It isn't the things you do but the things left undone that gives you heartache and grief.

As our trip grows every nearer, it is my hope that we have done the things needed ahead of time properly and faithfully so that we will be able to sleep soundly at night while in Costa Rica or Honduras! 6 weeks and counting before our first group departs. Lots of work still to do. Lets get to it.


Thursday, April 21

Time line updated!

April 21, 2011. Time line for those who need to know -

Wednesday, May 4th: Deadline for supplies being brought to Henderson, TN to go to New Orleans, LA for the container
Thursday, May 5th: Deadline for all supplies being loaded on the container in Melbourne, FL
Saturday, May 7th: Deadline for all supplies being loaded on the container in New Orleans, LA
Sunday, May 24th: Deadline for all paperwork, photographs, passport copies, etc.
Sunday, May 29th: All money and unpaid balances due. No checks accepted after this date, cash only from this point on.
Wednesday, June 8th: Interns and extended team leave for Atlanta
Thursday, June 9th: Costa Rica team arrives and begins work
Sunday, June 19th: Costa Rica team returns to the States; Nicaragua team arrives in Managua
Tuesday, June 21st: Extended team and advance team arrive in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Friday, June 24th: Honduras team arrives
Monday, July 4th: Honduras team returns to the States; extended team departs for Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
Monday, July 11th: Extended team departs for the States

Supplies being sent to Honduras are due VERY soon. So far a ton of stuff has been collected, sorted, boxed, inventoried, and labeled. The Bell Shoals congregation collected a whopping 107 boxes of supplies! Steve Johnson and company have already delivered their boxes to Gayle in Melbourne. Ken Haab, in Islamarada, FL, has been collecting supplies for several weeks now and are nearly ready to take their supplies to Melbourne. Diane Adams will be taking supplies from Sarasota too. Up here, the Pennsylvania team brought down their supplies a couple of weeks ago. Theirs, along with supplies from west Tennessee and middle Tennessee, has totaled 106 boxes so far. Today more supplies arrived here at F-HU and we will be having another packing party in the next couple of days! I will also be ordering a pallet of Romen Noodles and some playground equipment to go on the New Orleans container. Tim O'Dell and the Cookville team have collected over 100 handmade dresses that they will be bringing down with them in their luggage. I believe the Mobile, AL team has collected several boxes of supplies as well that will be going over to New Orleans. I am estimating that we will have well over 300 boxes of supplies going to Honduras this summer!

LOTS of money that has been paid in has gone out in the form of deposits for hotels, bus reservations, etc. In just a couple of weeks I will be purchasing the supplemental travel insurance policies for everyone. The Torch admin fees will also be paid during that time. T-shirts are about to be ordered and journals will be printed within the next 3 or 4 weeks. In other words, we are on the move and the train is about to leave the station! Although a few have completely paid off their remaining balances, MOST of you are in the count down before final money is due. 38 days to be exact! If you are not in crunch mode, it is time. The next 7-8 weeks are going to fly by and there is very little time to waste. MANY still have not turned in vital paper work and several have not sent me flight information yet! That was due several weeks ago... I must have this information ASAP.

I will keep you updated on information schedules, etc., as I receive it. Man am I getting excited! Stay tuned, much, much more to come soon!


Tuesday, April 12

What would you do?

