Tag Archives: David Rogers

CONNECT: Fun Times at the Men’s Retreat

-submitted by Travis Flora

This was my first year to attend a Men’s Retreat, not just at Holly Hill but anywhere. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when Evan and I signed up to attend this year. Even though we’ve been attending Holly Hill for about a year and a half now, we still don’t know many people that well. So as I thought about attending the Men’s Retreat, I was both excited and also a little nervous. It’s one thing to be around people on Sundays and Wednesdays, but something different to spend a few days tucked away at a Bible camp with people you don’t know that well.

As Tom Owens wrote in a blog about the Men’s Retreat that was published a few weeks ago, the lessons were great. Gary Knuckles did a fantastic job leading us through lessons that encourage us to be both the salt and the light of the world. It’s amazing how much you can really learn and examine about yourself when there are no outside distractions, like work, home projects, television, internet, and even family.

Just as valuable to me, though, was the “free time.” This was a chance to see my brothers in Christ “cutting loose” and having fun. You get to learn a lot about people’s character when you strip away the formality of “church” and just hang out. We have a bunch of fun-loving guys! Besides the usual sitting around talking and swapping tales, there were board games, basketball and tetherball, and several took a few hours on Saturday to take a nature hike along the trails of a state park that was within walking distance of Spring Mill Bible Camp where we stayed. The lake and cave were pretty awesome, and we even got to learn a little about our frontier past by visiting a restored frontier village complete with working mill.

And then there was Four Square. I’d never heard much about Four Square before coming to Holly Hill and finding out it is a required activity, not just for the younger men who attended, but for some of the older guys, too. It was fun to watch the older guys (David Rogers, Nick, Bryan and Kenneth) gang up on the younger guys and laugh with unrestrained joy as yet another young man was sent to the back of the line after getting victimized by another David Rogers corner shot. As I said, you learn a lot about people in situations like this…

We’ve uploaded several photos on our Facebook page that show some of the fun things we enjoyed together, including Nick Gill’s special birthday cake. Be sure to check it out. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.217670474972490.54316.138387032900835&type=1

And we’re also including links to a few YouTube clips that show some of the fun we had, fellowshipping with one another and growing closer as men in service to Christ. If the videos don’t appear below, just follow this link to our Holly Hill church of Christ YouTube Channel. Also, thanks to Gregg Stratton for sharing his videos from the retreat. http://www.youtube.com/user/HollyHillCOC?feature=mhee

When it comes to retreats and camps and other similar activities, it’s not just about learning God’s word (although that’s certainly the main emphasis), but it’s also about CONNECTing with each other. I encourage all the men at Holly Hill to make plans to attend next year.

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CONNECT is a weekly blog designed as a way for us to get to know each other better, build stronger relationships, and make us better equipped to edify one another. These blogs will highlight members of our congregation, either new converts, new members, or highlight other members to help us know each other better.


CONNECT: Fall Festival Was GREAT!

-submitted by Travis Flora

Saturday, October 29, several members of Holly Hill got together to put together our first Fall Festival. Wow, what a great time! Over 100 people attended and enjoyed an afternoon of fun and fellowship! There were great games and activities, and David Rogers tied the days’ events into a great devotional. We really appreciate Amber Collins for organizing this year’s event, plus all the others who volunteered their time and resources to make this event a reality. Let’s be sure to thank them for their efforts. Events like this don’t just happen, it takes all of us CONNECTing and working together to make it real! We’ve uploaded several dozen photos of the event on our Facebook page. Here’s the link. https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.212472262158978.53305.138387032900835&type=1

Finally, here’s a video that may have been the highlight of the day, at least to the kids. Not to reveal too much, but just imagine two things: David Rogers and Slime! Check it out!

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CONNECT is a weekly blog designed as a way for us to get to know each other better, build stronger relationships, and make us better equipped to edify one another. These blogs will highlight members of our congregation, either new converts, new members, or highlight other members to help us know each other better.


CONNECT: Our New TV Ad

-submitted by Travis Flora

Our first TV ad using our Connect. Reach. Grow. theme goes into use this week. We showed a sneak peak of it after morning worship services yesterday, but as promised, here it is again on our YouTube channel. Be sure to share the link with all your friends and be prepared to talk about what CONNECT means. We look forward to building stronger relationships with each other as we strive to serve God through Christ. A special thanks to David Rogers for creating the ad and Bryan Dill for doing an excellent job as our spokesman! For those interested, the TV ad will be shown in Frankfort Plant Board on Lifetime, USA, TBS and HGTV, at least for now. We may switch that up a little in a few weeks.

