Tuesday, December 29, 2009
* The strength and grace to continue as the Lord's ambassadors here in Honduras.
As I have previously mentioned several times on the blog, reflecting Christ at all times and in all circumstances can be tiring. In fact, without the Lord's grace, it would be impossible! Please pray that He continues to grant us the ability to show all those around us His glory!
* Grace and Compassion for the coming year.
Those who work in emotionally draining situations often talk about "compassion burnout" - the stage in which the worker simply does not care anymore about the suffering around them as it's simply too overwhelming for their emotionally exhausted state. However, the Lord has continually refreshed us and kept us able to minister for year after year. Please pray with us that He continues to supernaturally grant us the compassion, tenderness, and ability to extend grace.
* Continued Safety.
Our neighborhood can be rough, as evidenced by the fact that Wilmer was attacked a little more than a week ago. Please pray that the Lord continues to guard us and that He grants us the ability to talk and witness to those who feel the need to commit these crimes in order to survive.
* Brian Wiggs' technical school.
Please pray for our newest outreach this coming year as Brian continues strategic planning for the technical school and looking for a location. We also ask you pray for the Wiggs family as they continue to adjust to Honduras and learn Spanish.
* Strategic planning for Micah.
We are currently still in the midst of planning for the next five years of Micah ministry. Please pray that the Lord grants us wisdom and that we are able to set good goals. Also, praise the Lord: this is an exciting time for us as we think about ways in which we can expand our ministry!
* For the guys to take their individual spiritual walks seriously this year.
This past Sunday, Michael challenged each of the guys to consider where they were going to at the end of next year. He asked them if they were going to be growing, would have fallen over the course of the year, or would they be trying to stay the same? He also reminded them that life is short, that it is unpredictable, and that we all should make the most of our time here on earth in serving the Lord. Please pray that the guys take Michael's challenge to heart, do not rely their identities as "Micah guys" to cover their spiritual growth, and instead earnestly seek the Lord's work in their lives.
* And, as always, praise and thanksgiving!!
- Another successful year of ministry!! I (David Hawthorne) have read several social studies journals on outreach to street youth. The normal "high" success rate for an outreach to street youth is around 50%. Micah, in comparison, has had over 80% of its participants graduate from its program and leave the streets far behind!! Praise God for mightily blessing our ministry!!
- Safety. Despite rising crime rates and even a coup, we have been kept safe this past year. Thank God for His protection!
- For all of you who support us! You all donate to us, write to us, visit us, invest your time in our young men, pray for us, and generally just let us know that we are loved. Thank you all so much!!
- For new staff members. We have been blessed by the additions of Jenna Miller, the Wiggs family and David Hawthorne.
- For all those outside of Micah who came alongside of us in ministry this year. We are especially grateful for Barry Horst, Brian and Victoria Silverio, and Eduardo Barahona for all that they have done for our guys this year.
- For being in the service in our God. He has saved us, He equips us, and He keeps us fighting for the growth of our guys. Praise Him for loving us so dearly!!
We are excited to see how the Lord blesses us in the coming year and we hope that you will keep walking this path with us.
In a quick year-end note:
- We are offering a 2010 12-month Micah calendar for $20. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to order one. God bless and have a Happy New Year!!
Rejoicing in the Lord,
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This week, instead of bringing you the usual lists of prayer requests, we here at Micah have chosen to dedicate this post to reminding you of the many ways in which we have been blessed this year. This week, we ask to you to join in praising for:
Crime rates in Honduras have continued to climb over this past year. However, we here at Micah have been kept safe even as the drug gangs have grown in size and the violence in the streets worsens (for an insightful article on the growth of violent crime in Honduras, see: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1948258,00.html). Additionally, the global economic downturn has put increased strain on many who are simply fighting to survive. Sadly, some of these people will begin to feel that the only way to make money is through crime, further driving up the crime rate. We are very thankful for the Lord's protection this past year. However, we have still been touched by the growing levels of crime. Just this past Sunday, Wilmer was assaulted by three men with pistols while out riding his bicycle within two blocks of Micah. Because he refused to give them his bike, they threatened his life and the lives of the rest of our young men. We ask to you to pray for continued safety and protection for all of us connected with Micah.
* The return of our older guys from college.
This week, almost all of our graduates and college students are returning home to spend Christmas with us! We are always excited to see the continued growth in these young men and grateful for the words of wisdom that they share with our younger guys. Additionally, we praise the Lord for how far He has brought these young men. They are living testimonies to the power of our God transforming the hearts of street kids. We look forward to seeing how He will continue to work in the coming years.
* For all those who chose to support Micah and it's missionaries this year.
We know that this year has been difficult financially for many. However, despite the economic downturn, you have continued to faithfully support the Micah Project. Thanks to you, we have been able to raise our boys, run our educational program, expand our street outreach, and begin a new ministry to our boys' single moms! Also, many thanks to all of you who have supported us with your prayers and words of encouragement!!
* For the ways in which our guys have grown.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Despite some of our recent challenges, the past week went by smoothly. John and Becca Bell took a brief trip to the Caribbean town of La Ceiba to celebrate their first wedding anniversary while Jenna, Roger, and myself kept Micah running. The Wiggs family, after many weeks of waiting, finally received the household items that they had shipped down from the U.S. Additionally, Hector Licona and Brian Wiggs began expanding our street outreach program. This is not to say that the week was without its own struggles. However, we have definitely seen our God answering prayers and moving in the hearts of the guys. Please join us in this pray this week as we lift up:
* Juan Carlos
"Our" Juan Carlos left Micah this past year after a long period of trials and struggle. However, we maintained contact with him while he lived outside the home and we have continued to encourage him to move forward with his life. This past Monday, he made the decision to join the Honduran army as part of an effort to get his life back on track. Please pray for him the following ways:
- That he is able to flourish in the army and go through a process of self-discovery and healing...a process that will give him a new thirst for the Lord.
