Our Mission Statement

Saturday, June 30


One of the cool things about this trip is that with the size of our group, we are able to have a lot of projects going at one time. We had people mixing concrete (the Honduran way... all by hand...), running chain-link fencing, working in the garden, and an incredible group heading up VBS. Here's something you guys should know...the people working in the garden the past two days? Are total beasts. The ground here is hard and rocky and resembles nothing of the dark, rich soil in your backyard at home (I would say my backyard, but let's be honest...I don't garden). I've never seen people work so hard on a project and I know that in the future, that garden is going to be an incredible resource for the community.  

Through VBS and the time afterwards, several of the team members got to hang out with some of the kids in the village. Getting to know the children of the community is always fun, and chances are when your son or daughter gets back to the states and you ask (after they have slept for 14 hours straight), "What was your favorite part?" Most likely they are going to say that the kids are the best. In fact, they will show you approximately 384 pictures of every child they met. :) The children are sweet and playful and ready and willing to correct your spanish....and introduce you to their dog and their three siblings and maybe even show you how to swing a pick-axe or the correct way to shovel gravel...children don't mind the language barrier, they embrace it. It's a very special experience to spend time with them. 

Kennedy, one of the sweet interns for the summer shared some of her thoughts about VBS today...

"VBS exceeded my expectations. We had around 70 kids who were really focused on the lesson and ready to learn. The actors in the skit were excellent. The team that prepared everything for VBS did an amazing job at creating the "Bible time" look. We had games and snacks for the children afterward. All in all, it was a really good day. I look forward to the rest of the week and the VBS's to come!"

Before devo tonight, the team spent some time sharing ways that God's guidance has been made visible to us. His timing is incredible and he constantly has his hand in everything. It's amazing. 

I asked around tonight for some photo submissions and WHOA. These people love to take some pictures. I have a few hundred, but lucky for you I'm not going to post all of them here tonight. :)

Everyone is safe and in good health...we love and miss you all!

Kathryn :)

Friday, June 29

Getting Our Hands Dirty

Today we went to visit a small community of people living just outside Catacamas. To get an idea of what this village looks like and how the people live, there are about 270 people living in 60 houses. It's pretty cramped. The community surrounds a two and half acre lot that is devoted only to community-use. There is one church in the whole village, a Church of Christ, and it sits right on the corner of this lot. Pretty cool.
The community leaders have a great deal planned for this lot: tilapia pond, a well, a garden, and two brick ovens. Honestly, I think this space has the potential to greatly affect the lives of the people in this community. With our group of about 60 people, we were able to get a lot accomplished today. The garden was started, the latrine was painted, as well as had screens put in and electrical work done. One of the biggest tasks of the day was putting up a chain-link fence around the perimeter. (An agricultural school nearby is ready to donate and plant fruit trees on the property, on the condition that there is a fence in place first.)
We are half-way through with the fencing today and will head back out to complete it as well as the garden and other projects on the grounds. I'm not going to lie, the work isn't easy and I'm going to go ahead and just put it out there that someone nearly ten years younger than me had to teach me how to swing a pick-axe. (Hello, sore muscles!) Clearly we are not a team of professionals. HA. But the work is incredibly rewarding...not only did we make a lot of progress, but we got to work alongside members of the community, digging trenches and wiring chain-link. Very cool experience.

The creatives among us worked super hard all day prepping for VBS. I heard they have some AMAZING things planned for tomorrow. It's going to be awesome. I think we are expecting about 85 children but Honduras is full of surprises so who knows how many extra will show up (an awesome problem to have!) Oh and about Honduran surprises? We had a downpour at about 5:00 this afternoon at the work site as we were wrapping up. It had been such a hot day, no one complained. :)

It's been an awesome first day and I think there is going to be some great work done tomorrow, too.

We love and miss you all, so I'm going to ask you guys a favor. One of the best things you guys can do for us at home is to pray. Here are a couple of things we would love for you to pray for: 1) A well for the people of this village. The community has worked so hard for so long and several things have fallen through in their journey to bringing a well to their village. Please pray that God will make some things happen for them, as He is awesome and faithful to do. 2) Pray for our efforts here in Catacamas. Along with all the labor we are doing, we want to show Christ to these people. Pray that we will be able to show these people God's love in everything we do.