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/HollyHillCOC#p/a/u/0/zFkTjDDkLk4

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CONNECT is a weekly blog designed as a way for us to get to know each other better, build stronger relationships, and make us better equipped to edify one another. These blogs will highlight members of our congregation, either new converts, new members, or highlight other members to help us know each other better.


GROW: by David Rogers

The idea of growth is, of course, Biblical in nature. You’ll remember in John 15 Jesus using the imagery of a vine and pruning and producing fruit. Stretching all the way back to your childhood you may remember the very popular parable of the Sower from Matthew 13. I remember from my first mission trip a repeated reading of 1 Corinthians 3:6 “ I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” As much as we find references to it in Scriptures (there are plenty more besides the three listed above) we can be certain that growth clearly matters to God.

Does it matter as much to us? Physical growth certainly does. If you’ve had kids, I’ll bet there’s some wall or doorway with little growth marks climbing up the sides over the years. If you go to the gym or exercise regularly, it matters when you improve your time or can lift more weight, more easily. We mark milestones of progress in our education, our anniversaries, our jobs, and just about anything else we can find to show growth. Growth is moving forward and we certainly emphasize that  aspect of our lives.

A Christian understands that this is only one aspect of life. Even more important is the spiritual side of our existence. It would be sad if a dusty, Baptism certificate was the only mark of growth we have in that arena. Growth takes effort and a decided direction. It takes involvement that runs deeper than the appearance of religious behavior. It takes devotion.  It requires us to value very deeply our progress in our relationship with God. Even as this physical body begins to wither with age and break down, I hope our spiritual growth continues to strengthen and be strong. I hope we value growth as much as God does.


REACH: Becky Stratton Shares Honduras Memories & Photos

My thoughts and experiences from the recent mission trip to Honduras:  I will admit the trip was at times exhausting, but the passion that we saw in our fellow Christians in Honduras was enough for us to press on.  We spent hours in travel, not just in flight, but more in drive time.  The group of 13 traveled in three trucks, and we were often carrying additional passengers from Mission Lazarus or the Limon community.  It was an interesting experience, to say the least, winding up, down, and around the mountains, on sometimes very rocky roads. 

On Sunday morning, we were off to church at the Limon Church of Christ.  I think we were all a little nervous, but at the same time, we were very excited.  Although the building was not plush like our building at Holly Hill, the atmosphere was welcoming.  The people there were eager to have visitors, especially such a large group.  We spread out in different rows of seats and were instantly making friends of the young children.  Communication was fun and challenging.  The service there was much like what we experience each Sunday.   The singing and praise to God was a blessing to witness.  They have such enthusiasm and love, you can feel it.  We witnessed two baptisms at the end of services.  After church, we were hugged by most of the congregation and thanked for coming.  We went to try to encourage them, and yet we were the ones who felt blessed and encouraged. 

Becky and some of her new Honduran friends

After church, we went to eat at a restaurant at the beach.  Well, what can I say?  I ate fish and shrimp.  When I say fish, I mean it was the whole fish laying on the plate, teeth and all.  I was trying to be adventurous.  I learned my lesson, along with several others in the group.  Aaron Stratton, Tim Lampley, and Lyndsay Best were also sick.  After being sick all night, I awoke hoping to make it through the day without a decent toilet. As many of you have heard, I got dizzy and passed out, probably from dehydration.  Beth Crockett and Angela Best came to my rescue though, so it was not so bad.  No one wanted to miss the day’s plans, so we just refused to let it get us down.  I wasn’t there, but a group came back from food delivery and was buzzing about Tim passing out on someone’s front porch while he was praying.  He was all right, but talk about an interesting trip!  We laugh about it now!

A Honduras Fish Dinner Features The Whole Fish!