* For the lessons of Christmas to be real in the hearts of our guys.
For any young person, there is a danger that Christmas can only be more about gifts and holiday excitement than about Emmanuel. Pray that they will remember their true Christmas gift: salvation!
* Further healing for Marvin and Axel.
After the drama of two weeks ago, we have had healing conversations with both Marvin and Axel as they continue to deal with the addiction and violence of their past lives. Continue to pray for healing!
* The Wiggs
Please pray that the Wiggs family is able to continue to settle into Honduras, that language classes go well, and that they are able to continue to surmount culture shock. We also ask you all to pray for wisdom for them as they begin the intensive planning phase of the new mechanical school.
* Continued safe travels for Michael
Michael returns to Honduras on Friday, but we ask that you keep his safety (and possibly his sanity - travel is stressful) in your prayers as he travels within the U.S.
*Pray for our board of directors as they continue an exciting strategic planning process to improve Micah's governance structure.
*And it's time to give glory to our God:
- For the repentance in both Marvincito and Axel.
- For continued strength. Our God calls to work for Him and then gives us everything that we need in order to do all He has called us to do. Praise our God for helping us overcome all challenges!!
- For signs of political stability. Things still remain uncertain politically, but we are grateful that Honduras finally seems to be on a forward path.
- For signs of God's hand working in our guys. Whether in a smile, a hug, a "gracias," or in a obvious declaration of love of our God, we are always encouraged to evidence of His changing the hearts of our guys. Praise God that He can turn streets kids into His emissaries!
-For all of YOU that have sustained Micah in 2009 through your prayers, your support and your time as volunteers. Indeed, it does take a village to raise a child!
To close, I want to paraphrase 2 Corinthians 4:18-20 (which I quoted a couple of weeks ago), which I feel still applies to us: "We are tired, but hopeful; frustrated, but calm; attacked, but not defeated; knocked down, but not out; all so that we can show the reality of God-with-us in our own lives to anyone who will look." We here at Micah are pressing forward in the faith, and we pray that you are also able to press on.
Lord have mercy,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
This has been an intense and busy time here at Micah! Michael is in the States, reconnecting with friends and project supporters. He has been able to spend time with Oscar Amaya and Olvin Funez, which has been a real blessing to him! John and Rebecca Bell celebrated their first wedding anniversary on Monday; Becca flew back from the project's board meeting in Houston in order to celebrate!
We have been rolling through our school vacation here and the guys are getting excited about Christmas! A couple of our young men have been facing spiritual attack in the last couple of weeks. Please join us this week in praying for:
Marvincito ("Little Marvin") has made tremendous progress since leaving the streets for the Micah House in 2007. He has impressed us with his intelligence as he rapidly progressed from street child to successful sixth grade graduate. Additionally, we have enjoyed his smile and his desire to laugh and enjoy life. However, he is still in recovery from his glue addiction and still shows after-effects from life on the streets. Recently, he had a meltdown and we had to remove him from the Micah house for a few days. Pray:
- That Marvin's healing process continues when he returns to the house this week. Pray that he can overcome the scars of street life and reach a place of wholeness.
Axel entered Micah over a weekend in late September 2008, and simply settled right into our lives. He struck us all as a very relaxed, funny young man, but who had led a troubled life. Over the course of the past year, the stain of the evil that Axel witnessed and experienced on the streets has troubled him. He has also hit adolescence at full speed and has "normal" teenage issues of rebellion and anger in addition to the deeper pain that he carried from his past. However, he has been maturing and leaving these things behind him.
This week, Axel has been on a home visit, staying with his mom in the market district of Tegucigalpa. We talked to his mom a couple of days ago, and she fears that he has reconnected with some of the kids from his street days and has been running with them the last few days. We have not been able to talk to him about this yet to verify what is actually going on.
-That the Lord would protect Axel during his home visit, and if he is running with his old friends, that he would make good decisions and avoid temptation.
- For the Lord to heal him. Axel has walked some incredibly dark paths - few by his own choice. Please pray that the Lord would continue to transform his troubled heart.
Pray for our staff, that we can continue to model hope for our young men even when darkness threatens to overwhelm them. God has been so faithful to them over the last ten years of ministry; pray that He strengthens us as we enter into the next ten years!
*For the stability of the guys
Many of our young men are doing home visits to extended family during the Christmas season. That can be a blessing, but it can also expose them to some of the things that put them on the streets in the first place. Please pray that they are able to stand strong and be a light to their families!
*For the Wiggs Family
They are still in a transitional period after arriving in Honduras less than a month ago. Please keep the entire Wiggs family in your prayers as they fight through culture shock and work on their Spanish skills.
*And, the things that keep us from despairing: PRAISE!!!
- Roger's return to work. Micah staffer Roger Figueroa had taken a month away from work in order to deal with medical issues. Although he didn't receive a definite diagnoses, he is still back with us once again and is feeling fine! We are so grateful for him and his help!!
