Special Olympics: Over The Edge

"If you don't go over, you'll never get to see the view."
This is what I told myself as I stood on the edge of the Oak Cliff Bank tower this morning.  I also needed to remind myself why I was doing this in the first place.

It started with a simple decree by my firm (Corgan Associates, Inc.) in January.  This being our 75th Anniversary, we would complete 75 community service projects before our 76th year.  This idea seemed heaven sent.  One of the projects was a team that would raise money for the Special Olympics of Texas.  Each team member that raised $1000 was afforded the opportunity to rappel down the side of the Oak Cliff Bank Tower (formerly Bank of America).

The concept was already in line with my love for community service, but that wasn't really my motivation.  In college, I got to meet the amazing Trojcak family.  I'll share more about them in another post.  For this story, the focus is on Tony Trojcak.  His is a golfer that competes with the Special Olympics.  He and his family travel all over the state for various tournaments.  Each time I get to hang out with Tony I learn of many gifts with which God has blessed him.  Loving family, athletic skill, musical genius, personal determination, a sense of humor with impeccable timing.  He is also someone with a very demeanor.

When I told Jimmie, Tony's father, of my plans he was the first to make a donation.  He also forwarded the event to some friends.  As time drew closer, Jimmie sent the following message via email:
"...[the website] said you only need $210 to be eligible.  Tony wanted you to be able to GO OVER the EDGE.  So, we hopefully got you closer to the EDGE.  Let us know if you get to your pledge and if you are going over as Tony said he wanted to come and watch."  Tony personally donated $111.11 on behalf of his family!

So here I am on the roof with Danielle L., Donna C., James C. and Chuck B.  I don't know who is down below because we had to arrive WAY early for training.  I hope Tony is there because I plan to put on a show.  After a brief prayer to myself (broken and rushed), I stepped onto the platform, turned around grasping a support in each hand.  As the Dallas Police Department & SWAT strapped me in I was told, "Its okay to release your right hand now."

At this point, I had seen the view and it brought a sense of calm to my mind.  "Okay, now release your left hand."  I don't think anyone told my body that I was ready for this.  The voice said release.  My brain said release.  But, my body did not budge.  It was eerie and all of us looked at each other and laughed.  I literally had to pry my own hand loose.  After I dropped about 6', I realized just how awesome this experience could be and I made the most of it.  I am told the decent took about 5min, but I was having so much fun that I lost track of time.  I tried to see who was in the crowd, but had no luck due to height and lack of glasses.  I'll let the photos and video tell that part of the story.

Donna, Danielle, Mike, Me, Chuck & Jim
When I reached the bottom, the events happened VERY quickly.  First I say Chuck and Jim.
Chuck & Jim- "What did you think?"
Brandon- "I want to do it again!"

The absolute best part happened next...  As I looked beyond my team, I saw Tony and Jimmie grinning from ear to ear and cheering me on.  I gave Tony a big hug and he was thanking me!  I was the one that had to do all the thanking.  Had it not been for him, I probably would have never considered such an experience in my life.

Tony & Me

I was able to raise $1236.11.  Our team raised over $5,800.  Below is a list angels that contributed to a wonderful cause.  Thank you for supporting me, The Corgan 75/75 and giving to the Special Olympics of Texas:

Tony Trojcak
Jimmie Trojcak
Jeremy & Jennifer Pitts
RWB Consulting Engineers
Ted & Erin Reinker
Dawn Chisholm
Stephanie Garci
Mike Vargas
Josue & Debbie Villareal
David & Debbie Williams
Stephen & Rachael Milan
Mark & Tara Dannehl
Dan Velte
Luis & Carmen Rivera
Michael & Marti Steiner
Thom & Leslie Campbell
And some that wished to remain anonymous.

Photographers and Videographers:
Renee Sneed
Josue Villareal
Jimmie Trojcak

Please be sure to visit the following link.  Help Spread the Word to End the Word:

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" -Phillipians 1:6



Last night we had a devotion party. A group from Columbus and a praise band joined us for dinner. Marc had everything catered by Carnitas, so there was A LOT of meat. It was also Diann's birthday, so we had cake after devotion. I think the extreme departure from my normal diet caused me not to feel great this morning. I slept until 6:30.

