Monday, March 31, 2008

Prayer requests for March 31

Prayer requests for the Micah Project for the week of March 30- April 5:

1. A couple of weeks ago, Jessica's laptop computer was stolen out of our van. A 14 year old drug addict in our neighborhood who was a part of the theft confessed to us and agreed to help us get it back. He went with our two Honduran missionaries, Marlon and Roger, to the police. They all went to the store that bought the stolen computer and arrested the owner. He finally confessed and gave the computer back. Thankfully, none of Jessica's files or programs were destroyed. Marlon, Roger and the kid from the neighborhood are worried about revenge; people are often shot here for going to the police. Please pray for their safety.

2. We thank God for the Wiggs family, pictured above in front of the Los Dolores church. They spent a week in Honduras in their preparations to move here to be full time missionaries for the Micah Project in 2009. They have powerful testimonies of how God has transformed their lives, and, because of this, have an immediate connection with our boys. Pray that God would take the lead in all of their plans to come to Honduras next year!

3. The youth group from my home church (Central Presbyterian of St. Louis) spent last week in Honduras (see picture above in the PANACAM national forest). It was a really powerful week. They brought a mature group of young people and, because of that, the group was fully engaged in all that went on around them. From the work they did with street kids to beginning the new classroom of the Villa Linda Miller school to their relationships with the Micah boys, they truly held God's light high. Above, Kelly had many long talks with Erick, who is struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction (see recent posts below). Pray for Erick as well; we have given him this week to decide whether or not to go into rehab. If he chooses not to, we are going to have to make some fairly drastic decisions which will affect his future and the future of his family.

4. I talked with Danilo on the phone from Monterrey, Mexico, where he is starting his second quarter of studies at the Instituto CanZion music ministry school. He seems to be adjusting well to life in Monterrey. His classes are hard, but he loves studying music. Please pray that he would continue to find friends who can be a support system for him. Also, he is still working out the details of his student visa in order to be able to stay in Mexico. Pray that those papers will come through quickly!
5. Continue to pray for Wilmer (above, in a tree). He has had a great couple of weeks, but today, while we were at the airport, he slipped away from us and went back to the streets (see post below about his struggles with yellow glue). He is such a sweet is hard to imagine that he could live out the rest of his life on the streets. He learned one English phrase while our youth group was here last week: "Give me a hug!" That sums up his character pretty well! Please pray that we can find him in the next couple of days and get him back into the Micah House. And, pray that God would break the chains of addiction in his life.
6. Please pray for our missionary Dan Paul, who got engaged in Colombia last week and is back in Honduras for a few months of long-distance relationship before getting married over the Christmas holidays. Also, pray for our director of operations Becca Have as she spends a few weeks with her sister in South Africa.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Micah Project Spring Update

A Tale of Three Marvins
Micah Project Spring 2008 Update

Marvin Soto, Marvin Morazán and Marvin Cobán. We’ve had roughly three generations of boys join the Micah family, and each generation has had a Marvin. And while it would seem more likely to have repeat of a name like José (of which we have only had one!), for some reason, God keeps sending us Marvins! Giving you a quick snapshot of our three Marvins, who are 23, 19 and 13 years old, respectively, will also give you some good insight into where we are as a ministry in 2008.

On my trip to the United States earlier this year, Marvin Soto invited me out for a cup of coffee. Between a full load of classes at Missouri Baptist University and an on-campus job in the maintenance department, catching Marvin with a couple hours of free time is never easy! While we sat and chatted with his girlfriend by the fireplace in a busy café, I couldn’t help but remember the little boy that I met selling packets of peanuts on the streets of Tegucigalpa way back in 1993 when I was a college student doing an internship in Honduras. Could this confident and well-spoken man sitting across from me be that same boy who spent his childhood earning a few cents on a street corner in Tegucigalpa?

