Our Mission Statement

Thursday, May 31

This World is Not My Home

We are thankful to announce another baptism took place today! We were all happy to welcome our new sister in Christ, Katherine! She is the twin sister of Kimberly who has been a member of the church at Buenos Aires. They both have been a joy to be around this week and Katherine has 2 beautiful children Ian and Kiara who will now be growing up in the Lord! Many prayers have been answered today.

It has been a more laid back day. The VBS crew had to throw together some skits last minute since our appointment at the school changed from the afternoon to the morning, but thankfully we were able to use most of our previous skits. Considering our unprepared state, things could not have gone better. The kids laughed and enjoyed everything we did and hopefully learned a lot along the way.

The medical team spent the day at the hotel sorting the leftover medicine so it could be donated to the local pharmacy and put to good use. Some of them took a break to take an excursion to downtown Buenos Aires where they ran into the Red Cross in the park. A few of the nurses were asked to participate in an egg race (racing each other with eggs on spoons in their mouth). I know they got quite a laugh out of it and some pictures as well! One of our nurses, Jennifer Staggs, celebrated her birthday today and was one of the lucky nurses who won the egg race!

Cristian delivered an amazing lesson to wrap up our gospel meeting this week. His topic was Living a Life of Hope and he used the scripture in John 14:1-6. We have hope through Jesus Christ. We have hope because 1) God loves us 2) This world is not our home 3) Christ left but He will come back 4) God has given us the necessities to get back to our Father's house. Christ is preparing a place for us. The question you must ask is: Are you preparing yourself to go with Christ?

Tonight was one of mixed emotions. We were happy to have had another great day working for the Lord, but we were also sad to have to say goodbye to our brothers and sisters here in Buenos Aires. After spending a week together and really begin to feel comfortable here with everyone, it's time to leave. As a treat to the ladies who have been cooking for us this week, we all went out for pizza this evening with the members of the church--Our treat. It was a good time for all of us to eat and spend some time saying goodbye. But along with many of the "goodbyes" were "see you laters". I was one of those who told everyone I hoped to see them next year on the trip. It's already hard to say goodbye, but it's even harder if you think you may never see them again. I am thankful for Cristian's lesson tonight though because he reminded us that this world is not our home. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we will see each other again very soon in our home in heaven if we do not have the opportunity to meet again on earth. I'm reminded of the hymn "If We Never Meet Again" which says "if we never meet again this side of heaven, I will meet you on that beautiful shore." I pray that we are all reunited one day in heaven with our brothers and sisters here in Costa Rica.

My goal is to gather pictures from everyone this weekend so I hope to post some of everything that has been done starting tomorrow! I know everyone is eager to actually see what work has been done! We are leaving before the sun comes up tomorrow...5 AM!!! So I currently have about 4 hours to sleep...and a long journey ahead of us tomorrow. It's "supposed" to be about an 8 hour trip to the volcano, and we're all hoping it won't be longer! Prayers for safe travel will be greatly appreciated and I will be back tomorrow night to let ya'll know we made it safe!

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.


Wednesday, May 30

Halfway Point

We had a fantastic end to our day! The first baptism since the gospel meeting began took place after the lesson. We are happy to welcome Julie as a sister in Christ. She was a neighbor to the previous church building they had. Daniel mentioned how hospitable she was while they were doing construction on the original building. This has been a two year long process for her and we are overjoyed that she has decided to finally give her life over to Christ! Praying that she grows in her faith and that others will follow her example in the coming days. Sometimes all it takes is the encouragement of another person, and a push in the right direction, to make you take that final step.

It has been a slower day for some of our members. The VBS crew stayed at the church and had a program for the children of the congregation, as well as, the ones close by. We all had a great time playing and laughing with the kids, but they definitely have much more energy than we do. Most of us were worn out after 20 minutes of playing soccer with them, and we still had 2 more hours that needed to be filled. I think our efforts with the children payed off because there were 60 in attendance for the children's class tonight during the meeting. It made things tough on those trying to keep them all busy and in one area but we are thankful for problems like that. The day went by quickly. The ground breaking for the children’s classroom took place. It has not gone up as fast as we were hoping, but there’s a good start and it will be finished tomorrow. After the daily rain shower following lunch, those who were not working on the classroom headed out into the streets to invite children and families to the classes tonight and tomorrow. There were also some more bible studies going on this afternoon. The long days and short nights are beginning to take it’s toll on some. I can’t believe we only have one more work day left! It seems like yesterday we were flying in to San Jose but we’re actually at our halfway point in our trip! God is working in everything we do and hopefully we can continue to have good attitudes about all that is happening here, no matter how tired or sick we are. God is able to supply us with the strength we need to continue our work here so we do not become slack towards the end of the trip.

