Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blog Invasion & News

Since I have been in the states - somebody has been attacking my blog. I have it set up so that any new post to my blog is emailed to me. Well, for the past few days, I open my email and find that I have made a new post in the middle of the night - when I thought I was asleep.........
The new postings are strange and mostly some sort of advertising - I sign in and delete them.
The inconvenience doesn't agitate me as much as the fact that there are people out there in cyberspace that actually take the time to figure out how to get into a place that belongs to somebody else. I don't understand the how's and certainly don't understand the why's.
This little place on the internet isn't special and there likely aren't more than a couple of hundred people that regularly read it ...... Oh well. I have made a few changes and hopefully this will cure my invasion. If you open this space and see anything but a "BLOG" please ignore it and please don't open up any attachments. I really believe that the invasion came from my email so - if you have recieved any "advertising" emails from me or things that look like "pass alongs" I didn't send them - the person that invaded my computer did it. No es mi culpa!
Good things have been happening on the work front -
Since we have been home, we have news that we now have a bus that will be converted into a Mobile Clinic! The bus is in Mississippi right now and my friend Wally Sweedenberg and his son are repairing all the bugs - from there the conversion will begin. The plan is to have two exam tables and one chair that can combo for dental or eye care. Hope to ship the bus down in early spring!
More good news! The AIM (Adventure in Missions) program in Lubbock approved our application for a team. The class of 2008 will graduate in April and 3 to 4 grads will be joining us - specifically to work with the Mobile Clinic. The medical staff will treat physical needs and the AIM team will work with Spiritual needs.
Other news - Terri & I will be travelling to Mississippi this weekend to take care of bus business, banking for Casa & TORCH, & joining the Tupelo church on Sunday night for their kick off for TORCH.
I have also been asked to preach and teach in Topeka, KS on the 9th of September. Please pray for this. The Central Church is about 500 strong and is interested in our ministry - especially TORCH.
Be a Blessing!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

TORCH Summer Summary

What a summer in Honduras. I arrived on June 11th - a short week after Nicole's wedding and there was already a TORCH team working. The Mark Connell / Larry Sawyer group arrived about a week before me and they had already been very busy building, feeding, teaching, and - well, just being the hands and feet of Jesus. This team was a mix of folks from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. This group was about 60 strong and didn't quit until it was time to go home. This is also the team that had been the "trainers" for three of the four men that I was blessed to work with for the summer - Bret Flannery & Andy Sawyer are from Louisville and cousin Stephen Sawyer is from Indiana. Bret just graduated from Lipscomb and Stephen and Andy are seniors at Harding. (My other work partner was Andy Hubright from Lipscomb). These guys are the best TORCH Builders that I have ever worked with! (my groups have built over 180 houses so - I've seen a lot of builders)

Anyway, the Connell/ Sawyer team built about 16 houses and packed out several tons of food. This team - as usual also worked right in the heart of the rainy season - so almost every day on the mountain- it rained - (drops as big as small cars) - and rained, and rained.

In the midst of the second week of the Connell/ Sawyer team, a group of 35 from Ohio - led by Donna (Dynamo) Brothers. This group of 100% first-timers worked nonstop for the 8 or so days that they were in Hondo. Donna - assisted by Jen Wright led this team in building more than 10 houses, delivering about 5 tons of food, teaching and loving 100's of kids, touching the lives of even more children at several of the area children's homes, and many other projects.

Right on the heels of the Brothers team, the combo groups of Gayle Davidson - Melbourne, FL & Mark Halbert of Tupelo, MS - This group of 100 came to work and work they did! There were multiple house building teams, medical teams, VBS groups, food distribution groups, and many great things were done in a bunch of comunities. Here are the numbers - there were 19 houses and 2 Sunday School Classrooms constructed, there were at least 5 days of medical clinics in many communities including - Santa Ana, San Migual, and others. More than 1000 people were treated for their medical needs by this team. This team also delivered about 18,000 pounds of food to really hungry people, they led 1000's of children in VBS, there were 100's of visits to children in hospitals, and the lives of both Honduran's and the mission team were changed forever.

As soon as the group from Florida/ Mississippi departed, we were blessed to have the team from the Campus Church in Atlanta. This small group was amazing in both their willingness to work and the love that they showed to the people of Honduras. Led by Kin & Donna Ellis, the 18 folks started their week by building a home for a young mother and her 8 day old baby. What a blessing to see this team work through the day in a total downpour to make sure that a baby could live in a warm dry place. This smaller team spent other days at children's homes, in Hospital Esquala, at the special needs orphanage, and working in communities where the needs are impossible to describe. Everywhere they went, they were a blessing to the people they met and they were blessed in return. This group delivered food to more than 4oo families and also helped two children's homes with food supplies.

Before the Ellis Team was on their way to Roatan, the first of the two Terry Reeves teams arrived. I was personally blessed by this first team because they arrived on the same day that I needed to finish closing out our old warehouse and moving it to our new warehouse. The Reeves group sent in an army of workers to help with this nasty-dirty-stinky project and we knocked it out in a short 4 hours. This team also rescued us by arriving just in time to unload a massive container - (it just happened that it was the Reeves container and it could be that the timing of the release from customs was arranged so that it had to be unloaded on the date that the Reeves team arrived....could be?) Anyway - the 60 folks from Terry's team arrived over a 3 day period and - once on the ground, they focused on work in children's homes, in hospitals, in food distribution, VBS, and in construction. This team built 5 houses, they distributed more than 20,000 pounds of food, blessed 1000's of kids - and all of this in only 6 days. The team was only in Tegucigalpa for this short time as they also planned work in Southern Honduras. Down south, the team worked in laying concrete in the floor of a new church building, in medical clinics, in building a massive playground for children at the new church, in VBS, and in touching and changing the lives of everyone that they came into contact with.