Of course, that transformation was not automatic: this college junior can’t point to one moment in his life in which he decided that he was no longer destined to be a street kid. Looking back, we can observe many factors that worked together to move Marvin towards success. We can see many faith-filled people who have spoken hope into Marvin’s life through the Micah Project, both as long-term missionaries and as people who have come alongside the project to support him. We can look at the day-to-day environment at the Micah Project which constantly prods our young men forward, even if they are sometimes tempted to run in the opposite direction. We can speculate about some inner perseverance which was inherited from his grandmother, who at age 84 was still trying to convince her sons to give up alcohol and join her church.

But most importantly, we can judge his success as the result of His loving heavenly Father who guided Marvin through the whole, often difficult journey. Marvin can truly echo the words of King David in Psalm 139: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast.” (To see a short video interview with Marvin, go to our video collection on our website

While 23 year old Marvin Soto has a quiet and calm sense of who he is and where he is going, 19 year old Marvin Morazán tends to live life passionately with all of his emotions on his sleeve. He has an evangelist’s heart; he truly believes that God has rescued him from a very dark place and he wants to share that story with the world. His favorite mode of sharing is through song and the recent album that he put out with a few of the other Micah boys, called “In the process”, highlights very clearly what God has done in Marvin’s life since joining the Micah Project. On one of the songs on their new album, “Comprendí” (I understood), Marvin sings these words:

“Listen! I felt great hatred towards my parents, who abandoned me when I was six, who never gave me a hug or said “son, I love you!”. My shoulders bore the marks of the abuse my dad gave me. I wanted to grow up so that I could make him suffer the same abuse that he had given me. But I was wrong; the revenge in my soul was consuming me, and I didn’t know that another Father was watching me and calling me to move away from the darkness because He was waiting for me. I went to Him, and some time later I could finally see that I was a new creature! He offered me what my parents never could—that awesome love that I have always desired.” (Comprendí, from “En el proceso;” 2007).

When Marvin Morazán graduates high school this November, he is thinking of joining Danilo in Monterrey, Mexico, for a two year program that will train him in music ministry. While he is already a missionary, sharing his message and testimony all over Honduras with the other guys in the Los Micah Boys group, it is easy to see that, with some biblical education and ministerial training, he can truly become a powerful witness here in Honduras.

It was during one of Marvin Morazán’s concerts that I first began to see little Marvin Coban’s true personality. Although little Marvin (Marvincito in Spanish) has been with us for several months now, his true personality is still hidden amongst the survival techniques of street life and altered by years of addiction to yellow glue. But the night that Marvin Morazán was singing, I saw little Marvin sitting on the ground directly beneath the microphone. His eyes were as round as saucers, and he was lip-syncing every word that Marvin Morazán was singing. I could see hope being born…a new idea in this little street kid’s mind that, maybe, one day, that would be him up there with a microphone singing before a crowd.

We are reminded daily though that when a young boy has been forced to live his life on the streets, we have to keep looking in both directions: to help him unwind the damage done in the past even as we help sow new layers of hope that begin to build his future. Little Marvin has never known his dad, and his mom abandoned his family before disappearing to Guatemala when he was a little boy. Though he lived with an aunt for awhile, he was quickly absorbed into street life, especially into the highly addictive trap of yellow glue. Do you know what drugs do to an eleven year old’s brain? While addiction is destructive to anyone, it is especially damaging when it happens during one’s formative years--when one’s brain is still developing--when one’s body is calling out for nutrients to help it grow, and all it receives are the toxic fumes of shoe glue.

Yes, since finding Marvin under a bridge in Tegucigalpa and inviting him to join our family, daily life has been a balance of expunging the streets from his character while at the same time helping him to see possibilities for the future. Each day we see a little of the streets in him mixed in with a little of the boy that he can be. He can be an excited little boy who is memorizing Psalm 139 in our devotional time along with the rest of the guys and the next thing we know, he is pulling a knife out of the kitchen and going after one of the others who has slighted him in some way. He can talk all week about going to a park on Saturday, then get out of the van on the way back in a fit of rage and return to his old haunts in the market district to get high.