On the other side of the spectrum, the medical team has been working incredibly hard the past 2 days doing the clinic. Today they saw 60 people and according to Dr. Matt Bolton most of them weren't simple cases. They have been seeing complicated medical issues and have tried their best to find some relief for those that they saw. We have an awesome group of medical staff with us and while we wish they could do the clinic for another day, the work they have done already is more than commendable. 

I asked a member of our medical team, Amy Patterson, to write a paragraph about what they did. This is from Tuesday:
The medical team arrived at the reservation in the morning and met the Costa Rican health care team members. Then we set up stations for the nurses to triage, the doctors to see patients and the pharmacist to dispense meds. We began to see patients and figured out their problems working through the translators. The nurses took vitals, then sent them to either the doctors or the dentist. We saw about 90 patients. It was really hot, but in the afternoon it rained and cooled everything down. We were working hard but it was interesting and fun. God was certainly glorified in our work!

Noel Cherry led us in our devotional thought tonight. He spoke about some of the experiences he knew about through working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. We also had the privilege to hear another great lesson from Joe Roberts tonight about seeking our salvation. If we want it, we have to go after it ourselves because Jesus is not going to come back and die for us again. One important thing to remember is that our value in God's eyes does not change because we have been dirtied by sin. God will always love us and wants us to be saved so we can spend eternity with Him someday soon!

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.


Tuesday, May 29

Do Not Fear

There was an early start to the day for the majority of the team members. Most of us had to get up, catch the bus to the church, eat breakfast, and be back on the buses to leave at 7:30. The medical team had a long ride to the Indian Reservation where they spent their entire day. They were able to see around 90 people and wrote prescriptions for those who needed them. From what I heard, the adults and children all lined up in an orderly fashion and everything went smoothly. However, because of the quantity of people, they arrived back to the church sometime after 7 and the gospel meeting had already started. We have a great group of medical staff with us and I'm thankful for all the hard work they are putting in. I am hoping to get some pictures soon of the clinic to post for all to see, as well as, some more details about what has happened so far.

The VBS team had the pleasure of performing 3 times today. We had an early start and arrived at the first school at 8 this morning. This school split their children up into two groups and we worked with each one for about an hour and a half. Today was without a doubt our best performances and the kids were laughing coming into the gym and leaving it. Evidently, they were impressed with the job we did because the principal asked us if we could come back on Thursday! We are not sure whether our schedule will allow it, but it would be great if we could share more of the gospel with them. We are already reaping the benefits of the VBS--tonight we had 42 children in the class for the gospel meeting!! This is double what we had just last night! The Lord is working in the hearts of these children. We hope He continues to and opens the hearts of their parents as well. 

Furthermore, our smaller groups did some very important work today. We had a team of six who volunteered to move tires to prevent mosquitoes from breeding for the Minister of Health. They loaded about 300 tires in around 45 minutes. While they didn't brag about this...I think they did a pretty commendable job. This project was completely last minute and we are hoping the connection we made with him will help us in the long run. There were also six girls who stayed back at the church in the morning to prepare lunch for everyone so the ladies of the congregation could attend the women's class. During the afternoon, 3 Bible studies were held with people in the community and those who were left at the church went door-knocking until the afternoon downpour began. 

Tonight, our gospel meeting was continued by Joe Roberts. He spoke about fear and how it hinders us in our walk with Christ. What if we lived a life by faith, not by fear? Our fears only feed our doubts...Live a life without fear. Jesus will be our source of strength and power. 

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

To go along with our lesson tonight, we learned a song during our devotional time called "Do Not Fear." It is based off of Isaiah 43 and it is a beautiful song that is an encouragement for all of us to hear! My favorite part about every mission trip I go on is always the singing. I love to be a part of wholehearted singing that comes from being with those who have chosen to volunteer their time to further God's kingdom. What is even better is singing praises to God with our brothers and sisters in Spanish. Sharing the same songs but in a different language is a unique and irreplaceable experience. I'm thankful we are able to do it every day here!

Another busy day is ahead of us tomorrow. Prayers are greatly appreciated and are what is getting us through this trip. God is certainly good all the time and all the time, God is good. 

Dios es bueno siempre.


