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!