Even so, the progress he has been making is enough to keep pointing us towards the future. In his first couple of months with us, he would flinch anytime anyone would put their arm on his shoulder; now, he is accustomed to starting each morning with a hug. His flashes of anger are giving way more often to a quick wit and a willingness to please. His natural intelligence (he taught himself to read by sounding out words in newspapers that people were reading on the streets) has led him to test into the third and fourth grade level in our home schooling program. Although he has gone back to the streets (and the yellow glue) several times since joining the project, we have more hope now than we ever have that he will make the choice to leave them behind forever.

Sometimes it helps me, when little Marvin is having a bad day and the desire to get high is causing anxiety that he takes out on all around him, to remember that big Marvin—Marvin Soto--once went through the exact same things. It helps me to dream of little Marvin in big Marvin’s shoes…a college junior with many accomplishments already in his past and big dreams for the future. Even as it is a daily struggle to help little Marvin leave his street personality behind, it helps to dream about where he might be in ten years, when he will be 23, just as Marvin Soto is now.

And that is the blessing of having a ministry that is now eight years old. We don’t just have blind faith in God’s power to transform these lives, as we had in the first year of the Micah Project’s existence. We now have many, many experiences of how God can take lives and begin to transform them in His image. Not all of the boys that have entered our doors have been able to escape the dark bonds of street life; a few over the years have made decisions that have caused them to slip back into those chains. Is it possible that little Marvin will follow their path? Of course, it is possible. But as we see Marvin Soto just a few courses away from graduating college, and as we listen to Marvin Morazán sing of his Father’s love that freed him from those chains, it gives us the courage and perseverance to keep praying for little Marvin.

It is those prayers that we ask of you. I believe that God loves to hear a chorus of prayers—voices and hearts unified toward a common purpose. Join us in praying that God would continue to work in our three Marvins…to prepare them for the purposes that He has called them to. Pray for courage in our staff and missionaries…to keep hoping even in the tough moments. Pray that God would continue to use the Micah Project to shine His light throughout Honduras and the world.

We are deeply grateful for the many ways that you have supported us and loved us in the past eight years!

Your brother in the journey,

Michael Miller

For weekly updates and prayers requests from the Micah Project, take a look at our blog: and as always, our website: .

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prayer requests

Prayer requests for the Micah Project:

1.) Please pray for David while on his missions’ trip to Panama this week. David, who has been with the Micah Project since we opened our doors in January 2000, has been studying psychology for two years at the Universidad Latina in San Jose, Costa Rica. He is extremely active in his church, and is accompanying them to Panama for this missions’ trip. (See David's picture above: in the purple shirt while on the streets, and a recent photo in from of his university). Also pray for Jarvin, who went down to Costa Rica last week to see if David’s university might be a good fit for him as well.

2.) Please continue to pray for Erick and Darwin as they struggle to overcome the bonds of addiction in their lives. We have been praying and fasting on Tuesdays throughout the past four weeks that they would begin to seek the help they need to begin the long process of healing. I had an interesting that experience this past Tuesday that helped me to identify with a little of what they must be going through. I woke up that morning with an extreme case of food poisoning. For most of the day, I was wracked with fever and severe pain and cramping. Helpless, I lay on my couch most of the day, unable to find the strength even to pick up a book and read. Several times, I wanted to will myself up off the couch, but was unable to do so. As I feebly tried to pray through the pain, I began to realize that addiction must be something like this. One’s body is totally taken over by the need to consume. While one’s mind knows what the right thing to do is, the body is so powerfully dominated by the addiction that it is almost powerless to raise itself up beyond the addiction. As I lay there, totally overpowered by my illness, I knew what our two guys must be feeling who are totally overpowered by their addiction.