Monday, May 28

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

That's a fact that no one can deny. For a few of our leaders it was a long and tough day. Terry, Minor, Joe Roberts, and Matt Bolton spent over 8 hours in meetings. All of our medical plans for the week depended on these meetings with the mayor and other officials in the city so it goes without saying that it was a very important day. According to Terry, Satan threw everything he had at us trying to keep us from helping the Indian Reservation. But through all the stumbling blocks that were thrown our way, God conquered them all. All the permits we needed, we now have. Everything is a go for the clinic to begin tomorrow! Let us all thank the Lord for overcoming what would have been impossible without Him. However, tomorrow is another day and we do not know what is in store for us, but no matter what comes our way--GOD is GOOD. 

Today was also a pretty full day for all the other team members. We had our first performance of our Vacation Bible School for our first school in Buenos Aires and had about 40 children in attendance. Kim Fussell wrote an awesome lesson for our topic--Peter. The primary lesson we are using for our VBS at the schools is about Peter's calling to Christ. We are all thankful that Kim took the time to put together this lesson for the Costa Rican children. Garrett Best narrated our lesson in Spanish for us. The key roles were played by: Logan Hollinsaid-Jesus, Blake McCaskill-Peter, Maggie Sinak-John the Baptist, Cooper Anderson-Andrew. The kids greatly enjoyed the skit we did and we should get better at it the more times we perform! We also taught them some songs and had them sing along with us. Our translators, Kattia, Nadja, Katherine, and Andrea, were a big help in keeping the attention of the kids and coming up with more songs to lead. We ended the VBS by inviting the children to the gospel meeting and encouraging them to tell their families about it. The men's and women's Bible studies also began this morning. Wayne Scott will be teaching the men's class for the week and Linda Moran is teaching the women's class. They both had a great number of men and women in attendance and they all seemed to be uplifted by the encouraging study. Those who were not attending the classes, or preparing lunch, went back to the hotel to complete the sorting of the medicine. By the end of the day, all of the sorting, counting, and labeling was done! After lunch, there were also some groups who continued the door-knocking route. Moriah Allgood was a part of a group led by Kattia Barrantes who did a Bible study while they were door-knocking. The family was immediately receptive and very thankful for the opportunity to study God's Word. I hope that all of the groups that have been door-knocking have come into contact with people who are open to hearing about God and that we will all make an impact in the city by reaching out to them. 

For those of you who are wondering, the food has been great so far! The ladies at the church have been working so hard to prepare our meals for such a large group and I haven't heard any complaints yet! Rice and beans is a part of every meal of course, but I expected that. We've had spaghetti, grilled pork, sandwiches and lots of fresh fruit and juices. For supper, we had watermelon juice, one of my personal favorites, which I've only found in Central America. Pineapple has also been very popular at the hotel for a snack. Oh, and you can't forget about the coffee...for those of you who don't know, the coffee here is so good that I only drink coffee while I'm here in Costa Rica. Sunday morning I had my first cup of coffee since my trip to CR last summer. Coffee is also the only souvenir I was asked to bring back to the States. 

Day 2 of the gospel meeting tonight was an excellent lesson given by Joe Roberts. It can be summed up in one quote: "God is good all the time. All the time, God is good." God will always be good. We must put our faith in Him and know that there is good in every situation and trial we face. There are sure to many more trials this next week, but with God all things are possible. 

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." 
Romans 8:28

In Christian love, 


Enjoy a picture of the church building and the view from it :)

Sunday, May 27

Live a Life Worthy of the Calling

God has called us all to do great things. Whether they be to venture to a foreign country to spread His Word or ministering in our own towns, it is up to us to follow Him. He does not except our excuses. He created us so He knows who we are and how much potential we have. Who are we to say "No" to God, when He knows what good we are capable of, if only we give Him control. When God leads us toward opportunities throughout our lives, we are to respond as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8, "Here am I, send me!" Trust in Him because He knows our abilities better than we do. We are not to fear for the Lord will lead us in the way He has planned. I think it's safe to say that all of us here in Buenos Aires were called to be here. We heard about the trip through various people and God made it possible for us to be here because we put our trust in Him and His plans.

Our first full day in Costa Rica has been a great one! The morning began with our first trip to the church building for breakfast and then Sunday morning Bible study followed. Garrett Best presented a great study on the book of Ephesians which he translated part of himself. After singing both songs in English and in Spanish, Daniel Chavez preached an excellent lesson--which I summarized in the opening paragraph. This was an uplifting service which prepared all of our hearts and minds to be the servants God has called us to be. This afternoon we split our team into 3 groups. One was our medical group, which went back to the hotel after lunch and spent their time organizing and preparing medicine to be given out as prescriptions later this week. The next group was the VBS team who established parts in the various skits they will be performing. Then, they practiced their performance since they will begin tomorrow morning with around 250 children at the first school. Our last, but certainly not least, team was sent door-knocking throughout the city. Everyone was split up into small groups with a translator, and went from door to door delivering flyers advertising the gospel meeting and encouraging everyone they spoke with to attend. The goal for the week is to knock on every door in the city, so there will be groups out spreading the word every day. 