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we had food deliveries for 2-3 hours in the community of Limon.  We piled into trucks, with interns from Mission Lazarus who would do their best at interpreting, and took food to families in need.  Digna, the preacher’s wife, Alberto, and several ladies from church went with us as well.  We sang in English, and they sang in Spanish.  The guys (Aaron, Tony Crockett, Tim, Keaton Pearce, Kurgan Quissenberry, and Derrick “Big D” Taylor (better known as “De Grande”) took turns praying in English, and then Alberto or someone would pray in Spanish.  We had several songs which we sing (Thank you Lord, This is the Day) that they also sing, so we would often sing in English and Spanish.  Wow!!  We began learning parts of the songs in Spanish.  The people were so grateful for the food, and also for us traveling such a long distance to show God’s love.  As I heard Tony say to the interpreter several times, please tell them “they are blessing us”.   Yes, the housing is rough, mostly concrete blocks and some stick houses, with open windows, sometimes dirt floors, and cooking over wood.  The whole area is dirty, and the smells are bad.  Although they have little materially, these Christians are very spiritual and give glory to God for their blessings.

Digna with her husband, Ishmael, the preacher at the Limon congregation

After food deliveries, each day we had Vacation Bible School with the children at the school that is on the church grounds.  We had already met several children from church, but it didn’t take long and we were making so many friends.  The children were so loving and sweet.  They enjoy getting their picture made and would surround you to play and take their picture.

First day of VBS

 The VBS skits had to be changed a little, but the kids seemed to really enjoy it, especially when Moses parted the Red Sea, and then fell in on Pharaoh.  Ariel Lane, Tony and I were selected to read the parts for the skits in Spanish.  That was fun! Well, it was interesting, anyway!  We had crafts and various activities for the children to enjoy as well.   The guys really enjoyed playing soccer with the boys from the school.  We were a little worried because of the language barrier; however, we tried to learn as much as we could to communicate.  At the end of each day, when the kids were asked questions about the Bible story, it was exciting to see so many kids answering the questions.

The mural that David Rogers painted on the wall at the school in Limon

Wednesday night, after a quick dinner at Wendy’s in Choluteca, we went back to church in Limon for a four hour gospel meeting.  In one of the skits, they reenacted Christ being beaten and lead to the cross, then nailed and hung to die.  I think even David Rogers was impressed.  This is a church which believes in prayer and praise to God, so they pray often and joyously clap and sing.  Before, during and after church services, we were all literally surrounded by the children we had met during the week, all seeking love and attention.  Ishmael, the preacher, introduced us to the congregation, thanked us for coming, and thanked God for sending us and prayed for us.  We witnessed three more baptisms and then said our goodbyes with many hugs, thanks, and well wishes.   I’ll never forget it!

Several ladies of the church with Digna, the minister's wife, and Alberto, who went on food deliveries with us.

On Thursday morning, eight of us went horseback riding on the ranch, with a tour led by Cameron, the Project Director at Mission Lazarus.  Once again, WOW!  I actually managed a horse up and down hills, through the woods and brush, and through creeks.  I am so glad I didn’t change my mind about going.  We were all laughing and enjoying the adventure.  After the riding tour, we met Meredith, the RN and Director of Health, at the office for a walking tour of the grounds and heard more about the refugees living on the ranch.  The refugees are children, often siblings, who have been taken from parents by the government, like social services here. Mission Lazarus is given custody of the children.  The children are educated and given daily responsibilities on the ranch to help them develop a sense of self worth.  With so many Honduran children in need of homes, the mission is hoping to add more children. 

Horseback riding through the Honduras hills

Thursday afternoon we said goodbye to the interns and the ranch.  We were on our way to Tegucigalpa for the flight home on Friday.  This was an adventure in itself.  We had a caravan of four trucks driving four hours to the city.  Once again, we were winding around mountains, sometimes in the rain, with crazy driving.  To put it mildly, we were all relieved to finally get to the hotel.

Thanks to everyone who greeted us at the airport, even though the flight was delayed and we didn’t make it in until around 11:30pm!  We had a long day of travel and were all happy to be home.  We realize we are spoiled, but we were ready for the comforts of home.

I’ve left out so much, but I share my experience in hope that several of you will get excited and decide to go next year.  I pray that I will be blessed to go again next year, and that my husband, Gregg, and our oldest sons, Aaron and Jacob, will be able to go, too.  Spencer, Samuel and Savannah will have to wait a little longer.  God may also show my family a way for all of us to go together. 