In his amazing book, Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, Cope Moyers writes about the craving of his drug addiction even after he had been clean for several years. He writes about waking up after having a dream about using crack: “Oh God, please help me, I thought, because that dream reignited the cravings that seemed to heat up the very furnace of my being. Where did the cravings come from? How could I stop them? I knew the basic facts about craving—how drugs physically change the brain, altering the molecules and the chemicals, even modifying the basic structure and shape of the nerve cells. I knew that craving isn’t a mental “want” but a true physical “need” that arises from deep within the network of cells that have been permanently changed by drugs. And I knew that the really dangerous moments come when your defenses are down and the world looks bleak. That’s when the addicted brain fires up these euphoric memories that whisper to you in the night or in the morning when you are taking a shower or in the late afternoons when the day is coming to an end: Remember how good it felt? If you just go back there, you’ll feel good again.” (page 181).

Cope Moyers was able to beat his addiction when two things happened: 1.) He hit rock bottom and, 2.) he turned his life completely over to God and let Him handle the transformation process. Although it is extremely painful for us to see any one of our guys hit rock bottom, we know that it may have to happen before they stop relying on their own strength and start looking to their heavenly Father for healing.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121)

3.) Please pray for Brian and Natasha Wiggs and their children, who are coming to Honduras this Thursday. They will spend a week with us, as part of their process to eventually join us a long-term missionaries. Both Brian and Natasha have amazing testimonies of how God breaks bonds and liberates His children. To learn more about Brian and Natasha, click here:

4.) Please pray for the health and safety of the 24 teens from the Central Presbyterian Church who will be joining us this Saturday, March 22 for a week of ministry. This will be our youth group’s eighth trip to Honduras!

5.) Prayer and praise for Becca Haver, our director of operations! Becca celebrated her fourth anniversary of service with the Micah Project yesterday. We praise God that he has brought this talented woman to serve with us. She is an invaluable part of the project! Please pray for her as she prepares to spend several weeks in April in South Africa to spend some time with her sister Sarah, who is a missionary there.

6.) Please pray for Dan Paul, our ministry coordinator from Toronto, Canada. Dan is currently in Colombia, South America visiting a special friend and making some pretty important life decisions!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wilmer's escape and God's providence

Wilmer went back to the streets last Thursday. He has been with the Micah Project since last July, when he decided to leave his “home” underneath one of the bridges of Tegucigalpa to enter our group home. As a thirteen year old, Wilmer has spent the last several years of his life as a street kid. His older brother, who had already been on the streets, was the one who introduced Wilmer to street life and, particularly, to the addictive yellow glue that traps the kids on the streets once they get there. With his stepfather in jail for a violent crime and his mom moving from room to room in squalid motels in the market district, there didn’t seem to be much hope for Wilmer.

Since joining the Micah Project, Wilmer has struggled to get beyond his addiction to yellow glue. When you get addicted at such a young age, that overpowering need becomes such a part of who you are that it is very, very difficult to overcome. Several times during the past few months, this little boy has left the Micah House and gone back to the streets in order to feed his addiction.

Once such incident was this last Thursday. In an unguarded moment, Wilmer slipped away from the house and went back to the outdoor market district of Tegucigalpa. Less than an hour later, he was high on yellow glue. A couple of our older guys went to search for him on Friday, with no luck. On Saturday, my day off, I decided to do a swing through the market district to see if I could find him. As I was walking down a busy downtown street on the way to the market, two street kids went running by me, laughing and chasing one another. A third street kid was running about fifty feet behind them, trying to catch up. It was Wilmer! He was about to run right by me without noticing that I was there, when I stretched out my arm, causing him to run right into me!

When he looked at me, it looked like he had seen a ghost. All three kids stopped and gathered around me. I began to talk to Wilmer about why he left the Micah House. He was pretty high, which made him subdued and fairly unresponsive. When I asked him to come with me back to the Micah House, he kept telling me that he couldn’t leave his two friends. I responded that, if he wanted to help them, continuing his education was the best way! Using drugs with them on the streets would not help. Wilmer continued to be pretty distant, until I received a call on my cell phone from Becca, who was at a pool with the other Micah guys. I put Wilmer on the phone with Becca, who then passed him around to talk to the other guys. Slowly, Wilmer’s face and vocal expressions began to change. Before he even hung up, he shook hands with the other two street kids as a way to say good-bye. When the phone call was finished, we started to walk back to the Micah House.

