Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oscar Amaya: taking Christ to the Nations

Above: Oscar (far right) hangs out with his YWAM team in Switzerland!

Above: Oscar helps out at a home for disabled people in Tangiers, Morocco.

Above: Oscar is hugged by a Moroccan orphan during his YWAM experience.

Above: Oscar takes in the sites of Portland, Oregon last week while there to speak at a couple of churches.

Nothing in Oscar's childhood indicated that God would choose him to take His word to the nations. Both of his parents died of illness when he was a young boy, and he wandered through the streets of the northern Honduran town of La Ceiba shining shoes in order to stay alive. When he was finally taken into an orphanage, he already knew what it meant to be completely alone in the world.

Maybe that is exactly why he spent the last three months of his life caring for Moroccan orphans. Maybe that is why he is talking about studying psychology so that he can dedicate his life to taking care of children who are growing up just as he did. Oscar has only been out of high school for a few months, and already God is using him to make an impact on the world.

Rather than telling Oscar's story, I thought I would share a letter that he wrote after returning to Honduras after six months with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Switzerland and Morocco. His passion shines through his words!

Oscar moved to Houston in early August to begin an English language program at Houston Community College. His sponsors, Chris and Becca Herbold, are having a "welcome to Houston" party for him on September 1. You can write Chris at . If you would like to reach Oscar directly, his email is .

Please pray for him as he begins his college career in Houston and listens to God's will for His direction!

Oscar's letter:

Dear friends and family,

In this letter I want to share about the 3-month outreach phase of my Discipleship Training School through Youth with a Mission. I went with a group of ten other students and leaders to both Morocco and Spain. I got to experience a new and different culture and relate to people who may not agree with my faith, but they are still kind and hospitable people. It was always so nice to be invited to eat during our time there because every time was a new experience. I learned that when you are invited into an Arab house for a meal the host won’t eat until you are done with what has been served on the table, and if you eat everything that means you want more. So you need to know not to eat everything because then the host won’t have anything to eat after you. They also always served us an amazing mixture of black tea and a lot of sugar; very tasty!

During our outreach, we were able to serve and minister in many different places. Our first stop was in the Moroccan city of Tangier, where we split into two teams – girls and boys separate. I learned that this is more acceptable in the Arab culture. We helped in three main ministries that are established there. The girls were the bigger group and they worked at the Crèche (for abandoned babies) and Charity Sisters (a daycare for the children of single working mothers). These two ministries are very important in a country like Morocco because it’s very shameful for the family to have a child out of marriage. The other boys and I helped at the House of Nazareth, run by Franciscan brothers. It is a three part ministry – 1) a small school for kids who cannot afford it, 2) a clinic in the afternoon where they don’t give out medicine, but they clean and treat wounds (mostly knife wounds, which are common among Moroccan men, due to fighting), and 3) a home for the mentally handicapped. This third component is where I spent the most time, working with the twelve patients living there. We helped to take them out to walk and to feed them and to not let them take off their clothes. We were in Tangier for a couple of weeks and we also helped in other ministries like Kids’ Club, practical work, and other similar things.

Our second stop was in another place in Morocco very close to the Atlas Mountains where we went to help at the Village of Hope, an orphanage for abandoned children. They have a policy that their missionaries commit to terms of at least twenty years, to raise the children there to college age. I apologize, because I cannot share as much information about this home as I would like to, due to the intense spiritual atmosphere and the laws of Morocco. We helped a lot with their children and we did a lot of practical helping to bring in the harvest and did some repairs of things that needed to be fixed. We did have a lot of fun with the kids, which was special to me, because I too spent much of my childhood in an orphanage in La Ceiba, Honduras. We also spent a lot of time with the sons and daughters of the missionaries at the orphanage, which they really appreciated because there are not many boys and girls their ages there to encourage them.

The third and last place we visited was Ceuta, which is a Spanish city in the north of Africa. I had a lot of fun there because everybody spoke Spanish and all the songs were in Spanish. After spending months working on improving my English, I was now the translator for our whole group! In this place we worked with a missionary couple that has been there for over 25 years, which was a great inspiration for many of us in the group. They allowed us to help in three of their ministries. The first was the beach ministry (not for getting tans or swimming!), where we went to the beach and handed out tea to the people passing by and while they were drinking their tea we shared about the gospel. Most of the people we talked to were immigrants trying to get to Europe, particularly many Nigerians.