I know some people have asked about us streaming our devos live online for you guys to watch, so we will start that up Monday night when we get back to Tegucigalpa. I'll give you directions later for how you can watch it! 

Love you guys. Have a goodnight. :)

Thursday, June 28

We Have Arrived!

Hello, friends and family!

Everyone on Team #1 arrived safely in Tegucigalpa around lunch time (three different flight arrivals, all of them made it just fine!) And amazingly everyone seems to have their luggage.

 We sampled the local food (Burger King, Church's Chicken, Little Caesars) and then loaded up the two buses for a five hour, very hot/sweaty/glamorous bus ride to Catacamas where we will be until Sunday. Bus rides in Honduras are a very unique experience in that you get to test the strength of anti-nasua medications. Catacamas is a much smaller town than Tegucigalpa, after driving around a few blocks we had seen pretty much everything here.

We ate some truly delicious Honduran cuisine and then checked into the hotel where we will be staying. The hotel is very very nice and by this point in the day, even if the rooms only had a pillow and a bed we all would have considered this a luxury resort... we are all just that kind of tired.

Oh, and by the way, my name is Kathryn Begnaud and I will be one of the people updating the blog for Team #1. This is not my first time in Honduras, but it is my first time with Torch and I'm really excited to be a part of it. Something really wonderful I've already noticed about this group is that we have some that have been coming to Honduras for so many years their passport is full and some people who are leaving the US for the very first time to come here. It's very cool to be a part of each other's experiences. But the bottom line is: it's not about us. This trip isn't about us and I can't wait to see what God has planned over the next week and a half.

We love all of you!
Kathryn :)

ps. These are a few quick pics I got today, nothing fancy. I will try and get others on the trip to contribute their photos as well.

Friday, June 22


Our counter shows 5 days and counting for Hondo team #1!  For those of us on the Advance Team (17), we are now 3 days from departure!  All energy is focused on Honduras after a very successful trip to Costa Rica a couple of weeks ago.  For the past 2 weeks I have been emailing back and forth to various people in Honduras getting the last minute details worked out (worked out as well as you can considering it is Honduras...) and getting everything ready to go.  Full Steam ahead!

Team #1, 60 strong, will arrive Thursday and, after clearing customs and retrieving luggage, will load up and go directly to Catacamas, in the Olancho Province, about 4 1/2 hours outside of Tegucigalpa.  We will be working with the Tomkins, who are full time missionaries there, along with the local church that meets there.  We have a variety of projects that we will be involved with during the 2 full days of work, from putting up a perimeter fence to building church benches.  It will be a full 2 days of work and we will cap it off with worship services before heading back to Tegucigalpa Sunday afternoon.  While in Tegucigalpa the team will engage in several mission works including construction, visitation, distribution, and service projects.  Mark Adams, youth minister from the Old Hickory Church of Christ in Nashville, will be our speaker fro the evening devotionals.  Tim O'Dell, from the Collegeside Church of Christ in Cookville, will be organizing our morning devotionals.  Pat Guthrie (Tricky Pat) and Tyler Steffy will be heading up the construction crews and our interpreters for the first team will be Nayane and her husband Lauro (they are getting married THIS WEEKEND!!!), talking about love and dedication!  What a wonderful way to start off your marriage than to do a week of mission work?  Awesome!  Joining them will be Jennifer Williams, Minor Perez, and Julia Morgan.  Great team, can't wait to work with all of you!