Gracias a Dios (Thank God) y (and) Dios Le Bendiga (God Bless You)!

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REACH is the focus of our midweek blog. Christ’s Great Commission is for His people to “go” into the world, spreading His gospel. This includes all aspects of the good news, both teaching the Word, as well as showing the benevolence toward others that Christ showed through His living example. These blogs will highlight opportunities at Holly Hill for us to REACH into the world around us and make a difference for Christ.


REACH: Tony Crockett’s Honduras Journal

From July 23-29, several of our members went on a mission trip to Honduras to host Vacation Bible School at the Limon Church of Christ and also assist that congregation in other ways. Tony Crockett shares his memories of this life-changing trip.

Tony with one of the Alejandra's in Limon.

Mission Lazarus Trip – Jayacayan, Honduras 7/2011

Friday July 22

I just got home from work. I remember feeling very excited. It was my first real trip outside the U.S. I’ve been to Canada. No passport needed there, so where’s the excitement in that? I spent the evening packing different zip lock bags with bug repellant and snacks. I packed my bag and then try to go to sleep. My mind wouldn’t have anything to do with it; way too much to think about. I think I nodded off at midnight.

Saturday July 23

Wow! So, 2:30 a.m. really does come early!  I prayed that God would keep us safe and it was off to meet everyone at the Holly Hill church building.  We got to the building, piled into Robert Roach’s van and headed to Bluegrass Airport. We waited for what seemed like a day; it was maybe close to two hours. I remember thinking, “Man! I am old!” (compared to everyone else).

We got on the plane and it was a swing and a miss. My wife, Beth, and I were not sitting next to each other. Our first flight together and I’m staring at the back of her head. I thought this is a small price to pay for what we were about to experience. In the past I have honestly been uneasy about flying. I’ve gotten better over the years. In my late 20s, flying was like having a near-death experience. I now know that I have to let go of not being in control, sit back enjoy the view and let God fly the plane, so to speak.

With that mind set, I was for once excited about the flight and was at peace. I also remember taking off down the runway and absolutely loving the speed involved. The windows had water streaking passed them and I thought about how Thomas Merton called them “tears of joy” when he flew to the Far East. 

We landed in Houston and it was nearly a perfect flight. I think we had a half hour layover. It seemed like two minutes. Boarding the plane was very exhilarating! Finally, after 40 years of not going anywhere of true significance, this was it! When I got off the plane I would be in a different world. Even on this flight I was at peace. Even after watching the YouTube videos of the planes flying into Tegucigalpa.  I mean, it’s only the second most dangerous airport in the world to fly in to. What could go wrong, right?  The approach was anticlimactic to say the least. Yes, there was a decent turn inside the valley that aligned the plane with the runway. It really didn’t feel like as advertised on YouTube. Although there was some turbulence about 200 feet off the ground that added to the drama. 

Looking out of the window as we taxied down the runway, I was thinking, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto”. The view was one of mountains with topography unlike anything I had ever seen before. Very green and grassy, with trees and shacks peppered throughout. Old rusted planes and buildings with corrugated metal roofs dotted the side of the runway and looked like if you sneezed in their direction they would collapse. We got off the plane; how can this be? It’s maybe all of 80 degrees and not nearly as humid as home. My first thought of Honduran weather was, “I like it!” We got inside the aeroporte, made it through customs and got our bags. We rendezvoused with Meredith. She is the Director of Health Services for Mission Lazarus. I thought how different the view was looking out the front of the airport and seeing a quagmire of electrical lines attached to one single pole. It looked like it had been bound and taken hostage. This pole was responsible for the electrical needs of a Church’s Chicken, Burger King and a Chinese resteraunte, from what I could derive. Judging by the lines running to it; it must have powered half of Tegucigalpa. Wild stuff, you just wouldn’t see in the States.

We ate lunch at where else but a McDonald’s in the airport.  It was fun trying to tell the gentleman taking our order what we wanted. He spoke some broken English, so it wasn’t as difficult as you would think. After lunch, David Rogers announced that we were not taking a bus to Mission Lazarus as previously planned. Rather we are taking three different small white trucks. Beth, Becky Stratton and I rode with Meredith. This was good as Meredith was our unofficial tour guide for the journey. The ride was absolutely awesome! It was so interesting to see a different country’s landscape. You couldn’t go a mile without seeing these little convenient type stores in the front of peoples “houses.” Coke or Pepsi will paint their logo on the front of the house for free, if they would exclusively sell their products. So you would see both logos plastered on houses EVERYWHERE!

