Our Mission Statement

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!


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.


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!