Eduardo Rodriguez was our speaker for the gospel meeting this evening. He is the preacher at the Coronado congregation here in Costa Rica. His lesson pricked the hearts of many tonight, and two people came forward and are interested in studying more of God's Word. God is good!! 

Thad Butts concluded our thoughts tonight with a devotional centered around 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. We are to be joyful always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances! We are working to uplift this congregation and bring more souls to Christ, and in the process are building up our own fires for God which I hope we all take back home and continue to feed. 

To be in a place where my sole focus is all about God and spreading His word through my actions, without having to worry about my hectic life back home is such a blessing! Praying for another successful day at work tomorrow! Some big things will be happening very soon and it's all in God's hands from here! Please be praying that we all ARISE to God's call for us this week and for the safety of everyone here. 

God bless---Leah

Saturday, May 26


To begin, let me introduce myself:
I, Leah Wright, will be your blogger for this 10 day adventure in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. I am currently a junior at Freed-Hardeman University majoring in math and education. This is my 4th trip with TORCH to Central America and my 2nd year in Costa Rica. Last year I had the privilege to be one of Terry's interns and I'm blessed to be back working with the wonderful Christians here in Buenos Aires.
Enough about me...let's get to what's happened so far today.

Every one of our members have arrived safely in Costa Rica, or as some like to call it "The Rica."  2/3 of the group has made it to the hotel and are in their rooms--sleeping, showering, etc. The other 1/3 is on the road and will hopefully be arriving in the next half hour. Joe Roberts group from Cookeville, TN unfortunately ran into some delays at the airport and are running a little behind schedule, but we are thankful that this was the only mishap of the day!

Many of us began our day quite early this morning, with times ranging from 2 AM - 4 AM so that everyone could catch their first flights of the day. We had people flying out of Nashville, Memphis, Pensacola, and Huntsville to name a few, with connecting flights in Miami and Charlotte. All of us arriving in San Jose, Costa Rica to be greeted by Minor Perez, one of our Costa Rican translators, as well as the others who arrived a day early-Jessie Pitts, Malvin and Moriah Allgood.

The greatest blessing of the day was the ease with which we made it through the airport and customs. We had no problems going through customs individually. Everyone claimed their bags, then they were all piled on a cart, and rolled to our buses! The most work we had to do was to help load all the luggage on top and inside the bus. The Lord was on our side today and we pray that He will continue to watch over us as we work to spread His Word here.

We were able to see some beautiful sights as we made our way up the mountain this afternoon! Even though we ran into some rain along the way, the view from the mountains was breath-taking, especially for those who were here for the first time. The best way to introduce you to Costa Rica is to show you the beauty found in it's landscape. God's creation cannot be grasped in pictures, but is best beheld with your own eyes. We are certainly going to be seeing some gorgeous scenery while journeying through this country and I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I do!

I'm happy to announce that while I'm finishing up this blog, Joe Robert's group has arrived at the hotel and we will be giving them a shortened orientation so we can all get to bed and rest up before we start full swing tomorrow! We have a full list of things to do--Bible class, worship service, sorting medicine, organizing VBS and door-knocking!

On some funny notes: Garrett Best is the rule breaker of the year--Flip Flops are not allowed anywhere but at the hotel and he managed to make it the whole trip with them on...May the foot fungus have mercy on him...We also discovered there are a range of topics you can cover on a bus trip with people you've never met before--the most popular one was childhood television shows.

We ask that all of you back home in the States continue to keep our efforts in your prayers and check back in tomorrow for another nightly update.

"Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things."Matthew 6:31-32

I'm thankful that this trip is in God's hands and that He is providing for all of our needs. 

In Christian love,

Leah Wright

Thursday, May 24

Here we go!

