Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weekly Prayer Requests

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry post-Christmas and a happy New Year to all of you! This past year has had amazing heights, such as Wilmer's baptism and the arrival of the Wiggs family, as well as some sad lows, such as Arle's departure and the coup with it's resulting political upheaval. Still, the Lord has been faithful, and we have been blessed to have been His instruments over the course of this past year. As we anticipate the next year of ministry, we ask to you to pray for:

 * 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 micah.project1@gmail.com if you wish to order one.  God bless and have a Happy New Year!!

  Rejoicing in the Lord,
  David Hawthorne

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weekly Prayer Requests.

Dear Friend and Family,

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:

* Safety
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.
 This past year has seen many trials and struggles in the lives of our guys - but it also seen a lot of forward movement in their lives! Wilmer was baptized this year and has continually surprised us with his growth. Oscar served as a missionary for three months in Morocco. Hector Licona, Wilmer, and Cristofer formed a new singing group in order to carry Micah's music ministry. Even those who struggled have grown and are living testimonies to our God's ability to change lives. Let us pray that He continues to work this coming year.

*For the blessing of Emmanuel

God-with-us. This phrase is the text of many Christmas sermons. Christmas celebrates God breaking into time as Emmanuel and leading us toward salvation.  At Micah, we have seen God working continually in the lives of our young men.  We are grateful for everything that the Lord has done for us, how He has been with us, and for the blessings that He has showered down on us. Praise be to our awesome, present and loving God!!  To read our Christmas reflection, click this link:  Micah Project Christmas letter.

  Basking in the Love of the Lord,
  David Hawthorne

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weekly Prayer Requests

   Dear Friends and Family,

   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,
  David Hawthorne

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weekly Prayer Requests

Dear Friends and Family,

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.

Please pray:
-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.

*For us
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.

David Hawthorne

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Street Kid Spotlight: Kevin

For our second street kid spotlight I have chosen a young man by the name of Kevin.  Kevin is 17 years old and has been a regular participant in our Friday afternoon soccer games.  His father died when he was little, and he says he has been living with his grandfather since he was about ten.  However, his grandfather is 85 years old and not very healthy, so he is unable to give him the care or discipline he needs.  One of Kevin’s aunts makes food for his grandfather, of which, occasionally Kevin gets to partake, but if his aunt is mad at him, he won’t get anything.

This picture of Kevin was taken in February 2003 in the market of Tegucigalpa
Because of his harsh home life, Kevin spends most of the day wandering around the downtown marketplace enjoying the adventure, but also suffering the oppression that comes with street life.  He clings tightly to his bottle of yellow glue because, as he inhales its fumes, it gives him a temporary high and helps him to forget, even if just for a moment, the difficult family situation he calls home.  Occasionally he can be seen at the front door of Micah hoping for a plate of warm food and a glass of water, to which our wonderful cooks, Ana and Aida happily oblige.

Kevin at street kid soccer on Friday afternoon
Recently Kevin decided that he was ready to give up the street life and try to get clean from his addiction to glue.  Staff member Hector Licona accompanied him to a downtown center called Casa Alianza (Covenant House… where Micah had its early beginnings), to see if they could do something to help our young friend.  However, the staff there refused to give him a chance because they had already accepted him 3 times prior and he never showed any real motivation to change.  Hector explained to him that there were other options for a better future if that was really what he wanted.  We know of several rehab programs and we could have helped him get into one.  But he would have to be the one to make the decision to turn his life around.  And in the end he chose to return to the streets and the glue.

Eduardo smiles with Kevin after the game.  Don't you think they look like they could be brothers??
Kevin tells me that on the 20th of this month he plans to board a bus and make the long trip to a small fishing town on the Caribbean coast of Honduras called Limón.  There he claims you can’t find the yellow glue, but it certainly has its own form of addictive substances including beer and guaro (a liquor made from sugar cane that is comparable to vodka).  He says he will stay in Limón until he gets bored of it, but he doesn’t know whether he will return to Tegucigalpa or not.
Our prayer for Kevin is that he would seek the Lord’s help as he attempts to turn his life around.  We hope also that he would enter into a relationship with Him and allow Him to be the Father he never knew.  Please join with us in prayer for Kevin, and claim the words of Psalm 10:14 over his life “But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand…You are the Helper of the fatherless”

Thanks for your prayers!
Jenna Miller

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weekly Prayer Requests (only slightly late!)

   ¡Buenos Dias!

   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."

Lord Have Mercy,
David Hawthorne