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 email@example.com . If you would like to reach Oscar directly, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please pray for him as he begins his college career in Houston and listens to God's will for His direction!
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!”