Team #2 will arrive Saturday, July 7th, the day the 1st team leaves!  For the interns and I, there will be ZERO down time between trips!  What an emotional flip flop we will be doing as we say tearful goodbye to the 1st team and then rejoice with the arrival of the 2nd team!  Similar to the first team, the 2nd team will clear customs, claim baggage, and will immediately take off for Choluteca, near the Pacific Coast of Honduras.  This team 70 will battle the heat (understatement!) for 4 days as we do multiple projects and ministries there.  Our plans include doing a medical clinic, finish building a playground for the school, conduct a clothing / shoes distribution, various service projects, conduct a gospel meeting, conduct a VBS, and play some soccer!  Terry Chapman, from the South Trail Church of Christ, Sarasota, FL, will be preaching the meeting.  His wife, Gwen, and Diane Adams, will be co-teaching a ladies Bible class. Wednesday we will head back to Tegucigalpa for a full round of work projects.  We will be visiting the hospital, Blind School, Special Needs Orphanage, Didasko, build houses, and service projects.  Big Steve Johnson, from the Bell Shoals Church of Christ in Tampa, will be our speaker for the evening devotionals.    Our interpreters for the trip will be Rodolfo Hererra, Esperanza Massana, Jennifer Williams, Minor Perez, and Julia Morgan.  Brian Steffy will be in charge of the construction teams, Jenny Lovell in charge of shopping... for fruits and vegetables at the open air market!), and Brett Mitchell organizing the morning devotionals.  Another awesome team!

I am so blessed to be able to work with so many different people, many of whom have been going with me for several years now.  As the veterans welcome in the rookies, let's get ready for some hard work, challenging ministries, and incredible opportunities that await us.  As out theme says, "ARISE!"  It is time to go!!!


Monday, June 11

The Costa Rica wrap up

This was the 2nd year for Torch Missions to work in Costa Rica.  The team of 52 from the States joined forces with several nationals in Buenos Aires to work with Daniel Chaves and the church that meets there.  Months of planning and preparation paid off with a great trip and a lot of memories along the way.

Because of cost of airline tickets the team arrived at different times on different carriers.  Some landed five days before the main group (3), some two days (2), and some one day (4), while the main team staggered in from mid-morning till late afternoon on Saturday, May 26th.  The Cookville, TN group had a flight delay and did not arrive at the hotel in Buenos Aires until late Saturday night.  Sunday morning was the first time the whole team saw each other as we loaded up the buses and headed to the church building for the first of many meals to be eaten there.  The Ladies from the congregation, headed by Meribel, Daniel's wife, prepared delicious meals three times a day for our team.  With the staples of beans and rice we enjoyed different kinds of meats and fruits and some of the best bread around!  I don't believe any one's waistline's shrank any while we were there!

Garrett Best taught the Sunday morning Bible class and Daniel preached the morning lesson.  The time spent together in worship was inspirational and started the trip off on a high note.  After lunch we broke into several teams and work began.  The VBS team began practicing skits and reviewing lessons for the week while another team went out to go door knocking.  The medical team went back to the hotel to begin sorting medicines and applying labels to the pill bottles.  This job turned out to be a two day project because of the sheer amount of medicine we brought into the country for the clinics! (26 suitcases full of medicines and supplies)      

The gospel meeting kicked off Sunday night with Eduardo, one of the preachers who came to work the campaign, preaching the lesson.  Joe Roberts, from Cookville, TN, spoke Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and the last sermon was preached by Christian, Daniel's son-in-law.  During the meeting we had about 15 responses, including 2 baptisms!  Several Bible studies were conducted during the door knocking and other studies were set up for Daniel to do after we left.  The nightly attendance averaged between 80-100, not counting the children, who had a separate class during the meeting.  The children's class was taught by Debbie Kirk and Brooke Smith, both from Corinth, MS, along with several helpers.  Sunday night the class started off small with about 18 in attendance, but each night the class got larger.  By the last night there were over 60 children in class!  Even though the class was meeting in a carport about 100 feet away from the church building we could easily hear them singing and participating in the activities!

The VBS team performed 5 times during the week at different schools and the church building.  In all about 335 children learned about the apostle Peter.  Kim Fussell did a great job teaching the lessons, and Garrett Best (minister at Oliver Creek in Memphis) did a fantastic job with the skits and taking on the lion's share of the translating. Blake McCaskill, the youth minister from Oliver Creek in Memphis, did not keep his lack of Spanish skills keep him from going all out on the skits!  Joe Jones, Leah Wright, Joel Fussell, along with several others worked in the skits and helped out with the VBS to make it one the kids will not soon forget.