- Juan Carlos/Laje. We met this young man over a year ago after he robbed the Micah house (see:http://micahcentral.blogspot.com/2008/05/break-in-and-broken-heart.html for the original post). Now, he is regularly mentored by John Bell and Brain Wiggs and is pressing ahead into a different life. He has had his struggles, but he is growing and we are amazed to see the changes in his life - in fact, he just spent three days helping paint the Wiggs's house!
- Nelson. One of our newest young men and Wilmer's younger brother, Nelson is a quiet, witty, and loving young man. We are so grateful for the joy that he brings us and I'm looking forward to reading the best-selling memoir that I'm certain he will pen someday (he's just the type that would...)!
- Safe travels for the Bells and Jenna. These three took some of our guys to visit their families in the countryside. After an overnight stay away from the city, they safely returned home. We're more than just a little happy that they're fine!
- A God who will win the battle. In the end, He wins, Satan loses. Not much else to say.
We serve a powerful, loving God, and we press on in the fight. He is mighty to save, and has already redeemed many young men through Micah. Because He is faithful, we are confident that our Lord will bear us up and keep on working through us in the lives of our young men. Therefore, let us join together in prayer before this amazing God and take this battle for the futures of the Micah guys to our foe.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thanks for your prayers!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We here at Micah Project are once again happy to be settling back into a set routine. Our trip to La Ceiba was an amazing time on the northern coast, playing and relaxing. While we had a lot of fun and we are very grateful to the entire Herbold family, we are also glad to be back home in Tegucigalpa. However, we are heading into a busy season. This week, Michael Miller and Rebecca Bell are gearing up for the annual board meeting while the rest of us are bracing for the month of December. With Christmas updates, Christmas mailings, guys going to visit families in the countryside, Christmas day, planning for the next five years, and the start of strategic planning for the Wiggs' future ministry, we here at Micah have a lot of work ahead of us this month! Still, even in the midst of the stress, we are rejoicing in the Lord's faithfulness and goodness to us. Every time that I have felt discouraged, defeated, or simply out of energy, the Lord has provided a Bible verse, a word from a friend in the U.S. or a co-worker here, or has He simply directly comforted my soul. Michael commented during a recent staff meeting how encouraged he felt in seeing our God's timing in bringing the Wiggs family here. Thus, even as the work piles up, we are encouraged and ready as we move ahead into the insanity and joy that will be this month. Still, please join us in prayer for this week and this month. This week, we are especially praying for:
* Safe Travels
Michael leaves for a two-week trip to the U.S. this coming Thursday and plans to return on Dec 18. Becca is traveling with him to the board meeting this coming weekend and plans to return on the seventh of this month. However, she and John then plan to head home for Christmas shortly before Michael's return. Additionally, almost, if not all, of our college guys are coming home for Christmas! Please be praying for safe and smooth travels for all. Please also be praying for those of us who will be staying here. We're going to be very short-staffed, so please pray for energy, endurance, patience, and sanity!
* Board Meeting this coming weekend.
As I previously mentioned, Michael and Becca are heading to the U.S. this weekend in order to meet with the board of directors. They'll be discussing items ranging from our annual budget to working on our five-year strategic plan. This meeting has important ramifications for our future, so please be praying for wisdom for the board.
* Political Peace
Honduras has just held peaceful elections for a new president, but the situation remains far from resolved as both the country of Brazil and the ex-president are denying the validity of the results. However, election day passed with little violence, with none whatsoever here in the capital. It appears that most people simply want to move ahead and have peace once again in Honduras. However, we are still waiting to see if this will actually happen. Please join us and the vast majority of Hondurans in praying that the transition to the new president is smooth and that the rest of the world accepts the election results.
* The continuing work of the Lord in the hearts of our guys
Transformation is a slow, messy business that requires a big dose of the Lord's help. Please pray that the Lord works in the hearts of our guys and produces fruit in their lives. We are constantly attempting to be positive influences on the guys, but only the Lord causes them to grow. Please join our prayer that they are able to move forward and become witnesses here in Honduras to our God's greatness.
* The Wiggs Family
Moving to a new country is difficult, but especially so for an entire family. Please pray for their transition as they settle into their lives here in Honduras. Please especially pray for wisdom and patience as they try to get their household items shipped to them here, as it is taking a long time and they are encountering many people who are attempting to scam them with extra (non-existent) costs and taxes.
* And, as always, the stuff of dancing and singing: PRAISES!
- An amazing trip to La Ceiba. We had a lot of fun, were able to spend time with the Herbolds, relax, and just take a break from normal life! No one broke any body parts, so double praises!!
- The Wiggs are here! I've mentioned this before, but we are really, really, really happy to have them and their energy and passion here with us!!
- Peaceful elections. After a summer and fall of tension and wondering, it looks more and more like our political problems will soon be part of the past.
- Two smooth weeks in a row. We have had very few meltdowns and have seen growth in the lives of some of our more difficult guys. Thank God that He is working!
- Our Lord's faithfulness. I mention this almost every week, but it's true every time!! Our God gives us the strength to finish every day and to be a light to our guys.
As a closing thought, I just wanted to quote 2 Corinthians 4:18-20: "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." We can be tired, but we press on. We can be frustrated, but we continue showing Christ's love. The coming month will have its moments of testing and turmoil, but upon reading this scripture, I'm ready to say one thing: "Bring it."
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I just wanted to remind you all that the Honduran national elections for the office of president are tomorrow. There are a lot of things that could go wrong, but if everything goes well, the international community will most likely recognize the results of the elections, effectively ending our current political problems. Please be praying for a peaceful and smooth voting process, that everyone will refrain from violent protests, and that the transitional period from our current quagmire to the new president will be smooth. We'll keep you all posted on the election results and their effects!