Ice cream. Oh the very mention of the word. Soft serve. Hand dipped. Homemade. Store bought. All natural. Vanilla. Chocolate. Mint chocolate chip. 32 flavors. Ben and Jerry. Bryers. Hagen daz. One of the major food groups. Nero, during the 4th century BC, started the craze by bringing ice down from the mountains and crushing it and mixing fruit into it. By the 13th century Marco Polo brought back to Europe the milk and ice method from the Chinese. By the 18th century Italy and France was making sherbets. George Washington ate it. Thomas Jefferson's favorite was vanilla. By 1851 in was being sold in stores. Don't you love studying history? Along came the ice cream sandwich. And in particular, a company that made Klondike Bars. And their clever and nifty little catch phrase, "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" Great commercials! Oh the things people were willing to do to get a Klondike bar! Of course, the point of the advertisement was to get people to think that people would be willing to do just about anything to get one. And they sold a LOT of ice cream bars. Right now some of you might be thinking, "You are right! I would do just about anything for a Klondike Bar!" What would you do? So, how did the Klondike Bar become so successful? After all, there are dozens and dozens of ice cream companies out there that offer hundreds, if not thousands of products. How did Klondike separate themselves from the pack? Well, they took something that was well known, something that people felt like they needed, something desirable. They produced a product that was practical, unique, and affordable. They built up a loyal consumer base, and then hit a home run with the advertisement catch phrase. Make sense? Did it work? So, let's use the Klondike bar's amazing little catch phrase, change up just a little, and use it in another way, shall we? Let's go with, "what would you do to go on a Torch trip?" Well, let's see, we found something that was well known that people felt like they needed to have. Mission work is the heart and soul of Christianity and evangelism. Christians feel the need to do mission work and have a passion for it. We took the concept of mission work and made it practical, unique, and affordable. We took the words of Matthew 25 and developed a program that incorporated the things Jesus talked about in that chapter. We refined the ministries, streamlined methods, and made trips that were available for most people on a budget that most people could afford. Then we built up a loyal base, or core group, of workers that have come year after year. We don't have a clever jingle or catch phrase, at least not yet. Now, I am not saying that Torch Missions is a company with a clever Marketing and Public Relations department. Far from it. I just happen to see some things that are in common. But you know what they say, the best advertising is by word of mouth by satisfied customers. Sure, we set up booths at youth rallies and lectureships. We visit congregations and make presentations to schools, youth groups, and churches. We have pamphlets and booklets and banners and posters. We have slide shows and DVDs. But to be honest, that is not where we get most of our team members. Most of our team members are recruited by the people that have gone on our trips before. They know what we do, why we do it, and what they get from it. They believe in Torch Missions, and because of their convictions, they bring others with them to share in the experience. So, back to the question, "What would you do to go on a Torch trip?" Work a second job. Take on a paper route. Bag groceries on my day off for tips. Wash cars. Baby sit... a lot. Sell my truck. Use part of my school loan money. Cash in an insurance policy. Use the savings I built up to buy a car. Have a yard sale, and then another, and another, and another. Bake pies and cakes. Clean the church building. Build a homemade putt putt course for people to play. Put on a murder mystery dinner show. Have an auction. Sell BBQ ribs and chicken. Paint Christmas decorations. Dress up like Santa and use White Out to make my eyebrows white. Have a golf tournament. Have a spaghetti dinner and sell tickets. Flip pancakes and cook sausage. Sell refreshments at a ball game. Do yard work and cut grass. Sell doughnuts before school starts. Hand paint tennis shoes to sell. Use up all of my vacation time for the year to go on the trip. That is what you would do. You would do this and more. Because every one of these examples are true examples that someone did to go on a Torch Missions trip. Why? Because it is worth it. Pure and simple... it is worth it. Of course, there are lots of people that don't like Klondike Bars. Some people don't like them and they haven't even tried one. But their minds are made up. They look at people who are willing to do almost anything to get a Klondike Bar as someone that is weird and one brick shy of a load. They don't like it, want it, and because of that do not get it. The same thing is true for mission work to Central America. They don't like it, want it, and because of that do not get it. They think it is a waste of time and money and think you are weird and one brick shy of a load. They just don't get it. I feel sorry for them. I really do. Because once you get it, you GET IT! Have you got it? TR

