2012 is not messing around. It seems to be pedal to the metal because the new year is off and running at full throttle and leaving those who are shuffling along on the sidelines. 9 days into the new year and I am just now posting the first blog of 2012. As I merge onto the 2012 speedway lanes I will try to get quickly up to speed so that I can keep up.
Most already know, but during Christmas break I had surgery to remove a tumor that was found on a scan about 6 months ago that was growing on my neck near the saliva gland. Dr. Netherville, the top ranked surgeon in the southeast and a member of the church at Harpeth Hills, did the surgery. Dr. Netherville is a long time medical missionary to Honduras with Steve Davidson's group and Lipscomb graduate. he did a great job and my stay at Vanderbilt was a good as you could expect (Sleep just didn't happen because it seemed like every hour the nurses needed something!). After an allergic reaction to some of the bandaging they used on me, I am finally on the mend and back to "normal." During break I didn't do much since I was on pain meds and was very limited on what I could do. Thankfully I am healing well and the pathology came back negative! Now I am off to the races, so to speak, and will be putting in a lot of hours this week and next getting the 3 missions trips in order and really getting them going.
The first item of business is the upcoming January 20th "Early Bird Registration." Anyone that can get their applications, paper work, and deposits in to me by this date will save $50.00 on their trip. The cost is $800 per person plus airfare, but early bird registrations get a discount because the early registration money will help me get deposits in earlier at some hotels which will allow us to get a better rate for this summer. Last year's teams depleted the Torch account to the point that we just didn't have any "jump start" money for the 2012 trips. So, whether you are going to Costa Rica or Honduras, let me encourage you to get your stuff tome in the next 10 days to get the discount.
Second. For those who just can't make the January 20th date, deposits and applications are due no later than March 1st. All of the trips are near maximum capacity so anyone who contacts me at this point will more than likely go on a waiting list. After March 1st anyone on the waiting list will be able to get on the trip if any spots are open so make sure you get your stuff in by this deadline so that you do not lose your spot! Final payment for the Costa Rica trip will be May 1st and the deadline for the Honduras trips will be June 1st. Everyone needs to book airline tickets as quickly as you can, try to have them booked by the end of March if possible. I will be posting airline flight information in my next blog that will come later this week.
Third. I have been gathering photos from past trips to help me get ready for some writing I will be doing this fall. A few years ago I wrote a book called "The Mountaintop Experience" looking through the history of Torch Missions from my 20+ years of trips. I want to totally rewrite the book and update the material. I am looking for photos from the different trips that will help in this undertaking. If you have any I would love to get copies of them sent to me. So far I have received over 400 photos and they have been great! However, I am wanting a lot more than that and I hope to get many more.
Fourth. Also, along with the photos I am receiving, I am wanting to get current photos of all the trips this summer. I would also like to get video as well, so if anyone has a video camera I would love for you to bring it. Since working at Freed-Hardeman I have learned that I have a wealth of talent and resources right here. From professional photo editing software to TV studio production facilities, proof readers to professional voice makeover personnel, I have a lot of resources here to use. This summer, once we get back, I am going to work on several PR type projects for Torch Missions. Pamphlets, brochures, booklets, and DVDs are just a few of the things on the agenda. I hope to produce a full line of promotional materials for booths at youth rallies and Bible lectureships. The materials will be designed to be used at schools, churches, youth groups, or even professional organizations to help promote who we are, what we do, and how people can join up or help. I am really excited about this and believe we will be able to produce some really high quality, professionally make materials that all teams will be able to use.
Finally. Plans are being put into place. Research is going on right now to see what needs to be done and where we will be working during our trips. This time of the year reminds me of a story Jesus told in Luke 14: 28-30 - "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to finish it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish." Now is the time we estimate the cost of the trips and the projects that we want to do and accomplish. We want to make sure the things we plan can be paid for by the money we are paying to go on the trip along with the additional money that is raised for the work fund. Our planning right now along with the fund raising we do, will determine how many houses we will build, how many bags of food we will give away, and how much supplies we will have to distribute. We don't want to make plans that we will not be able to do. But we want to think big and dream big. Somehow during the next couple of months the 2 will merge together to form our plans.
In the end we put it all in God's hands and we will do what He wants us to do and we will go where He wants us to go. God constantly puts things into our lives to challenge us and to move us to do good works. Every year is different (ask any of the Torch veterans, they will tell you!) and I personally can't wait to see what this summer has in store for us! Arise!