Trusting in Him,
Friday, November 27, 2009
This week, please accept my apologies in being very late in posting our weekly prayer requests. However, I can offer a valid excuse: Micah Project has just returned from being ten hours away from Tegucigalpa, where we played and relaxed in the the natural beauty of La Ceiba on the Northern Honduran Coast. I now have an internet connection once again, so I thought that I send all of you a brief update/some prayer requests. We at Micah are doing well and really enjoyed the opportunity to be outside of the city and in a different routine. We are also very excited to be spending time this week with our good friends, the Herbold family. The guys had a LOT of fun doing things like riding through the rainforest canopy on ziplines, white-water rafting, playing on the beach, and jumping off a cliff into a river (my fifth jump went wrong and I kinda fell over the edge...thence the title).
Please keep us in your prayers for this weekend. The Herbolds are leaving for the U.S. tomorrow and Jenna Miller is returning from a visit to her family. Please pray that they all have safe and smooth trips. Also, please be continually in prayer for the Lord to work in the hearts of the guys. In everything that we do, whether in work or play, we work to see the Lord glorified through both our lives and the lives of the guys (to paraphrase the apostle Paul). Please pray that He is glorified in our lives, our words, and in our actions over the course of this weekend! Post-Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to all of you!!
Sunburned and happy about it,
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
* Comfort for the Family of Mary Yates.
It is always tragic when someone's life and ministry is cut short like Mary's. Please pray for the comfort of her family, even as we rejoice that she has now joined the heavenly festival. Also, please join us in praising the Lord for the mighty work that He did through Mary during her time here on earth (for more information on Mary's ministry, see: http://micahcentral.blogspot.com/2008/04/using-talents-to-build-gods-kindgom.html).
* The Wiggs Family.
We are excited here at Micah over the arrival of the Wiggs family today. Brian Wiggs is a talented mechanic and plans on opening the Micah Project technical school here in Honduras for older street children and Micah graduates who may not wish to pursue advanced academic degrees. Please pray for the entire Wiggs family as they transition into this new country as well as for Brian as he begins setting up his new school (for more information, see: http://www.micahcentral.org/Staff/staff.htm).
-Long-term Micah staffer Roger Figueroa has had continuing health problems. A few times, he has had seizures in the middle of the night, and is currently taking some time off in order to relax and consult with the doctors. Please pray that the doctors are able to swiftly find the root cause of his health issues and that Roger himself is able to receive the Lord's comfort as he worries over his health.
- Tony, one of our friends from Villa Linda Miller. Back in 2006, Tony broke his back while diving into a river and lost the use of his legs. Since then, he has pressed on with his schooling and has focused on finishing high school. Recently, though, we received word that he has had heart issues and is the hospital. Please pray for him and know that we'll keep you all updated on his situation!
* Our Strategic Plan
Micah is in the midst of creating a five-year strategic plan. Please pray for wisdom for us as we look ahead into the future and ask the Lord what He would have us do in that time.
* True and Deep Revival in Micah House
Pray that the Lord works in the hearts of our guys. As a staff, we strive to teach them the way to Him, but in the end, only He can change their hearts. Please ask the Lord that the Holy Spirit will continue to move powerfully and tangibly in everyone here at Micah and please pray that the Micah guys will be filled with a longing for the Lord and His ways.
* And, as always, it is my pleasure to bring to you the things that cause us to praise!
- The graduation of Marvin and Pedro Luis. Despite an occasionally bumpy road, both of these young men arrived at an important marker in their journeys. Marvin, especially, has had challenges along the way, but has always returned to his studies. Praise God for how he has grown!!
- The arrival of the Wiggs family. We are very excited about how our God can use them here in Honduras!
- Wonderful and Refreshing visits from Mary Floye Federer and Marvin Morazan. It is always a joy to receive a hug from Mary Floye and to hear Marvin sing!
- Meeting the national soccer team. This is not a joke: while taking Mary Floye to the airport this past Sunday, Michael and the guys met Honduras's national soccer team while waiting in line with Mary Floye! The guys were able to get their pictures taken with several of the players, and most of the guys are still parading the shirts that the players signed. This was an entirely random, but very fun, happenstance!!
It is truly my joy to walk this path with all of you, our friends and family. Even when we have sad news, such as the passing of Mary Yates, it is a comfort to know that we have a faithful group who will eagerly offer support and prayer. Please keep the family of Mary Yates especially in your prayers this week and seek to support them however possible. Dios les bendiga (God bless you all).
Walking in Mercy,
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Every Sunday night, we here at Micah have a worship meeting. The theme of our meetings can vary from asking the guys to remember a lesson from the week or reminding them of some basic scriptural truth. This past Sunday, Michael used the events of the past week to offer a challenge to the guys: make wise decisions. Using the example of someone from our neighborhood who threw away a chance at Micah in order to steal some stuffed animals, Michael spoke about how one bad decision in youth can have repercussions throughout life. He then challenged the guys to avoid seeking the temporary pleasures of this world and instead focus on the eternal pleasures of the Lord. He asked them to use their coming vacation wisely, in order to learn and grow rather than just misspending their time. I hope and pray that this challenge sinks into the hearts of everyone who was there, and that we are able to see change and growth over the next three months. As I, and the rest of the staff, pray for Micah this week and for this vacation period, please join us in praying for:
The school year is over and the guys are out on vacation! They are very excited, but this also means more work for the staff and more opportunities for conflicts to arise. However, it is also an excellent time for the guys to explore their own talents as well as pursue individual personal growth. Please pray:
- That the guys would use this time wisely. Michael challenged them to make decisions during vacation that would honor the Lord and lead to growth. Please pray that this comes to pass.