The Tennessee group heads home today. They were great to work and fellowship with. I'll miss them. I am excited that Lydia will be an intern next summer. That means she will be telling me what to do! I also made bet with Rick regarding A&M v Tennessee.

We visited Hospital Escuela. It was a visit like none we had before because we didn't seem prepared. After awhile, I was able to get back into the swing and put on balloon shows for the kids. I took four people to see the playground and found it under cared for. It is obvious that the children do not have access to the equipment nor the courtyard. I wonder how Jerry Taylor would feel about that.

Our time here is coming to an end. We went to Valley of Angels for souvenirs and papusas. Melissa and I took charge of a dance party on the bus ride home. We had a great time.

Before devotion, Mark told Josue and I they will give Gabby a pregnancy test tomorrow morning. Anger reared its ugly head once more. We talked about it for a bit. I can see that we have accepted these uncomfortable occurrences and kept our anger from controlling our actions. But the mind still wonders.

The singing at devotion was enthusiastic. Josue had to handle something, so Brooks started the first song. Then we sang a number of songs that kept our spirits lifted and our energy going. We could really feel the joy in the space. Through all of this, we know that God is in control. We are only here a hard short while. I take comfort in the faith that God will provide justice for me and those I love i due time.

After devotion we started our goodbyes. We will not see April before we leave. Melissa stayed with us the entire day, though I could tell she was tired and missing April. I gave her a big hug and told her she is a good mother. She, Heidi and Luzeth are going to be good for Gabby, Cindy and Phillipe Antonio.

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."- 2 Corinthians 13:11



This morning, I am still angry. I lay in bed thinking of ways to make him regret his past acts. I plotted and schemed ways to get justice for Gabby. I know it will only soothe my mind for a short time and ultimately it would leave me empty. I have to share this because that is where my mind is right now.

Today we go shopping for Gabby, Cindy and Antonio. We haven't arrived at the mall and I am already excited. We started the ride with April being the only baby. We stopped by Casa where Haley and Emma joined us. A few blocks down we picked up Gabby, Antonio, Cindy and Andres. Our bus is FULL of children and I am having so much fun with them. The coolest surprise came when the bus stopped and Kelin stepped onto the bus. I jumped up and gave her a great big hug. Karol is not with her, but anticipate she will join us soon.

Shopping with the kids was quite an experience. I wish funds were endless. Marc said he didn't want to spoil them, but I think I am going to find that difficult. Remember Pretty Woman? This is the service that was afforded to the children. They each had a personal associate cater their needs.
Gabby seemed apprehensive at first (for oblivious reasons). Cindy seemed rather oblivious to her current situation. Antonio may know something. I hope they felt love from the group and I can't wait to see them next year.

I use this scripture a lot, but come on!  There were a LOT of kids today.
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven"-  Matthew 19:14

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."- 1 Peter 5:5-7



I woke this morning and could not hold the tears back. My mind went to that dark place. I thought of Miaya (my niece). God, I am so angry right now. I can't go running, I have nothing to throw or punch. I need somewhere to focus and dissipate this negative energy.

Today, we will build a house for a family that lives at the dump. I haven't built much with the group from Skillman, but I think it best for me to be with the group from Tennessee today. I hope the fast pace and hard labor will help me to work out my anger.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference..."

Board. Level. Nail it! This is the mantra of our work crew. It gets the job done. Today, we worked with Dorian. The group learned that every foreman has their own style, but we adapted and finished the house in five hours. I spent a good deal of time on the roof. I even surprised myself. Once we finished, we had time to play with the kids that watched us build their home. Afterwards, we made a pit stop at Texaco where I got Tamarindo and Yuca chips.

The other group did not have an easy day. Hannah woke up this morning vomiting, so she never left her room. Later at the site, Palmer began to go through the same thing. Finally, Josue injured his shin and was out of commission for most of the day. I felt bad for their rough day, but ultimately the job got done.

During devotion, Heidi gave us an update on Gabby and her siblings (Antonio and Cindy). They are now in Ojojona. They left with nothing. We have rearranged our activities to include time to go shopping to get basic living supplies for them. I am still angry but the aggression is slowly dissipating. I think a lot of it came out while I was driving spikes on the roof.

"Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee."- Proverbs 4:25



Dump. Centro 21 de Otobre. Nueva Oriental. Today is the day to spread joy. We visit each of these place and fellowship with people, showing the God loves us all no matter what our situation may be. We served food at the Dump and Centro 21 de Otobre. We played at Centro 21 de Otobre and Nueva Oriental.

At the dump, I learned that Jack and Mason had a difficult time. This isn't surprising. The situation is lot for an early teen to take in. I hate their worlds have changed because they were let in on this bit of reality.  However, I believe, they will become better equipped to deal with the real world as they get older.

It is bitter sweet to know that a number of the boys I met at 21 de Otobre are no longer there. I believe the only ones I may have met before were Wilmer and Josue (the bracelet guy). There was a new guy who good at soccer and claimed to be Reynoldo because he was from Madrid.

We didn't make it to Nueva Orental. The day changed dramatically. Last night Marc told us of a twelve year old girl (Gabby) in a bad situation (she is Santa Barbara, a few hours away). We prayed that we could get her and siblings out of the situation before it got worse. A few interns left early this morning to bring her to Ojojona. Today is her birthday and what did she get from the man living in her house?!? Happy birthday, Gabby?!?

I am so angry and confused! The first thing I wanted to do was find the guy and bash his head against a wall. I am sorry, but I am ANGRY! I just hate that this happened, we were here and could do nothing to stop it (or we were too late). And now, her life has changed and she did nothing to deserve it. God why?!?

I don't know what to make if this day.

"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil..."- Proverbs 8:13
"Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate..."- Amos 5:15
"...Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."- Romans 12:9

Thank you Craig Gray for helping me see (and remember) that hating evil (in itself) does not make me a bad person.  It is what I do with the energy generated by this hate that I must be watchful of. (2013.07.10)



I am not the same person I was three years ago. This is not a new discovery. I have known that I am different, but as I experience life in Honduras, I realize how much I have changed. 

Sometimes I miss the old me. I miss the me that believed the world was perfect. There was care free innocent boy that spent his summers in the country hiding in fields of gravel mountains. There was the boy that turned flips in piles of leaves. He collected boxes with aspirations of building an airplane and gliding from the balcony outside of his bedroom.

Now, he is gone. He has grown up and has responsibilities. He gets jaded, heart broken and sad about the realities of life. The world is harsh and hard to accept. There have been dreams that have been crushed, pointless suffering, heart break and hardship.

I have not lost all esperanza (hope), but emotions change like the days. I am still growing, still experiencing and still deciding. I don't know what I will be like in the end (if there is an end). I hope that I am able to look back as an old man and say I had life well lived.

Today I worked with Luis and a team of thirteen others. We built a house for a family of six. I was apprehensive because of stories I had heard about Luis. I got the feeling our personalities would clash. I as pleasantly surprised a how well I worked with him. In fact, the entire group liked working with him. According to Marc, Luis loved working with us as well. We finished the house in five hours. I doubt that is a record, but I know we all enjoyed the work.

The father was very grateful and the mother wept the minute she crossed the threshold. Frank gave the grandfather, Allen (partially paralyzed due to stroke), his hat because he had been admiring it so much. This was a good day of work.

"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."- 1 Corinthians 3:7



Today we started building a church. It will consist of a split level sanctuary and a two room satellite classroom building. The building will be completed tomorrow.

I was happy to take on a leadership role on this trip. I worked with Lydia and Brooks to construct one of the walls. Then I worked with Myra, Jack. Hannah, Palmer, Jason 'Diego' and Mason on the floors. My construction knowledge has certainly increased. My skills are improving, but I have a great deal more confidence.

It has been  great to see everyone working well together. The group from Tennessee is full of great workers. Every has had a great attitude. I am looking forward to all of the work we do this week. I really don't know what I am most excited about.

I am not sure if you caught how cool today's project has been. I will repeat.

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."- 1 Thessalonians 5:11.



All of our flights departed on time and landed early. The individuals on the American Airlines flight experienced at 40 minute delay. When we finally got together, we were off and running.

Melissa picked us up from the airport. I remember she was sick on our visit last year. I have since

learned that she was pregnant. Everyone is excited to meet the baby. We went to the mall and I had lunch from Coco Baleada. It was like Freebirds on steroids... but good.