The second ministry was handing out tea in the market area and talking to people buying or selling there. The third was church ministry, which was fun because nobody in my group had ever been in charge of a whole church service before, and we were able to share some testimonies, a drama (“The Everything”), and even preach. And of course we helped a lot with practical work at the place where the missionary couple is working. Their ministry has grown over the years so they had a lot of repairs and painting and grass cutting for us to help with. Ceuta was a great part of my outreach, because after feeling a lot of pressure from the Arab culture and laws, I felt freer to share the gospel and talk to people about the good news of God.

We returned to Switzerland for a final week of debriefing (along with the DTS students who had gone on outreach in Moldova), and then I began my journey home to Honduras at the end of June. After arriving in Guatemala, I was stopped at the Honduras / El Salvador border, due to political problems in Honduras, and ended up staying several days with a ministry in El Salvador, where I was also able to work with children and share my story!

I am now beginning an intensive English program in Houston in the fall, with the goal of getting a degree in psychology and reaching out to other young people in the name of Christ. These six months have opened my eyes and changed my life forever!

I really want to say THANK YOU for all of your support, both in prayer and economically… as we say here in Honduras, “May God re-pay you, since I can’t!”

Oscar A.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Micah Project summer photos

Remembering what the Micah Project is all about...

...being a light in dark places...
Above: We visit Jose Daniel, Kevin and Alejandro several times a week through our street ministry. All three boys have been addicted to yellow glue for several years and make their home in the alleyways of the public outdoor market. Our prayer is that we could help each of them find a home and find freedom from their addiction. In the meantime, we try to reflect God's light to them whenever we can!

...rebuilding families...
Above: Edwin did not know his family until he was eighteen years old when he met his grandmother. Last year, he found his mom and five siblings, who were living under a bridge until the Micah Project helped them to rent a room. Last month, his 13 year old brother Miguel officially moved into the Micah House. Since Edwin (above, left) celebrated his 22nd birthday on July 8, and Miguel celebrated his 14th birthday on the 10th, we had one big celebration for them! It was the first time that Miguel had ever celebrated his birthday. They are pictured here with their little brother Manuel.

Below: Several of our boys' moms have been participating in our "Micah mamas" program this year. They come on Wednesdays for a Bible study and on Saturdays for sewing lessons. Here, our cook Aida (left) and Maycol's mom Aleyda practice with our sewing machines.

...and being a family to those who have none...
Above: Rebecca Bell and her sister Sarah smile with Marvincito and Juan Carlos in the Micah House's front door. Rebecca's whole family visited her in July, as they have done for several years. Rebecca continues to be a source of hope and direction for our guys! Her sister Sarah works for a children's home in South Africa called Pfunanane (

...beginning the pursuit of wisdom...
Above: Paty Pavon has taught in our education program for several years. Paty has grown up in the Villa Linda Miller community, and her family has been a huge support to the Micah Project. This year, one of her students is Axel (above), who is learning how to read and write.
Below: Missionary Barry Horst has been volunteering his time with the Micah Project to teach carpentry skills to the younger boys this year. Here, he supervises as Wilmer and Jason sand down a door at the Micah House.

...and helping our young men to be a light to the world...
Above: Oscar Amaya spent three months in Morocco this year with the Youth with a Mission program. It was a transformative experience in his life! Here, Oscar is hugged by an Moroccan orphan at the program where he volunteered. sing a new song...

Cristofer, Wilmer and Hector are the newest generation of Micah singers, called the "Lil Micah boys". One of our Leadership House participants, Jose, helps them to write and record songs. Here, they put all of their energyTo see the latest video from the original Los Micah Boys, click here. celebrate milestones...

Above: Juan Carlos (center) celebrated his 18th birthday on July 30. He invited friends to have a barbeque on the terrace of the Micah house. Below: John Bell cooks hamburgers and hot dogs for 50 people at Juan Carlos' birthday party! learn to love...

Above: One of the great strengths of the Micah Project is the way that our older participants speak into the lives of our younger ones. Here, Edwin Fugon and Oscar Amaya horse around with some of the younger guys!

Below: John Bell and Hector pose with Macaroni, the newest Micah mascot! play...