- For our staff. We are somewhat short-staffed at the moment due to illness, so we are all carrying a larger portion of responsibility than normal. Please pray that we are able to have the endurance and wisdom to handle our increased workload.
Long-term staffer Roger Figueroa has been having seizures at night. He is undergoing further physical exams and medical tests in order to discover the underlying cause of his health issues. Please pray that the doctors quickly discover the cause of his seizures and are able to treat it. Also, please pray that he will receive the Lord's comfort as he worries over his health.
*Graduation this weekend
Please pray for a smooth ceremony and that we are able to joyfully celebrate the graduation of Marvin and Pedro Luis from the sixth grade! Also, please pray for a safe journey for Mary Floye as she comes to visit and celebrate with us. (Interesting fact: 2 1/2 years ago, Marvin was a street kid with no formal education - isn't God amazing?)
Many of us here at Micah feel that we are waging a war over the lives of our guys. Please pray:
- For the staff as we strive to see God's work in their lives and to hinder Satan's plans for these young men.
- More importantly, for the young men. Pray that they will see God's love for them and that they will positively respond to that love. Pray that they are able to confront pain from their pasts and that they will be able to grow through that pain rather than cave into the temptations of anger, pornography, or rebellion. Pray that the Lord will work in their hearts and raise up another generation from Micah Project filled with maturity and a desire to carry out the Lord's work in their lives!
And the stuff that makes peanut butter and chocolate ice cream seem petty: PRAISES!
Marvin and Pedro Luis are graduating from the sixth grade! Praise the Lord that these young men are forging ahead, despite all obstacles and temptations!
*Marvin Morazan coming to visit
"MJMV Little" (as he calls himself) is coming home to visit for graduation! We here are very excited to have him visit and encourage our guys. We are also grateful for how he has matured and grown!
*For continuing strength to work in the lives of the guys.
Like I've mentioned before on the blog, Micah life is tiring. We are grateful for the strength of the Lord as well as His faithfulness to us as we work here. Our God is so loving!
This young man has shown incredible growth over the past year! He has gone from being one of the youngest, more immature members of Micah to an example to which we can point. We are so thankful that he has come so far!
As always, the faithfulness of our Lord continues to overwhelm me. Not only does He work in each of the guys and encourage us, but He also has brought us loyal family members and friends who care and pray for us. Thank you, each and every one of you, for responding to the Lord's call and partnering with us in prayer. Thank you, Lord, for continuing to be our foundation.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Please accept their (and our) gratitude to all of you whose prayers and support made this retreat a success!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This past weekend was a wonderful time in the Honduran mountains, laughing and playing. The time away from the city was not only a time of personal relaxation and renewal, but it was also a time for us to take time out of our hectic lives and reflect on the amazing relationship that we enjoy with our Savior. Today, we are back in Tegucigalpa, hurtling back into midst of our routines and 'normal' lives. As we (literally) come down from the mountain and prepare ourselves for this new month, I ask that you join us in praying for this week and the start of the month. Please join us in praying for:
*Applying lessons from our spiritual retreat.
This past weekend was a wonderful time for us to focus on our limitations and weaknesses as humans...and on how the Lord loves us, saved us, and works in us - despite our failures! We were all able to have good times talking about sin, forgiveness, and giving praise to our constant Lord. In light of the lessons of this weekend, please pray:
- That the guys are able to internalize the lessons of this weekend into their hearts. We can teach, model, and discuss the Christian faith here in Micah, but only God can change the hearts of our guys. Please pray that this weekend marks the start of a period of spiritual growth and revival here in Micah.
- That, as part of our efforts to facilitate growth in the guys, that we are able to have meaningful conversations with each of our young men over the course of the next few weeks. Please pray that we are able to see continued growth.
* End of the school year/vacation
- Our school year finishes at the end of this week. Please pray for our guys' ability to focus until the end (it has already been a challenge so far this week). Also, please pray for us as we plan for 'summer' vacation.
* Marvin Soto
Please pray that he finds work.
* Our Staff
- All of us, both Hondurans and Americans, work long days while pouring ourselves into our young men. While Micah's work can be very rewarding, it can also be emotionally and mentally draining. Please pray that we are able to find sufficient time to rest, to be spiritually refreshed, and to deal with the details of our lives (like finding time to wash clothes or buying food to eat).
- In our home.
- In our barrio.
- In our country.
And, once again, it is my pleasure to bring you PRAISES!!
- For a safe, refreshing, and growing weekend (not to mention the beauty of a Honduran rainforest...).
- For an encouraging visit from Melody Dunne.
- For a proposed (and likely to succeed) peace deal that will finally end Honduras's political turmoil.
- Another day of life in which we can walk with our Divine Lover!
Our Lord is so faithful. This weekend, with its times of reflection, powerfully reminded me that the Lord is our foundation for everything that we do. No street child passes through our doors and not one of our young men matures without our God working in them. It is the same work of the same God that drives on myself and the rest of Micah's staff. By the grace of our Lord, I, alongside the rest of Micah's dedicated team, am able to press on through all challenges and help to raise these young men. May the grace of God continue to be sufficient for all of us.