There were houses built not five feet off the Pan-American Highway. They seemed so close that you could almost reach out and touch them. The remainder of the ride consisted of lots of twist and turns through the Sierra Madre Mountains.

At last, after three hours of driving we see the Mission Lazarus sign. The ride up to the Posada was one to remember. It was about a mile and a half up a mountainous gravel road with plenty of personality; lots of potholes and small ditches within the road. I think the pothole should be the official symbol of Honduras. That aside, I must admit I liked the ride.  I can’t say the same for Beth, Becky and Angela Best. From the next day on, we would all share a truck. It was hard for them because they didn’t know when the big bumps were coming. I quickly learned to forewarn them by saying “bump!” 

We got to the top of the mountain and there sat a rustic but very nice office/merchandise store with a front porch that spanned the entire length of the building. First impressions were good. We parked the trucks and walked past the office onto the campus. I honestly could not believe how beautiful it was. Brick lined pathways, very nice tropical landscaping and a huge outdoor building. This building had a wall of windows on the windward side, open air on the other side to take in the view of the valley below and a big fireplace at the opposite end. This was the Posada (lodge) although we called the entire campus the Posada. It was the social and dining hub for all the missionaries and staff. It was a really cool place to hang out because it was nestled on the edge of the mountain. The view there was very impressive.                   

The cabins we stayed in were similar or better than most camping cabins I have experienced. They were rustic with terra cotta floors, five bunk beds and the bathroom with running hot water and a flushing toilet – better than expected.  It had a red metal roof that was absolutely awesome when it rained.

We got settled and met back at the Posada in anticipation of our first meal (dinner). While waiting, a Mission Lazarus staffer told us about a view point above the camp. A bunch of us went up a semi-steep trail for about 300 yards to the top. It was one of the most impressive views I’ve ever seen; more on this later. We came back down and had dinner. This is camp food? Hardly! It was great! Dinner consisted of wood smoked grill chicken, rice, twice baked potatoes and freshly made tortillas. I couldn’t believe how good it was. At this point, I took all my preconceived notions of the mission trip and threw them out the window. We’re off to a really good start!

Sunday, July 24

Sunday morning was our first trip to the church in Limon for worship.  The people of Limon were very curious as we drove through their village. They all just stopped and stared at us as we drove by. Not in a negative way, more the way a kid looks at a plane in the air for the first time. The church was lavender and trimmed in purple with double doors and louvered windows on the east and west sides. The floor had Terrazzo tiles, everyone sat in metal folding chairs. The main entrance was on the south with nice landscaping. We got out of our trucks and Beth and I found our seats. A little girl that I would later find out was one of two adorable girls named Alejandra had set two chairs down from me. I got up to talked to Derrick Taylor  and when I returned to my seat I noticed she had placed herself in the chair next to mine. This melted my heart and she was dubbed my favorite for the remainder of our trip.

Their service was awesome! It was full of real passion for the Lord and genuine interest in each other. This makes sense because their lives are very simple and they are focused on faith and love. I couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying, but I didn’t need to. They were fantastic!

After service we headed to the Pacific Ocean for lunch. It was about an hour drive from Limon. Yet another great drive. We went through little villages, a shrimp farm, and sugar cane fields. We got to the restaurant and the view was extraordinary! The restaurant was built right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. You could see El Salvador to the North and Nicaragua to the South. The food was great: fried fish, shrimp and plantains. We cruised back to the Posada.  David wanted us to make crafts for the kids to use as examples during VBS. Checked that off the list, hung out and waited for dinner. We ate and later on called it a day. 

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26-27

I didn’t want to be in the way of six other men getting ready in the morning. So I made it a point to get up at 5:30 (7:30 EST, which was perfect!) and get out of the cabin before anyone else got up. I would fill my water bottle up with Café San Lazaro (their fresh ground coffee grown on the ranch) and then walked the 300 yards up to the previously mentioned trail to the top of one of the best views I have ever and will probably ever see. Words cannot do it justice. This view was an evident gift from God. Imagine sweeping views for 360 degrees of nothing but green mountains and fog rolling in over the tops with the sun’s rays streaking through. There was even a place to sit where a piece of limestone protruded up from the floor of the mountain top. It was perfect for sitting with my coffee and taking in the view. The temperature was even perfect as well. It was I’m guessing around 72 degrees with a nice breeze. I find myself recalling being up there almost on a daily basis. 

