Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Calm Before a Storm of Activity

Russell, working.
Here, he's driving a team out to a work site. 

Russell is not known for taking it easy, but, when we last spoke, his schedule for the day consisted of only two meetings and giving me enough information to write a blogpost. He said it felt like it was almost a vacation day. But don’t get the idea that Russell is becoming a gentleman of leisure. He is experiencing what might be called the calm before a storm of activity. And, for lack of a better title, that’s exactly what we’ll call it!

The coffee harvest was completed on Saturday. The team from Edgewater Alliance has returned to Florida. Kim Hall and her family are settling in nicely after their recent move to Honduras. And, for one shining day, Russell gets to feel like someone who could wear an ascot and take up the sport of polo! He should enjoy the feeling while it lasts because tomorrow…

Tomorrow, he switches gears as preparation for backpack season begins. The containers are there, and that means the backpacks are there. Somewhere. The backpacks are there somewhere. In fact, around 8,000 backpacks are there somewhere. They are in boxes, along with things like clothing, and other supplies. Each box from the containers needs to be opened, so the backpacks can be pulled out.

Backpacks for specific children in the Tablon
sponsorship center - packed by their sponsors
If a backpack was designated to go to a certain kid, it will be pulled out and grouped with other backpacks designated for kids at the same feeding center. Backpacks from specific churches are grouped together, as they tend to go to the same area. However, Manna 4 Lempira sponsors often sponsor children at multiple centers, so one box might contain backpacks for children in different locations. Shoes also need to be sorted. It’s like a giant game requiring expert logic and organizational skills. Fortunately, Kim and Jonathan Hall are on hand to help with this monumental task. Members of the regular crew will also be helping.

And that clothing that served as packing material in the boxes? Iris will be working to organize the clothing for the Gifts for Gracias boxes. Russell will be spending some extra time with RJ and Abby while Iris does that.

Oh, and did I mention there’s sort of a time crunch on all of this? Beginning January 27th, Sowers4Pastors will be hosting six backpack teams in seven weeks! There will be one week off in the middle of that time. That means the stuff for each team has to be prepped in advance. Russell says it can take three or four days of preparation time for each team. Naturally, he can’t wait until three or four days before each team arrives, if there’s already a team on the ground.

While all of that is happening, there’s also fertilizing and cleanup scheduled for the coffee farm. Plants should begin flowering in a month and a half. It’s time to get ready for the next cycle.

Pastors’ Training School will be starting its new year in March. Russell and the other board members are meeting in preparation of that.

But, for today... Does anyone know where Russell might find an ascot to wear?

 - posted by Christi

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