Lord Have Mercy,
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Dear Family and Friends, it is once again my privilege to bring you Micah's weekly prayer requests. In an (occasionally very stressful) instant, another week has come and gone. Now, as we look ahead to another week of insanity and joy, please join us in praying for:
*Our spiritual retreat this coming weekend.
- For both safety and peace between the guys as we travel.
- That the Lord would use this time to work in both the hearts of the guys and the staff. Please pray that our theme of repentance is brought home as we all confront and confess the sin in our lives. Also, please pray that as we come to fuller understanding of our own sinfulness, we will also come to a deeper knowledge of Christ's love in delivering us from sin.
*Tino Hernandez and Marvin Soto
- Please pray for these two college grads as Marvin looks for work in the U.S. while Tino searches for a job here in Honduras. Also, please keep all of the unemployed in Honduras and the U.S. in your prayers.
- For a good and focused end to the school year! Please pray that our teachers are able to get their grades finalized and submitted to the government on time and with a minimum of stress.
- In Honduras. As the two political factions continue to talk, there have been reports of near-agreements, but nothing has been finalized. Please pray that the two factions are able to find consensus before the elections next month.
- In our neighborhood. As crime and drugs continue to sweep through our barrio, please pray for both our safety and that of our neighbors. Also, please pray that the people in our barrio will turn to Christ for hope and enjoyment instead of drugs and violence.
- In our home. Raising ten teenagers can be intense! Please pray for peace between the guys as well as patience and love from our staff.
- As the director, Michael deals with many of Micah's administrative details while also serving as its primary caregiver. Additionally, he frequently takes extra work upon himself to ensure that his staff is properly rested. Please pray that he is able to find enough time in order to relax and recharge. Also, please pray that we, the staff, are able to find ways to help lighten Michael's workload.
And now, PRAISES:
- For Jenna's health. After almost two weeks away from Micah with a bad case of Dengue Fever, Jenna is once again back at Micah! We are very happy to see her here again!
- For our visitors. Bob and Jo Bewley had a wonderful, although brief, visit (see Jo Bewely with the Micah Moms sewing group in the photo on the right)! Also, praise God that Melody Dunne had a safe trip down and is currently enjoying her week-long visit.
- For another week to enjoy the mercy and love of our God!
I simply cannot thank you, our supporters, enough for the opportunity that you provide us in being able to take part of this amazing ministry! Also, many thanks for your love for us and concern about the details of our lives. We hope to keep walking this road with you for many more years!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
In addition to the weekly prayer requests, another new feature we will be adding to our blog is the street kid spotlight. Although a huge part of our ministry is focused on the guys we have living in the Micah Project, our heart and our prayers still go out to the ones who continue living on the streets. A variety of factors have driven these children and teenagers from their homes to the rough life of the streets. And more often than not, the addiction that they develop to inhaling industrial shoe glue keeps them there. We hope that as you come to know their faces and their stories, you will lift them up faithfully in prayer before our Heavenly Father who loves them.
Our first spotlight falls blazingly on an incredible young lady named Rosa Yanet. Rosa’s mom died when she was very young and Rosa never had the chance to know her. She was raised by her father, though he did not take very good care of her. Rosa is 15 years old, and has been living on the streets for many years now. She dropped out of school after the second grade, and she doesn’t know how to read or write.
As one of very few girls living on the streets, one can only imagine the sort of life she has suffered. She keeps her hair short and wears baggy clothes to fit in with the street boys that she hangs out with, and she has easily been mistaken for just another one of the boys. Thankfully, many of the street boys have taken to protecting her and doing what they can to keep her safe. Rosa comes on a weekly basis to street kid soccer, though she never plays because she worries that the boys play too rough and she would get hurt. But she will happily sit on the bleachers and color pictures while the boys have their fun on the field.
Recently, Rosa joined the Micah Project on a couple of Saturday outings to local parks. It was nice to see her not high on glue. In fact, on Friday night when I invited her to come the next morning she motioned to her bottle of glue and said, “But I won’t bring this with me. It’s rude to bring this if someone invites you somewhere.” She was very pleasant and had fun riding bikes, playing in the swimming pool and kicking the soccer ball around. It was wonderful to see her enjoying the simple fact of being a child… something she never really got to celebrate growing up.
At 15, Rosa is too old for many of the centers in Tegucigalpa, and since the Micah Project is a home for boys, there’s not much we can offer her either. Our prayer for Rosa is that she would find a safe place to call home and that she would come to know the love of her Father in heaven, and live in the understanding that she is a beautiful princess in His eyes. Please join with us in prayer for Rosa Yanet!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Once again, I (David Hawthorne) am privileged to bring you, our friends and family, Micah's weekly prayer requests. This has been quite the week! While I was raising my support back home during the summer, I missed the action and swirl of Micah. Now that I'm here, I'm wondering why I was so eager to give up the peace and quiet of home! Micah is once again proving to be an exciting and exhausting ride. As I'm back in the midst of the turmoil, drama, laughter and raw emotions that is life here at Micah, all I can do is bow my head and pray for wisdom, compassion and endurance in order to meet the torrent of needs that arise from Micah life. Please join me in these prayers.
This week, please pray for:
-Jenna Miller, one of our missionaries, has been sick for over an entire week. On Sunday, we learned that she likely has Dengue Fever. Please pray for her convalescence and that she is soon able to get back on her feet.