I would stay up there for about a half hour and then come down around 7:00. We would eat a great breakfast consisting of either eggs, hash browns, bacon and tortillas or bacon and something that required syrup. We would eat and then take-off for Limon.

The village of Limon consists of people that had their original homes wiped off the face of the planet when Hurricane Mitch stalled off the coast of Honduras on October 26, 1998.  It didn’t move inland until October 29th. The rain was unprecedented even by Central American standards. Mitch had sustained winds of 180 mph and left 5,273 dead, 11,085 missing and 427, 138 in shelters throughout Honduras. At the time, they were living on or near the Choluteca River, hence the relocation to the newly constructedvillage of Limon.

The Honduran government donated the land and I believe I was told other relief organizations built a majority of the homes in Limon. Most of them were concrete block 30 feet x 20 feet and concrete floors with many of them having corrugated metal roofs (some terra cotta as well) . They were spaced about 10 feet apart and there had to be what seemed like 300 of them. Some structures were not as well built as the brick ones. I recall one that was built out of two inch diameter sticks, about eight feet tall forced into the ground. They were spaced about four inches apart. Similar in size to the brick ones BUT this house was wrapped in black plastic sheathing. Essentially these poor people were living in a plastic oven thirteen degrees north of the Equator.

We would drive around Limon dropping off big white bags of dry food and a five pound bag of beans. This is when the severity of their lives became evident. People would cry because they were so happy to receive the food. We live in a country where all you have to do is look in your couch cushions for enough money for a Happy Meal. We truly do not know how good we have it. They were so happy to get the food and we were equally glad to give it to them. It was truly a great spiritual experience! I would always try to find a common denominator within their homes to talk about. I felt it was very important to actually connect with them as opposed to just dropping off the food and giving them a casual “oh yeah, God bless you”.  I wanted them to know that we were all children of God, put on this Earth to help each other, not just there to make ourselves feel good about what we were doing. We would sing a song in English and they would reciprocate in Spanish. Sometimes we would sing the same songs in the two languages which was very moving. We would each pray and the translators would assist. You could see the pain or joy in their eyes depending on the person. There was always one common theme, too many kids and not enough money to support them all; often times struck with a terrible illness; truly heartbreaking.

Our translators, Courtney and Mary Leigh, did a fantastic job conveying our thoughts. I know they had to be absolutely mentally worn out at the end of the day. They would translate for us in the morning and marshal an endless barrage of translation questions from us in the afternoon.

1:30 pm was show time for the kids. They were all absolutely adorable! They would walk in a line formation and sit on the church floor. I would look for Alejandra to walk in and she would smile and wave. I would yell, “Hola Alejandra!”  As the days went on, I would say hello to a lot more of the kids as I learned their names. Sometimes they would respond with “Hola Toneeeee”. It was cute to hear them say my name with a Spanish accent. 

On the second day David asked me to narrate a small portion for one of the skit characters in Spanish. “Yeah, no problem, glad to do it,” I said. Inside I was thinking, this ought to be really interesting and it was. Thankfully Becky and Ariel Lane had better command of the language and were gracious enough to take the bigger roles. They did a great job and I stumbled through it. No one threw anything at me so I guess it was tolerable.    

After the plays, it was Craft Time! I think we all got tired of saying, “muy bien, perfecto, excellente and mucho colores” but if that’s all one has in their Spanish bag of compliments; you go with what you know.  I honed my skills as the masking tape “tear a piece off guy” to a fine art. The projects for the last two days required it and 80 kids all needed at least one piece. I mention this because there was a great sense of unity during The Great Tape Frenzy. We were really working with the kids and they were extremely excited about making the crafts. Try getting a kid from here that has every electronic gizmo known to Nintendo and Sony that excited about a craft paper project. 

The last day of VBS (Wednesday) came to a close. The church had some kind words for us, and us for them.  David finished his mural in one of the classrooms and that was that. We all felt like we had done all that we could given the time allotted to brighten their lives and fill some bellies too.   