By the time we got back, Wilmer was the same affectionate kid that we have grown to love. Today, Sunday, he seems calm ready to get back in the swing of things. We thank God for protecting Wilmer while he was on the streets and for allowing us to find him before he got too consumed into street life again. Putting Wilmer directly in my path and having Becca place a well-timed phone call when he was deciding between Micah or the streets were God’s way of intervening on Wilmer’s behalf. He truly is an awesome God! It reminds me of a verse in Psalm 139, which our guys are currently memorizing: “If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
Please pray that God’s light would continue to shine in Wilmer’s life; that he would not continue to choose the utter darkness of street life and drug addiction.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Birthday with Erick

Well, Becca and I were able to spend most of the day with Erick and Darwin, our two young men who are fighting drug addictions and have been removed from the project until they go through rehab. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Darwin is getting ready to enter a residential rehab program tomorrow; Erick is still completely out-of-control of his addictions. I was able talk to Erick at length for his birthday lunch today (he turned 16). I put his situation in front of him as clearly as I could, and asked him to make the decision to begin to work towards healing. He was listening, but it was still obvious that he was filtering everything I said through the fog of drugs and the strong desire to consume. We will continue to pray for them both tomorrow. We took these pictures of Erick and Darwin at our little birthday outing today. Thanks for your continued prayers...


Prayer and Fasting for Erick

Greetings from the Micah Project. On behalf of all of the staff and young men of the project, we want to thank you so much for your willingness to come along aside us to pray for Erick. As we get ready to enter into another day of prayer and fasting for him, we wanted to give you a quick update in order to help guide your prayers.

Erick has been at his home in Villa Linda Miller this week. Unfortunately, since he is large for a fifteen year old, his mom has very little control over him. He has almost no control over his addictions, and when his body tells him that he needs to get high, he leaves his home to go look for drugs or alcohol. This week, he was high or drunk at least every other day. When we talk to him, he will sometimes express a desire to change, but what more obviously comes through is his total loss of control over his addiction. It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7: 19: “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” I think Paul understood addiction and sin pretty well!

Erick’s addiction is as much a spiritual condition as a physical one. As you pray for him this week, pray that Erick would get a glimpse of his Heavenly Father’s love for him. Pray that he would have a renewed desire for freedom from these chains; that he would cry out to God (in the words of Psalm 71): Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.. And pray that God would win this victory in Erick’s life; that Satan’s hold on him would be destroyed and that he can begin the positive steps towards recovery. We have invited Erick and his mom to come pray with us on Tuesday; pray that they show up!

While you are praying for Erick, we would like to add one more name for you to pray for: Darwin Matute. Darwin lived on the streets for about eight years, inhaling yellow glue almost daily during that time.. He joined Micah in 2002 not being able to read, write or even hold a fork. His older brother Jarvin is one of the original members of the Micah project and would often look for Darwin on the streets and try to get him to join Micah.

Darwin began to lose control over his addiction last year about the same time Erick did, after being clean for several years He went through a rehab program with Erick and was attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. One evening about a month ago Darwin ran away from the house and went to where Erick is living. He bought drugs and took them to Erick. We were able to intervene and check Darwin into a program called Teen Challenge. He had been living there for two weeks when, yesterday, he ran away. Darwin needs the same prayers as Erick for healing and freedom from these physical and spiritual chains. At age twenty-one, Darwin is quickly running out of time to receive support before he has to deal with these things on his own.

During these difficult circumstances, we have been so impressed and overjoyed by how many people responded to our request for prayer. I feel so blessed to know we have an army of prayer warriors and I just can’t thank you all enough. Though this is a battle that will not be won in a day, we know that God will answer our prayers in His time.

Again, thank you all for your willingness to step up and join us in praying for Erick, and now Darwin. I know God will do mighty things!

Jessica Busse and the Micah staff