- Hauner Amaya. Oscar's younger brother has had a lingering sore throat for almost a week. Please pray that the medicine we bought will help him and that he soon feels able to resume his normal routine.
- Cristofer. Last week he had a 103 degree fever and a very sore throat. Thankfully, the medicine he's taking seems to be working and he's once again out and about. Still, please pray that he continues to recover quickly.
- This weekend, several of us are attended a fundraiser being help in our honor at a local school. The school is looking to promote awareness of homelessness and the plight of street kids as well as raise support for Micah. Please pray for our guys as this is an awesome opportunity for them to share their stories. Also, please pray that some people here in Tegucigalpa are able to learn more about the suffering that happens right here in their own city.
- In almost two weeks, we are taking the guys on a spiritual retreat with the theme of repentance. Please pray that everyone who goes is able to learn and grow. Also, recently, many of our young men have begun to confront the pain left by the horrors of their homes and street life. Please pray that the Lord is able to use this time to bring further healing into their lives.
- Both Melody Dunne and Bob and Jo Bewley are scheduled to visit within the next few weeks. Please pray that their visits go smoothly and well.
- Both Micah's Board of Directors and our staff are looking to create a five-year strategic plan for Micah. Please pray for us as we consider our vision for Micah's future.
-Please pray for both our own finances as well as all for those suffering in this slow economy - both here in Honduras and in the U.S.
-Please pray that Marvin Soto and Tino Hernandez are able to find work in the U.S. and Honduras, respectively. Both of these young men, alumni of our group home, graduated this May from Missouri Baptist University and have been looking work ever since then.
-Despite a joyous celebration Wednesday night as Honduras earned a placed in the 2010 World Cup, it remains a divided country. Please pray that a peaceful situation will be found, and that the international community will recognize the results of the upcoming national elections.
-John Bell has been working with several young men from our neighbor who have been involved with local gangs. Please pray for two of these young men: for Eduardo as he continues drug rehab and for Hector Alejandro as he examines his future options after successfully completing drug rehab.
*And now, the good stuff: PRAISES AND THANKSGIVING!!
-That we were able to have a relaxing and safe weekend as Roger Figueroa and Marlon Castellones took the guys on a road trip while the remainder of Micah's staff relaxed. Also, praise the Lord that Michael's sermon at a local church went well!
-For Wednesday night's soccer victory. With so many months of tension and fear, the chance for unity and celebration was desperately needed!!
-For Pedro Martinez's grades. He is currently studying college-level calculus and is doing quite well!
Many thanks to all of you for your financial, emotional and spiritual support. Thank you, everyone, for your faithfulness in walking this thrilling, exhausting, discouraging and rewarding path with us here at Micah.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
After a total of six and a half months here with Micah, I (David Hawthorne) thought that I had figured out a few grounds rules about living in Tegus:
1. Don't run, yell or do something else to draw too much attention to yourself while in the streets. Creating a commotion can result in unwanted attention.
2. Don't expect to be able to freely roam Tegus at night. It can be fairly safe to make short trips, but long evening walks can leave you very vulnerable to being mugged.
3. Don't ever expect people to appreciate you for being a gringo.
So, imagine my own surprise this past Wednesday night to find myself running, soaking with sweat, half-way across Tegus at 9:00 PM, leaping and screaming, pumping my fist, exchanging high-fives and whoops with strangers and receiving hugs and cheers while the entire city poured into the streets. No, I hadn't suddenly lost my mind or become a national hero. No, Wednesday night, Honduras qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the entire country was in a mood to celebrate!! To explain, please allow me to back up earlier into the evening.
Wednesday evening, while I ate dinner away from Micah, the U.S. soccer team was losing 2-1 to Costa Rica and time was rapidly waning. Honduras had defeated El Salvador earlier in the day and was temporarily in position to clinch a World Cup appearance. However, unless the U.S. was able to defeat or tie Costa Rica, Costa Rica would unseat Honduras and instead advance to the World Cup. As I climbed into a taxi for the ride home, both mine and the taxi driver's moods were gloomy. With less than two minutes left in the game, it appeared that Costa Rica, not Honduras, would be in the World Cup. However, as we drove through Tegus, people in bars and homes began yelling and screaming and a few cars began speeding while honking their horns. After a hurried conversation with some other taxi drivers and a phone call to Micah, we learned that with 15 seconds left, the U.S. had managed to score the tying goal, and that Honduras was going to South Africa and the World Cup!!
The taxi driver and I quickly lost focus of getting to Micah as we rocketed through the back roads of Tegus. He was hitting the horn over and over as I banged on the roof and yelled out the window. People poured out of buildings, yelling and cheering. A police car pulled up next to us and hit its lights - but rather than pulling us over, the police officers being honking their horn and turning their siren on and off, over and over again in celebration. Other police officers were in the streets hugging other people as children and teens ran by waving flags and soccer jerseys in the air. We eventually arrived at Micah, where I was almost knocked over by a wild combination of a high-five, hug, and chest-bump from Miguel. Some of our guys were running wildly in circles yelling. Others were simply standing there grinning. A few raided the kitchen, and with a cup, a spoon, an empty water jug, and a couple of pot lids, began to noisily lead some cheers and chants.
Soon, the guys were able to convince Michael to go let them go to the Boulevard Morazan, one of the largest streets in Tegus and located almost in the center of the city. That is how I found myself running through the streets of Tegus at night, yelling and screaming, desperately trying to keep up with our guys, stumbling over obstacles in the dark, pumping my fist in the air, leaping into the air and hearing hundreds of car horns as vehicles packed with celebrants sped up and down the streets, all while fireworks exploded overhead.