The Micah boys have been a part of a soccer league this year that the Micah Project has been helping to sponsor. Above: Cristofer our goalie, gets ready to put the ball in play. Below: Wilmer, on defense, sends the ball forward!

Below: Marvincito traps the ball during one of our Saturday soccer games.

Above: Axel and Cristofer push Hector on a tire swing at Brian Wiggs' newly-rented house. laugh...
Above: Maycol smiles on the Micah House patio. Maycol is most-advanced student in our educational program currently; he will complete 11th grade in November!

Below: Carlos, Marvincito and Pedro Luis take a break from their sixth grade classes to smile for the camera. Our educational program runs from 7:30 to noon every day of the school week. reach out...
Above: This is a group of street kids that we see regularly on our street ministry in the market area. Brian Wiggs (back row, second from right) will be moving to Honduras with his family in November to work with the Micah Project full time! Brian loves street ministry, and already knows many of the street kids in the market district by name. Pictured at the left is Anita, a friend from England who visited the project in July.

Below: Brian Wiggs' son Michael passes out water at the city dump during their family's visit to Honduras in July.

...and to extend God's love to a needy world...
Above: Natasha Wiggs swings with a baby at the AFE project at the city dump while her son Brian James looks on. The Wiggs family will be a huge help to the Micah Project once they move down as full time missionaries this November! person at a time...
Above: Hector (left) spent several years on the streets with Jose Daniel (who still lives on the street). Whenever Jose Daniel visits the Micah House, Hector spends a lot of time trying to convince him to leave the streets behind and move in with us!

That's what the Micah Project is all about!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

You saw me when no one saw me

Above: Oscar Amaya (tall young man in the back), a friend from England named Anita and Brian Wiggs minister to a group of street boys in the market on July 28.

Above: Hector studies a live crab in the Tegucigalpa farmer's market. Although Hector has been with us since last November, he spent three weeks back on the streets last month. Thankfully, he has returned to the Micah House!

Above: Jose Daniel holds his portrait that was painted by Carolyn Rogers. He stands next to Brian Wiggs, our newest missionary!

(This update links to a video put together by Jenna Miller about our street ministry that you can see here: ).

There is a song in Spanish, a popular worship song called La Niña de Tus Ojos, by Daniel Calvetti. Loosely translated "the child of my eyes," the song is a poem about the love between our heavenly Father and His children. It begins this way:

You saw me when no one saw me
You loved me when no one loved me
and You gave me a name,
and I am the child of your eyes.

While this song describes our spiritual condition before coming to God, in this present realm it could easily be talking about the street kids that inhabit the dark corners of Tegucigalpa's marketplace. Kids who suck all the fumes out of a bottle of yellow glue precisely because they are the forgotten of society, who desperately need to hear from their heavenly Father that they are the children of His eyes.

At the Micah House, our job is to mirror God's love into the lives of young boys who have lived life unseen, unloved...a nameless existence in a society that treats them like refuse. I could tell you many stories of how our loving and dedicated missionary staff lives out this love to our boys on a daily basis. For example, last week, our newest missionaries, Brian and Natasha Wiggs, were in Honduras with their two kids in order to rent the house that they will live in when they move here permanently in November. When they came, they presented us with a very special gift from Carolyn Rogers, one of our dear friends from Portland, Oregon. Carolyn had painted a beautiful portrait of Jose Daniel, one of the street boys who lives in the market. It was truly an amazing moment when Jose Daniel visited the Micah House one night last week and got to hold a painting of himself in his hands. Her painting told this street boy: I saw you when no one saw you.

Another missionary will be moving to Honduras this month to begin a long term ministry with us. Jenna Miller was a teacher at a bilingual school here in Tegucigalpa, but she began to volunteer in her off hours with the Micah Project. She fell in love with the street kids during our Friday "street kid soccer" ministry, and began to build strong friendships with our boys during frequent visits to the Micah House. Last week, she put together a moving video about the street kids, based on the song La Niña de tus Ojos. In the video, you can learn the names of many of these nameless children and youth!

Click here to see Jenna's video: If you want to learn more about what it means to be a street kid on yellow glue, I highly recommend the documentary "Glue boys" which you can order at .

Please continue to pray for strength, courage, and an overabundance of love for our staff: Becca, John, Michael, Roger, Marlon and the rest, as we continue to teach these boys that they are the children of God's eyes!

Su hermano en Cristo,

Michael Miller