We planned to go to a gospel meeting at the church that evening. This meant that we wouldn’t be able to go back to Mission Lazarus for dinner; so it’s off to Wendy’s in Choluteca. What a trip it was to see the menu board in Spanish. Thankfully, Courtney assisted everyone with ordering. The poor girl waiting on us was busy hammering on a calculator converting all our “gringo dinero” to Limperas.  The food tasted similar to a Wendy’s in Frankfort, but not exactly.  

We went back to the church for the gospel meeting. While we were waiting, Beth showed some of the kids how to play Angry Birds on her phone. Others were showing them pictures and games on their phones. Their little eyes were lit up with true amazement. The Honduran clock is not powered by American batteries, so to speak. They definitely have a much more relaxed view of time than we do.  They began much later than what time we had originally thought.  We were told meeting and start times were more of a recommendation than an actual commitment in Honduras. They had a sermon and performed several skits. At the end, they had three baptisms that were great to see.

Thursday, July 28

Thursday morning was a time for us to do whatever we wanted before leaving for Tegucigalpa that afternoon. Some went horseback riding, others went mountain climbing. Others just stayed behind at the Posada. 

Later that morning, most of us went on a tour of the Mission Lazarus Plantation and Orphanage. They are really doing some amazing work in the name of the Lord. The houses that the kids stay in are really nice. I’m proud to say that we toured the one that the first Holly Hill mission team went down to help build. The guys did some amazing work! The houses have everything a typical American house would have; amazing considering their geographic location. 

After lunch it was time to head north to Tegucigalpa. We followed Cameron, the Mission’s daily operations manager. He had definitely mastered the art of driving like the locals; me, not so much. At any rate, we finally made it into Tegucigalpa. We got there just in time for rush hour. No cup of coffee needed to stay alert during this stint of the journey.

We stayed at a Clarion hotel. I think we were all glad to be back among civilization. We ate at a Chili’s restaurant that night. There was something nice about the familiarity of it all.    

Friday, July 29

Friday morning we ate breakfast, and then it was off to the airport. We did some more of what I termed “sport-driving” that wasn’t bad at all. We got on a plane and came home; back in the loving arms of our great nation.        

 I have to be honest and say that the mission trip is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life! I would get on a plane any time – day or night and go back in a heartbeat! Todd Best says “it will change you.” He’s right, it will and all for the better. Some things in life cannot be expressed in words, you just have to go; so go!

For more photos of Tony’s Honduras experience, visit his Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1602425902&sk=photos


Thoughts on Our Focus

I was reading TIME magazine recently and stumbled on something I was more than happy to read. Amid all the articles covering death, disease, and debauchery was an article about someone doing good works. It concerned a man stepping aside from the limelight of the entertainment industry, returning to a country in terrible need, and devoting himself to improving it. Frankly, that’s a breath of fresh air. I don’t know all the details involved in this story, but the fact that this is a story about a man’s good works is rare and compelling. It’s too easy to focus on the horrible side of life all the time. It ignores all the good going on around us. It skews our perspective on the world. We may begin to start believing its all doom and gloom. But that would mean we would begin to ignore who we are as Christians.

If you are a Christian, a key element of your life must be hope. Hope for Heaven, hope for salvation, hope for making each day better than the one before it. That’s about living a good life through Christ despite the negative. That’s about seeing the good through all the bad. Sure, there’s devastation and evil in this world. No one should be so insulated or naive to think otherwise, but we ought to handle it in a way that manifests hope. We choose to look at the worst in people or to look at the real potential to be something better. I’m grateful God chose to look at us as people with potential. He knows are faults and all the terrible sins we’ve committed. And yet, he still presents a means to overcome that through Christ. That’s a healthy way for us to look at the world around us. To see it as God sees us.

I do appreciate hearing about the good things people do – especially in our own community and in our own congregation. It matters. We don’t always see them nor talk about them as often as we should. But we need to be reminded that a lot of people are doing a lot of good works to make this a better place. So, we’ll end with a challenge. Talk more often about the good things people are doing. Avoid the gossip, the insults, and the derogatory. Speak in a way that builds people up instead of tears them down. It’s really simple and very worthwhile.