When we arrived at the our new accommodations, we were all pleased at how nice the construction is. Some of us were even further pleasantly surprised when the Lockners arrived from Tenessee. Kyle, Diann and Lydia are so nice and fun. I am happy they are here and look forward to getting to know the rest of their group.

"The Lord bless the, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon the, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon the, and give thee peace."- Numbers 6:24-26

Best laid plans...

We are off! However, we have not started as we intended. Each year we have a funny story where someone almost gets left behind. Mission trips at Skillman seem to develop a common theme.

This year someone got left. Joel (our pulpit minister) was in Turkey prior to our Honduras trip. While at the airport in Turkey, the employees at check-in lost his passport. He is unable to travel with us. That brought our team of 19 down to 18. Another member opted to stay behind as well for personal reasons. In short, we are a group of 17, with Josue and Kristin leading the charge. I am not worried, I think we are in God hands.

I am grateful to everyone that was instrumental in the trip this year. A special thanks to Skillman Church and an anonymous donor for topping off my sponsorship when I had almost lost hope. I also want to thank Elaine for being so great to me, taking time after her long shift to bring me to the church and see me off.

Please continue to pray for our group.

(I am blogging from a new app on my phone, so I may have to format when I get back. Also, I will be writing everyday, but post will be made whenever I can get a WiFi connection.)


Oraciones Especiales

This week has been a rough one.  I only ask for two prayers and then I will let you go:

1.  My best friend Camilla has had serious issues with her pregnancy.  The doctor prescribed bed rest.  Right now we hope it is just until June, but it could be for the duration of the pregnancy.  That sounds easy, except she is due in September.  She can't go ANYWHERE.  Please pray that things are well and she in countinually surrounded by people who love her and can take her mind off of the situation.  Baby Chloe Website

2.  I only have a month left to get funds meet payments for Honduras.  I am a little less than $1000 short and have no idea where the funds can come from.  In addition, I have no leads for getting a donation for a play surface at the boys home.  If you know of a company willing to donate please let me know. Hope for Honduras 2013 Letter.

I apologize for filling this post with 'worries,' but that is where my mind is right now.
Thanks again for your continued prayers.

"And whatsoever we ask , we receive of him, because we keephis commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."- 1 John 3:22


Honduras III

The time for preparation is upon us once again.  I've had a very late start this year, but I am less stressed about this year's trip to Honduras.  We have a great group going and it is very growing and evolving.  I am providing a link to the letter describing events this year:  Hope for Honduras 2013 Letter.

I have also summarized the major activities at the end of this post.  I hope you will consider becoming or remaining involved in this trip in the following ways:
1.  Prayer is always first.  Pray for those going to Honduras, those already working in Honduras and those who will be receiving assistance.
2.  Supply Donations are always needed.  If you see an activity that you would like to support with a physical donation, please contact me.  Any and everything will be accepted and given to the people we work with.  In the past, we have given shoes, clothes, medical supplies, bubbles, coloring books, soccer balls, silly string, super balls, balloons (they LOVE balloons and balloon animals)... the list goes on and on.
3.  Monetary Donations are still needed.  Please consider supporting me financially for the journey.  All funds are 100% tax deductible.  Details on this can also be found in the letter.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and keeping up with the work that we do.

"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"- Matthew 19:26

2013 Activity Summary

VBS: Last year, this activity was highly successful and extremely fun.  The entire event is conducted in Spanish.  It included crafts, skits, puppet shows, snacks and fun.  We made new friends and provided an opening for children to learn a few action packed Bible stories. 
Boys’ Home Project:  If you visit my Boys’ Home (30.06.12) post, you will read of an earth shattering experience. We hope to spruce up the living conditions by providing mattresses, paint and athletic surfacing on their existing concrete soccer courtyard.
Build a church/ Repair a church: A local missionary from South America visits the mountains to preach to individuals in tents and temporary structures.  We are going to pool our energy, resources and various talents to build a two-story church to support this work.  Also, the same minister’s home church suffers from heaving in the foundation.  We intend to repair the foundation and provide a new floor. Both projects are going to be quite interesting.

City Dump:  People live in the city dump.  They collect scraps and re-sell/recycle them and/or build shelters and beds.  We will provide food for them.  We will also worship with them.  I must say that this is one of the most beautiful services I have attended in my life.  In the midst of the dump, you can see people that have a sincere love for God and the blessing he has given them.