Sunday, April 3

It's all in the details

To the surprise of most, I did not pull any April Fool's pranks today. I really didn't. And even more shocking, no one pulled any on me. That's OK with me, I really don't need April 1st to pull a prank... just ask Diane Adams or Tara Shay. Sometimes I do my best work in Honduras. Time will tell what this year's trip might bring... we do have a LOT of new people going this year! However, April 1st means other things to us. Specifically, it begins the final count down for all supplies that will be shipped down to Honduras. 30 days and counting, give or take, until everything needs to be sorted, counted, boxed, labeled, and inventoried. I will be emailing specific instructions to team leaders next week concerning all of this. The better organized we are on this end will help make the job of unloading and unpacking on the other end. 24 of us will be in Honduras a couple days ahead of the main team getting things ready. Our specific job will be to organize the boxes according to content into several different groupings: Men's clothes; women's clothes; children's clothes; infant clothes; shoes; toys and stuffed animals; school supplies; medical supplies; hygiene supplies; tools; medicines; Bible and VBS supplies; etc. Once the main team arrives we will sort the supplies even further according to male/female clothes and by sizes; male / female / children's shoes and by sizes; sort the 50+ different medicines and break the bulk items into prescription sized pill bottles; sort the school supplies; sort the VBS supplies; sort and package the hygiene items; etc. It is a lot of work but the better organized we are the more efficient we are when it comes time to give the supplies away to those who need it. We will do the same thing with bulk foods. We will order huge amounts of beans; rice; sugar; flour; spaghetti noodles; tomato sauce; shortening; bullion cubes; coffee; etc. and will break the items down into family sized portions and assemble food bags. We will also buy fresh food such as carrots; cucumbers; onions; potatoes; cabbage; oranges; etc. and will make family sized portions to be given away. Depending on how much money we raise for the work fund, we might be able to distribute food bags to over 1,000 families this trip (or about 5,000 people) which could amount to over 100,000 meals (3 meals a day for 1 week). . I have talked to Gayle Davidson and Tim Hines this past week concerning the containers. Plans have changed slightly and most definitely to our favor. All supplies being collected in Florida will still be sent to Melbourne, Florida, where Gayle will make room for them on her container that is being loaded and shipped out the 1st week of May. Any supplies that are being collected elsewhere will be sending their boxes to New Orleans. Tim has a container that is going out the 2nd weekend of May. Both containers will arrive in Honduras before we get there. I will be driving a truck down to New Orleans the 1st weekend in May so if you can get your stuff to me I will be glad to take it along with the things we have collected here. Jenny Lovell continues to do a great job raising money for our work fund. She has had donations for dedication houses, money to buy Bibles, funds to help buy medicines, and donations to help with the cost of shipping our supplies down. Remember, the more money we have in the work fund the more houses we can build, food distributions to give away, Bibles to give away, and special projects like banquets for Jesus we can do. With a team as large as ours, our only real limit is how much we have to fund projects. We are capable of doing multiple tasks every day during our entire trip to Honduras. On the Costa Rica trip, things are well on their way to being organized and ready to roll. 36 of the 42 team members have now bought their airline tickets. Hotel rooms have been reserved (3 different locations). Buses have been reserved. Daniel Chaves has organized work projects for us... we literally start work 3 hours after we arrive in Buenos Aires! Door knocking teams will be going out every day that we are there; 5 nights for the gospel meeting; 4 days of VBS; 3 days of training classes for men, women, and children; service projects; painting projects; visitation; benevolence projects; and fellowship. Joe Roberts, from Eustis, Florida, has already written his lessons on church growth. Keffee Morrow has already written her lessons for the ladies bible class. Carla Richardson is working on the children's Bible lessons. Kim Fussell has written the VBS lessons and we will be using them in Costa Rica; Nicaragua, and Honduras. Puppet skits are being planned for both trips. Drama skits are being written for both teams. Minor Perez has been working like a mad man calling and emailing Costa Rica making plans and reservations. translators have been recruited and secured and ready to go. Margaret has been updating spread sheets like crazy. I guess what I am trying to say is a LOT OF STUFF HAS BEEN DONE ALREADY! This is, by far, the most organized we have been by April 1st. My biggest task now is writing the journal and getting it printed and finishing the t-shirt design and getting them screened. Thanks to all that have been working so hard to get things ready for this trip. Many of you are collecting supplies for the trips. Others have been raising money for the work fund. Keep up the good work. Keep finding ways to keep people focused on the trip and to get more and more people involved in the trip. It is awesome to hear about the things groups are doing! This weekend Kittanning church of Christ in Pennsylvania is having a putt-putt tournament. What makes this special is the fact that there is not a putt-putt course within 45 miles of Kittanning... they are building their own at the church building! 18 one of kind holes are being built and designed by members at the congregation. Unique? Sure! Sound like fund? Absolutely! They are also doing a murder mystery dinner before the trip. Western Hills church of Christ in Nashville is gearing up for a huge yard sale, spaghetti luncheon and auction, and a baby back rib sale. The Florida Keys group is bagging food at a local grocery store and selling pizza at a community event. Let me know what other groups are doing! I would love to share your stories!!! I keep watching the count down calendars for Honduras and Costa Rica. I keep scratching off things on my "to do" list. I keep tossing change into the jar (spending money for the trip... it is amazing how much money we collect every year by just saving change!). Stay tuned, more information, stories, and thoughts for the day are coming. Las primeras cinco personas que leen esto y me entran en contacto con recibran una bottella de agua libre de la TORCH. Hope to hear from you soon! TR