Todd, a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, has been active in the Walk to Emmaus, a three day spiritual enrichment retreat and Epiphany Ministries, a three-day prison ministry, for about ten years.
Todd has always had a desire to go on a mission trip, but after looking for an opportunity, the ones he found were not feasible for him to be a part of at the time.
While attending Emmaus functions, Todd met Bruce and Michelle Skipper who were actively doing mission work. Bruce is the pastor of Reagan United Methodist Church near Lumberton.
While attending a fundraiser for one of their mission trips last year, Todd let the Skippers know of his desire to participate in mission work. Bruce asked Todd if he wanted to participate in the next trip to Nicaragua, scheduled for the following February.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with over 50% of Nicaraguans living below the poverty level.
He joined the team and became making preparations to raise money for the team.
There were many fundraisers and many local residents helped to raise money for the mission trip.
The group of twenty-three arrived in Nicaragua and took a bus to Leon. The Christian non-profit group El Ayudante provided travel and lodging.
El Ayudante is an inter-denominational, Christian ministry bringing hope and change to lives and communities by providing humanitarian and spiritual aid. Their mission is in partnership with the Nicaraguan people serving closely with and under the authority of local and national government.
The mission team was comprised of three teams: a constuction team, a medical team, and an evangelical team, which Todd led.
The construction team built additions to the homes of families who were going to begin a micro-business, making and selling tortillas.
The medical team saw over 750 patients.
The evangelical team saw about 500 children in the schools during the morning hours and spent time with the children from the Child Protective Center in the afternoons. They took the younger children for ice cream. “We got to spend one on one time with these children. That was the most special time for me,” said Todd.
One little girl, named Daniella, made a special place in his heart and he ended up becoming her sponsor.
There are so many people who helped from this community. Many people gave the team money to purchase items.
“Over 3,000 gifts were taken to the kids,” said Todd. We took over 800 hairbows for the children. Frances Patterson’s 5th grade class sent over 700 pencils to those kids. Those are just two examples.”
After the team returned home, Todd wanted to help do something for the students in Nicaragua, so he contacted someone who told him the biggest need was the student who attend La Majada School, who, up to two years ago, had to walk to school. Because of flooding and the five-mile walk to school, younger children could not attend the school. The funding for a school bus used for the past two years ended in April, so Todd approached RSMS Principal Vivian Tyndal about doing a fundraiser for the children of La Majada.
He told students and teachers if they raised at least $1,000 he would shave his head.
The kids and teachers were eager to help, raising $1444.
Stephen Currie shaved Todd’s head during the EOG pre-celebraton assembly last Friday.