We are about 24 hours from departing for Buenos Aires, Costa Rica for the first of three mission trips this summer.  The past 2 weeks has been as crazy as any I have seen.  For real!  Our trip down south to take supplies to load in the container at Islamorada was crazy and will go down as one of the more memorable trips I have taken.  It will be a funny story in the future but blowing up the engine in the church van (literally, as the song goes, "Great Balls of Fire!") at 2:00 in the morning during a torrential down pour was anything but a laughing matter (on Mother's Day no less).  Meeting Pete, the tow truck operator, who got himself stuck in the mud while trying to rescue us, was interesting to say the least.  Being from Alabama and Joe and Steve Jones being from Mississippi, you would think we would be able to understand southern/country accents pretty well... but Pete was in another league of his own!  It took 2 additional tow trucks and the State Troopers shuting down I-65 for about 45 minutes (don't you know how popular we were for the drivers backed up for miles!)  However, on the flip side, we got the container loaded in a record 1 hour and 15 minutes, including Steve Schneider's last minute run from Mobile with 141 boxes of supplies!  To make it even more amazing, the truck left Islamorada at 11:00 am on Wednesday AND THE CONTAINER WAS IN HONDURAS FRIDAY NIGHT!  Has be be an all-time Torch record for fastest delivery!!!  GOD IS GOOD!

After getting back my job was to finish the journal, which was about about one month late.  I wrote the first 6 days to the journal with no problem but then finals, school ending, closing the door, and a multitude of other things (including writer's block) set in and the journal just sat on the computer, staring back at me daring me to finish it.  This past Monday (4 days ago) I woke up, took the bull by the horns, and conquered the rest of the journal in about 6 hours.  I got it to the printers at 9:00 pm on Monday and they said my 230 copies would be ready Thursday afternoon.  Cutting it close, but hey, I am used to that!  To my amazement, I got a call Wednesday afternoon around 3:00 from the printers telling me the journal was already done!  GOD IS GOOD!

But the biggest stresser in my life has been the government of Costa Rica.  During spring break we met with everyone that was anyone to find out exactly what we had to do to get our medical team and medicines into Costa Rica for the mission trip.  They gave us the list, told us to have it to them 30 days before arrival, and I set out to do all the things they asked for with the help of many people, including Minor Perez.  We turned everything in 30 days in advance, and began the waiting game.  1 week ago they dropped another stipulation on us that caused us to scramble once again.  Wednesday (2 days ago) we still had not received the paperwork needed and my stress level with to code red.  Then Thursday night, 1 phone call changed it all.  Minor called and said he had the needed documents and sent them by email to me.  I forwarded the documents to everyone carrying meds in by suitcase to make sure copies of the documents were in each one, and now, less than 24 hours before departure, everything is done!  GOD IS GOOD!

So, Saturday, May 26th, 54 begin the mission trip to Buenos Aires.  During the trip we are going to conduct a 4 day medical clinic at 2 different Indian Reservations; 5 days of VBS at 4 different schools (about 1,000 children total) with Kim Fussell teaching; 5 day gospel meeting with Joe Roberts preaching; 4 day men's seminar class with Wayne Scott teaching; 4 day ladies seminar class with Linda Moran teaching; 5 day children's class with Debbie Kirk and Brooke Smith teaching; building a classroom for the church; door knocking; and other projects I don't even know about yet that Daniel Chaves, the preacher, has planned for us!  It is going to be a busy trip to say the least! 

Keep us in your prayers.  GOD IS GOOD  and he is faithful.  May He alone be glorified in what we do.  ARISE!


Wednesday, May 16

loading up

This morning the container going to Honduras is being loaded.  Little Joe and his dad Steve traveled with me with a trailer full of supplies to Islamorada Key.  We arrived Monday afternoon after a 46 hour ordeal of breakdowns and rescues.  Thank you Brett and Judy Mitchell for being the heroes of the day by providing a vehicle for us to use to get down here!  We are staying at Ken and Sandi's house and we have had a great time visiting and talking about the trip this summer.  Steve Schneider, from Mobile, is doing an all night drive and should be arriving within the hour to deliver his supplies to go on the container.  All in all we have collected nearly 500 boxes of supplies for the two teams from clothes to playground equipment.

We will leave here to travel to Sarasota to see Nate and Karen and the Florida gang.  We will be picking up the Torch tee shirts there too.  It will be the first look at the shirts and i am excited to get them.  When I get back to Henderson I will finish the last couple of pages of the journal and get it printed.  Journals and tee shirts will be in the mail very soon.

Tuesday Little Joe and Garrett Best will come to Freed-Hardeman to sort and pack the medicines that will be going down to Costa Rica.  Once that is done all of the major things will be done for the trip.  We are now just days away from departure and the excitement is building as I am receiving multiple emails everyday asking last minute questions.  And, believe it or not, we are still waiting on paper work from some of the team members.  And flight information.  Yep, procrastination is alive and well in Torch land.

Time to go.  The truck should be arriving within the hour and we have a lot to do before it gets here.  Take care and I will post more information soon!