Sunday, June 22, 2008

Group visits and a letter from Erick

June is a busy month at the Micah Project. We have a couple of groups from the U.S. spend a week at a time with us to partner with us in our ministry here in Tegucigalpa. That was made more challenging this summer by the closure of Tegucigalpa’s airport after a plane accident on May 30. Our groups are now flying into San Pedro Sula, which is separated from Tegucigalpa by five hours of winding, mountainous roads.

Our first team to come through was from the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. This was their eighth year to bring an official group to the Micah Project. Normally, the group splits up, with half working to provide medical care and the other half providing VBS activities for the children.

This year was especially exciting. The FPC team usually sets up their clinic in the Villa Linda Miller community and uses it as their base of operations. This year, though, they took their talents directly to the people who needed it. On their first full day in town, both the outreach team and the medical team set up tables under the bridge in downtown Tegucigalpa where most of the street kids live. There, they worked with the street kids and adults for several hours, reaching out to some of the neediest people in Tegucigalpa. (See the second picture above, in which Joan and Meghan look at two very young kids from a homeless family). Then, a couple of days later, the group took their tables up into the city dump and provided medical care and children’s activities to the people who scavenge through the trash (see first picture).

I loved accompanying the team as they ministered in very difficult places last week. I think that, if Jesus came back to earth and decided to spend a day in Tegucigalpa, He, too, would spend it with the street kids and up in the city dump. He does not see the grimy faces or smell the unwashed bodies. What He sees are God’s children, waiting to be shown that they have a heavenly Father who loves them. It is such an honor that He allows us to do this work for Him until He comes back again.

I also wanted to share with you a letter that I received from Erick last week. Many of who have been praying for Erick since he began his downward spiral into drugs almost a year ago as a fifteen year old. It was heartbreaking to see this sensitive, intelligent and funny kid slowly destroy himself with drugs.

A couple of months ago, Erick moved out into the mountainous region of eastern Honduras to live with his sister in a last ditch attempt to get away from the temptations of drugs. Erick’s sister is building a mud brick house with her husband in the uncharted, trackless mountains of the Olancho region of Honduras. Because there is no electricity, Erick began going to bed with the rest of the household at 8:00 p.m., waking up at 5:00 a.m. with the sunrise to begin a hard day’s labor. Erick has been helping his brother-in-law build their adobe home, and also doing chores on his family’s ranch.

Erick’s mom went out to visit last week, and came back with this note from Erick:

Dear Michael,

With a lot of energy, I want to write to tell you that things are different with me now. I know that I failed everyone. I want you to know that I am sorry. Now, I want to change and enter rehab. I want to do this in order to thank you all for all that you have done for me, and to regain that happiness that I used to feel. Also, I want to learn how to help others who are struggling with drugs. I hope I can triumph. Say hi to everyone,


Above is the note that Erick sent to me followed by a picture that Erick’s mom took of him last week near his sister’s in-law’s ranch. I know that many of you prayed and prayed for him, and those prayers seemed to go unanswered. But God’s purposes are greater than our own; and it seems that He has been working in Erick’s heart all along.

We appreciate your continued prayers for Erick as he prepares to come back to Tegucigalpa to enter rehab. Pray for us this next week as well as we receive a team from Portland, Oregon led by Brian Wiggs.


Michael Miller

Friday, June 13, 2008

Update on Laje and Wilmer

Laje came by the Micah House tonight (see the post directly below this one to learn more about him). It was wonderful to see him! I had been in the States for almost two weeks and was out of contact with him. When I walked out of the Micah House to talk to him, I saw something on his face that I had never seen before: happiness. He began to talk excitedly about what God was doing in his life. He said I was right when I said that God was going to do something big in his life this month. He was so excited to tell me that he hadn't consumed any drug in 11 days...a record for him! I told him that each day was a victory that should be celebrated.

He told me that the police had taken him a few days before I went up to the States and held him for eight days on suspicions of gang activity. Throughout his time in jail, he was able to pray and keep his calm. Because of his demeanor, they let him out on condition that he not be caught again in gang activities. He has been reading the book that I gave him called "Emerging from the Darkness"and is through chapter 9. He said that he is really ready to grow spiritually. I told him that God is also ready to do great things in his life! He knows that it is not easy to change and that the old habits die hard. Even so, Laje is absolutey sure that it is God working in him that is keeping him from cosuming drugs and getting into further trouble.

There is so much going on in Laje's heart right now. It is easy to see that he desires to begin a new journey in his life. Pray that our future contacts with him would lead him in the right direction. Sometimes I feel scared that I don't have the right resources to help Laje give up his life as a hoodlum. Then I remember...I don't change anybody...I don't save anyone. It is God who saves, and it is his mighty hand that leads us to that point. Please continue to pray for Laje!

Also, fourteen year old Wilmer came by today for the first time in several weeks (see the picture above of his visit). You may remember from past posts that Wilmer had been escaping from the Micah House every two or three weeks to go back to the streets and the drugs. A couple of months ago, when he escaped yet again, we made the decision to not go after him to bring him back. We felt that he needed to show that he desired to be a part of the Micah Project.

Dan and our street team have talked with him several times since then, encouraging him to come back to the project through his own free will. During these months, Wilmer seemed to be splitting time between the streets and his mom's room in the market district. For whatever reason, he began to spend more and more time with his mom and less time on the streets.

Today, when he showed up with his younger brother Nelson, we got the impression that he had not been consuming yellow glue for some time. He was calm, exhibiting none of the frenetic energy that he had when he was struggling to overcome his glue addiction. He spent most of the day with us, playing with the other guys as if he had never left. In the evening, he and his brother went home, but they promised to come back tomorrow to spend the day with our mission team from Houston, which arrived this evening.

We're not sure what happens next with Wilmer. If he spends this week working with our missions team from Houston, it will help us to observe where he is at in terms of his addiction. It is possible that we might work out a plan in which he can spent part time at his home and part time with us. He was just learning the first few letters of the alphabet when he ran away; we would love to be able to restart his education once again.

Please pray for 27 year old Laje and 14 year old Wilmer. Both are at a crossroads, making decisions that could change the rest of their lives. Pray for wisdom on our part as well, that we could facilitate healing and growth in both of their lives.

Muchas gracias!