Terry Reeves - Part 2 arrived next. This team came from Columbia, SC and was about 45 strong. There is one part of this team that loves to dig footers and lay concrete and for 8 days, that is what they did. A new day care facility is being constructed in San Miguel and everyday at 7 AM a group of gringo's went to work mixing concrete (HONDO Style). It is painful to think about the sore muscles that were part of life for this group. While the concrete was being mixed and poured - the rest of the team was building houses, delivering food, treating the sick, teaching about Jesus, and serving others. This team built 4 houses, delivered over 20,000 pounds of food, held clinics that treated over 1000, and worked to change the lives of everyone that they met.

Toward the end of the work for Reeves II, my team from all over the country came in. We were blessed to be able to share meals, devotionals, and the mission house with the group from SC for about 3 days. The Tindall team was about 87 strong and came ready and loaded for work. We were sent out every day as builders, comforters (at Hospital Esquala), teachers - in VBS & evangelism, feeders (packing and distribution of food), and in many other ministries. The team had 2 to 4 people working and staying at Casa de Esperanza every day, there was at least 8 team members that dedicated their day to being Jesus for the kids at the hospital - every day. The builders finished 21 houses and continuing into the next team - finished the 24 that were the goal. (More houses from this team will be built in September when I am permanently in Hondo) There were 28 baptisms that resulted from the work done by the evangelism part of this team. More than 12,000 pounds of food was deliered to hungry families. Work was done in more than 6 different communities. Medical teams treated more than 1000 in the 5 days of clinics - many in places where people hadn't seen a doctor in years - if ever. Everyone on this team was a blessing and was blessed by the work that was accomplished.

The last group of the season arrived on July 28th - from the Lexington Church in South Carolina. The group of 18 was led by Tom Gilroy and all but one or two were first timers. It is always great to be with first timers in Honduras and to see them open their eyes to the needs of the "real world" ... to see their faces with they look into the eyes of the children and see Jesus looking back at them. It is amazing to see the tears flow from the eyes of the tough guys when they stand to pray with a family that has a new house - only because our God chose these "tough guys" to come to Honduras to be a part of an answered prayer. I like to take first timers to Hospital Esquala to see their reaction to the children that lie in the cancer ward or in the area of the hospital where the kids were found to be starving to death.
I saw all of this with the Lesington Team and I saw my friend Jesus in them and the way they reacted to the people and the needs that they came to serve. This team built 3 more houses and delivered more than 6,000 pounds of food to some really hungry people. They showed the compassion of Jesus, they touched lives and their own lives were touched in return. As a matter of fact, 2 members of the same family - Sasha & Demi Lane both saw Jesus very clearly and both confessed his name and were baptized. Pray for them as they begin their walk.

I would be remiss if I didn't also commend the Spring Break team from Belpre, Ohio - about 40 strong. This team built more than 10 houses and worked in many areas. Led by Jennifer Wright (director of Casa de Esperanza) the team fed, taught, loved, and blessed many many people from both Honduras and the Ohio.

The year has seen more than 475 TORCH Team members in Honduras. (Terry Reeves also led a team of 30+ to Brazil and several of his first group travelled to El Salvador.) Our teams this year have distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food, they have treated more than 3000 in medical clinics, they have built at least 95 houses and Sunday School classrooms for 2 different congregations, There have been 100's of visits made to childen in the hospial, children's homes were a part of every groups ministry, VBS happened almost every day of the summer, countless numbers of people studied the gospel and 28 people chose Jesus to be the Lord of their lives.
Our God is an AWESOME GOD!
It has been a great year in Honduras.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


A great thought for today! This is an absolutely incredible interview with Rick Warren, author of "Purpose Driven Life." His wife now has cancer, and he now has "wealth" from the book sales. In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
"People ask me, "What is the purpose of life?" And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body--but not the end of me.I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.No matter how good things are in your life, there is alwayssomething bad that needs to be worked on.And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain."But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder.
For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book
sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness?Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list.He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD. "

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Good Tired

I'll admit it. I am tired.
Since coming to Honduras on June 11th, I haven't been able to take a full day off and most of the days are from 5:30 AM to about 10:00 to 10:30 PM. I'm tired but it is a really good tired.
I have been blessed to be a part of amazing ministry this summer. God has introduced me to some true servants and allowed me to work shoulder to shoulder with them.
I have learned a bunch of Spanish and am now to the point of feeling totally inadequate - I know just enough to know how little I do know........ I am anxious to be able to take two or three weeks of language school in the fall.
The work here is growing and that too could be overwhelming - I am learning to look at individuals and what we are able to do - one soul at a time and that makes it easier.
I am blessed with the best job in the world and would like to thank all that are participating.
I'll be posting a full report for the work of the summer next week.