The medical team, 1 doctor, 1 nurse practitioner, 1 dentist, and 4 nurses, along with several helpers and translators, went to two different Indian Reservations to conduct two separate free medical clinics.  According to Dr. Matt Bolton, Cookville, TN, the medical team saw around 150 patients during the two days.  Unfortunately we were not able to work all 4 days as originally planned because we lacked one permit to finish up the clinics.  Only God, Minor Perez, and I know the full extent of the mountain of paperwork we had to fill out, permits to be issued, and meetings that were conducted that got the medicines and medical team into the country to work.  Many thanks to Tim Hines and the DOZENS of government officials that worked with us to get the permissions and permits that we needed.  According to Daniel Chaves, Eduadro, Christian, and other preachers, we were the first medical team to come into Costa Rica through the churches of Christ to work with full knowledge of the government in the past 50 years.  And, now that we have met with just about everyone that could possibly be involved in issuing the permits, medical teams in the future should be a lot easier to bring in!

Rain, rain, and more rain kept us from finishing the classroom we started to build for the congregation.  The children had been meeting under the palm trees in between the church building and the house for Sunday school and that was the site picked for the classroom pavilion we began.  The only thing lacking is the roof which Daniel and the members will complete.  Once the roof is on gravel will be ordered and placed inside to keep the ground from getting muddy.  It will be a nice addition for the church and will allow the kids to have class every Sunday, rain or shine.  And believe me, during rainy season, you can count on rain!  It rained every day were were there, and I am not talking about a small spring shower, either, but powerful rain and wind.  However, except for the construction, the rain did not slow us down very much at all and we did not have to alter plans very much.  Our 6 1/2 days in Bunos Aires was awesome and ran about as smoothly as you can expect working in another country with a different culture.  As Merdock from the A Team would say, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Our final few days were spent sightseeing at a retreat in the northern part of Costa Rica at La Fortuna, next to the Arenal Volcano.  Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is a spectacular sight!  We went to the Baldi Hot Springs Resort to enjoy a day at the thermo-springs that uses water that is heated by the volcano, and stayed at the Los Lagos Hotel.  We enjoyed the hot springs and food, and some ventured out on a boat ride (I wonder if anyone sang the theme song to Gilligan's Island?) on the lake beside the volcano while others did the canopy zip lines.  We certainly had an adventurous bunch!

Our last devos were held in the convention room at the hotel and the acoustics were as good as the chapel at Villa Graicas in Tegucigalpa!  The singing was wonderful and inspirational.  Jesse Pitts did a great job leading the singing along with Malvin Algood.  Leah Wright did a great job posting blogs to keep everyone back home updated on the trip.  You will have to talk to individual members to find out any of the "behind the scenes" stuff that did not make it to the blog!  Lots of laughs to say the least! 

Monday departures saw the end of the team as we knew it and everyone returned home safe and sound.  In a few weeks, after my Honduras teams have returned from their trips, work will begin once again for the 2013 trips.  I already have a brand new team from Virginia signed up and ready to go!  Thanks to everyone that went on the trip this year, to the congregations who sent you, the family and friends that supported you, and the ones who made all of this possible.  It was an awesome trip and one I will not soon forget.  Farewell until next time, and as they say in Costa Rica, "PURA VIDA!"


Monday, June 4

A Common Love

This morning, we had another opportunity to sleep late, though I'm not sure many of us did. Some of us, myself included, began our day with a hike up to the observatory. It was even uphill both ways! In my opinion, it was well worth it to wake up a little bit early to see the stunning landscape around the volcano especially since the weather was nice. After everyone packed up their suitcases and loaded them on the bus, we had a worship service in a room the hotel allowed us to use. Our group leader, Terry Reeves, brought our lesson which was a story about how things in life always come back to you. While we have been serving the church here in Costa Rica, we have gained just as much. "It is better to give than to receive." We also sang one of my favorite songs:

"A common love for each other. A common gift to the Savior. A common bond holding us to the Lord. A common strength when we're weary. A common hope for tomorrow. A common joy in the truth of God's Word."