As we drew closer and closer to 'the Morazan,' the crowd became thicker and thicker and traffic almost stopped. On 'the Morazan,' thousands of people cheered, waved flags, whipped jerseys around and around over their heads, screamed, danced and chanted "Yes, they could!" or "Long Live Honduras!" Others even thanked Michael, John Bell, and I for being gringos and for how the U.S. had just helped Honduras!! Honestly, there are few words that can capture the scene there in the middle of Tegus. An entire city had poured out to wildly celebrate an event that had not happened in over 25 years! All I can do is ask you to imagine the most intense and heavily attended Superbowl party that you have ever attended and then expand that party over an entire mile. At 10:30, the party showed no signs of stopping. Even 24 hours later, an air of festivity still hung over the city as school was canceled and the president declared Thursday a holiday.
I know that the United States famous for its national disinterest in soccer. However, internationally, soccer is a matter of national pride and a chance to assert a nation's status, even when the nation lacks political power. In Honduras's case, it has just received the opportunity to hold its head up high in 2010 and remind the world that it is a sovereign nation that demands respect. For Hondurans, this is long overdue. Their last World Cup appearance was in 1982, and the chance to claim some respect is very welcome. Also, because soccer is such a weighty national matter, the joy and celebration of Wednesday night can easily be transferred into the political arena. As Honduras continues to swirl in the midst of an exhausting, terrifying, and polarizing political crisis, any glimmer of hope is welcome. Hopefully, the goodwill and joy of Wednesday night will carry over to the negotiating tables. Still, if not for anything else, Wednesday was an opportunity for the entire nation to forget about whether a neighbor was pro-Mel or pro-Micheletti and to just celebrate being Hondurans. We here are Micah are excited, not only because Honduras has something to celebrate, but also because the Lord was able to work to bring about hope, closer relations with our Honduran neighbors, and just a small measure of healing for the entire country. We are excited to see how our awesome God will use this event in the future of Honduras!
¡¡¡Viva Honduras and three cheers for our God!!!
P.S. I apologize for the poor quality of our pictures, but all we had were camera phones with us on 'the Morazan!'
Monday, October 12, 2009
This week we are introducing a new feature that will become a regular item on our blog: prayer requests. We here at the Micah Project have been incredibly blessed to have a faithful group of friends and supporters who loyally visit, fund, inquire about, and pray for us. So, on our part, we want to try to help you all enter our lives a little more easily, while seeing and sharing some of our pains, hopes, sorrows and joys. Many thanks to all of our friends and family!!
This past week in Micah has been a week of rapidly changing ups and downs in our home. Many of the guys show progress and maturity, while others struggle to gain a foothold on that path. In Honduras, the two political factions have starting talking again, but still remained deadlocked. I (David Hawthorne) am settling into Micah life once again, but am still the "new kid on the block." So, in light of such a hilly week, please pray for:
* Juan Carlos.
On Sunday, we were saddened to hear that Juan Carlos had once again run away from drug rehab. The past year has been a year of struggle for Juan Carlos, and he recently decided that it would be best if he returned to Proyecto Victoria for another round of rehab. Three weeks into the program, he announced that he longer wished to continue and left. Pray that the Lord works in his heart and causes him to change the course of his future. Although we have reached the limit of our own ability to help Juan Carlos, there is still hope that the Lord will work in him. We love this young man, and we hope and pray that this happens.
- Jenna Miller, one of our missionaries, has not been feeling well. Please pray that she is able to get back on her feet soon.
- Roger, one of our group home supervisors. Recently, he suffered some kind of seizure in his sleep. The doctors say that all the tests are negative and that he simply needs to watch his stress level. Please pray, if there is something more serious here, that the doctors are able to diagnose it.
- In our home. Our guys that come off the streets or out of violent home situations often have a difficult time handling conflict. As we deal with the inevitable conflicts that arise in a group of teen boys, pray that conflict resolution will bring healing and maturity.
- In our neighborhood. Drug use and gang violence have drastically increased in our barrio over the past few years. Please pray that our Lord does something amazing and begins to change hearts and turn things around here. Pray that people are able to find jobs and that they will not turn to drugs and gang life for hope.
- In this country. Since June, Honduras has faced a rocky political situation which has disrupted normal life here. As of right now, the two factions are talking. Please pray that they continue talking and that they are able to find an amicable solution.
* End of the school year.
- Pray that we can finish the school year (the next three weeks!) well and with a lot of energy. Also, pray that we can establish a balanced and rich routine with the young men during the vacation period with an appropriate balance of rest and activity.
* An upcoming retreat. The last weekend in October, we are taking the guys on a spiritual retreat. This retreat, our theme is going to be repentance. Please pray that our guys are able to encounter God on the retreat even as they begin to work towards repentance and forgiveness.
*And, finally, PRAISES!!
- For Wilmer. Not only has he become one of the most stable and positive influences here in the house, but he is also doing well in school. He is currently receiving a 96% grade average. This is amazing for a young man who was just learning to read a year ago!
- Pedro Luis. This year, he is taking civics classes, which are considered some of the hardest in the Honduran curriculum. However, he is doing and passing his classes with ease. Thank God that he is succeeding!
Once again, many thanks to all of you for all of your support and concern!! We continue to pray that the Lord will use us as His servants here in Teguz, and that we will see His will done and His kingdom grow.
Lord have mercy,