The past few weeks have been busy and I wanted to give you an update on the happenings.
- Just days before their arrival, our October TORCH group seemed to be falling apart. We had one lady that fell ill and another person had passport issues. The night before the group arrival, we had another person that was called to a major business meeting - our team of 8 went to 5 and Terri & I weren't sure how everything would turn out. Well, we shouldn't have worried. This little team was amazing. In our time together, we were able to build a couple of houses, provide a water connection to another home, work in a feeding center for children, visit in the hospital, work with the kids at Casa, and many other things. Lives of the people here were touched and lives of the team were changed. Upon leaving, the group from California told us that they had a person in their church that wanted to give $1000 to needs that were seen while they were here. The list that was decided upon will be a blessing to many - the first of the list included help for bringing water to the home of one of the Casa workers. We were able to put about 300 ft of water line from the main line to the house while the group was here and the money will help our worker get a storage tank and a pila. The second use of the money will be to help another of our workers with adequate bedding. We found out that our worker had her whole family sleeping on one bed - five people on one refular size bed. The money will provide for a new bunk that will mean that no more than 2 people will share a bed. There is MORE! The church in Los Pinos is feeding about 100 kids every Sunday. The cost is about $25 per week and the group is providing enough funds for 16 weeks. That $400 is enough for 1600 meals for children! That's not all - there was also money left for our kids at Casa to all get new shoes. We are planning to make this an outing where we all go to pick the shoes and then go to the Pizza Hut for food and fun. Thank you Walnut Creek Church of Christ.
- In other news, we needed to clean the warehouse so that we could be prepared to receive 3 containers. My friend Timoteo told us of needs in the southern part of the country where floods had ravaged many families and homes. We were able to load and ship a full truckload of food and clothes for the families in Chuloteca. More than 100 families were helped.
- One container arrived while the group was here and we are STILL waiting for the other 2 food containers to be released from "Custom Hostage". We really expect the release to happen today or tomorrow. The good news is that there is more than 100,000 pounds of food on these containers.
- We have been at the church in Los Pinos for the past three weeks. The first Sunday was with the group, the next Sunday was one where the youth group was presenting the service and we were asked to please be there, and this past Sunday we had people leaving immediately after chruch and we needed to be in town. Los Pinos is doing well. The church is strong and growing. There are men that have taken on leadership roles and this church is a light in the community.
- In Santa Ana, the church is going through a period of transition. Our friend Noel and his family have decided to move closer to family and will be leaving soon. Dorian - the husband to be of Karen Vaughan is now preaching at Santa Ana. Dorian is working in the community and is excited to be in this work. He will be assisted by students from Baxter. The church is averaging 45 to 50 adults and about the same number of children.
- Last week we were blessed to have the director of Adventures in Missions - part of the Sunset School- here. He brought one of the instructors with him and we were able to show and discuss much of the work and the vision of our ministry. The AIM students were choosing their mission locations last night so- hopefully we were on enough students lists that we will be getting a team. If we get a team, they will be here in May and will stay for about 20 months. Our plan for a team would be for them to work with TORCH Teams in the summer, work with the mobile clinic, work with the youth groups in Santa Ana and Los Pinos, and work in teaching bible classes to the women in the Mi Esperanza program.
- We have been working to develop more August to May TORCH teams and all of this seems to be coming together. More summer teams are coming as well. So far we have added teams from the University of Alabama in March, Atlanta in April, a new team from Kansas in late May, and a team from Kingsport , TN in July. We also just found out that the campus group from Mississippi State will be joining our original July team. These are all in addition to the other teams that will be coming in the summer.
2008 will be a busy time for TORCH. - I just about forgot- the new team from Kansas has already raised the money for a new church building in Rio Hondo as well as for building a new house.
- This week - if the weather clears up, Dorian and I are going to start building a chicken coop for the kids at Casa de Esperanza. Neither of us has a clue what we are doing but, we are hoping to be chicken farmers in a few weeks. We see this as a great way for the kids to begin to develop work routines and responsibilities. Additionally, we would like to harvest eggs and dinner. Maybe we can start Col Sanchez fried chicken down here!
- Terri and I will be in the states in December and have scheduled a lot of meetings and speaking. Our travels will take us to Little Rock, Fairview Heights, IL; Springfield, IL; Nashville, Kingsport, TN; Atlanta; Columbus, MS; and TX. Of course we will also be in Searcy to see the kids and Camille.
I guess that that is the Update for now -
Be a blessing to somebody today,