As Christians, we have a lot in common. We are all striving to serve the same God and He is what brings us together. We have a special connection with Daniel and his family. He and Meribel work so hard with the church in Buenos Aires and are also putting their daughter Jennifer through college. They are trying to  do a lot with very little income so this week we decided to take up a collection for their family. At the end of our church service on Sunday morning, we collected a total of $1,007! WOW! Who could have imagined that just over 50 people would give so willingly, but I know how easy it is to fall in love with Daniel's family and all of our hearts were touched by working with them the past 10 days. The last day is always the hardest because you have to say goodbye, unless you're Meribel who says "see you later." When you fall in love with the people here and the beautiful country, it makes it very hard to leave.

Right now, I'm sitting in the airport after waking up at 3 AM in order to get here in time. For those of you who checked the blog this morning and found nothing I apologize! With such an early morning start I did not have a chance to finish the blog last night. 26 members of the group are currently in the airport awaiting their flights. In a matter of a few hours, many of us will be back in the States and almost home. It's been a pleasure being your blogger for the week. I hope you've enjoyed reading about the work we have been doing and I wish I could have told all the stories we have from the trip, but some are better told in person anyways. I'm thankful to have come here with such a great group of people. All the groups were a blessing to meet: The group from Cookeville who came with Joe Roberts, the Memphis group from Oliver Creek church of Christ, the small group from Gulf Shores, AL that Thad Butts brought, and the other random people from Freed and other places. Well it's about time to board, so I'm signing off for the summer. I hope you have all been encouraged and are maybe even considering joining us next year! Please be praying for safe travels for all of us!!

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


Saturday, June 2

Este es el Dia

This is the day!

Baldi Hot Springs. I think that's enough to describe our day. Our group enjoyed their day of freedom and relaxation. Spending hours in hot springs, getting massages, doing a zip-line tour, and taking a boat ride around the volcano sums up the different activities for the day. One of my favorite things a few of us did was singing in the hot springs. It began to rain while we were there, so we escaped to a small covered corner only to discover the acoustics were wonderful. I can't imagine much of anything being more relaxing than singing praises to God while sitting in a pool of hot spring water. Another group had the opportunity to go on a boat ride to see the other side of the volcano...I've heard the boat's name was the S.S. Minnow. Everyone that I've talked to said the zip-line tour was amazing. They saw some beautiful scenery and had a great time together. Right now, there's a group swimming in the hot springs here at the hotel...in fact, after I post this, I hope to be joining them. Our devo tonight was given by Joel Fussell. He prepared an excellent lesson using Philippians 2:1-5:

"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus"

He asked us to think about the reasons behind why we came here on this mission trip. Was it for the praise we would get back home? Or to serve God and to further His kingdom. It is important to understand why we are serving so we are doing it from a pure heart. Our purpose in coming down here was to lead others to Christ and to honor Him through our service. We hope that we have served in a way that has been pleasing to God and that the church in Buenos Aires will continue to grow. 

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


Friday, June 1

It's a Long Windy Road

It's been a long day...our journey began a little after 5 this morning. Unfortunately, not long after we were making our way up the mountain one of the buses broke down. Those of us on that bus packed into the other two buses and continued our trip up and stopped to eat breakfast. There we took our time eating and waited for the new bus to make it's way up to where we were. Finally, about 11 we were all good to go.  Our day which began picture perfect, turned into a mix of clouds and torrential rainstorms. Thankfully, we arrived at Los Lagos, our hotel by the Arenal Volcano, ten minutes before we were hoping to! The buffet was ready for us when we got here so after we checked in and received our wristbands for the weekend, we sat down to eat. Then, devo and announcements followed, and we are currently unloading luggage from all of the buses so everyone can get to their rooms and go to bed. Exhaustion has really set in for a lot of us...and because of that, what happens on the bus, stays on the bus...or at least I hope so. A relaxing day is ahead of us at the Baldi Hot Springs tomorrow and I know we are all looking forward to it. Glad to have made it safely to our destination. Thankful that God had His hand in all that happened today and kept us safe.

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