Friday, October 29, 2010

Mama Jo

I wanted to let you all know that our dear, dear friend Jo Bewley (around the Micah Project, everyone knows her as Mama Jo) passed away this afternoon after a long battle with cancer.  Jo has been coming to Honduras with her husband Bob every year since we founded the project.  Her favorite topic of conversation was missions...she loved to be a part of what God's people are doing around the world.  Specifically though, she loved the Micah Project!  She seemed perfectly at home here, whether she was under the bridge ministering to the street kids, out in Villa Linda Miller chatting with the families or at the Micah House surrounded by the boys.

A few years ago, Jo Bewley founded a program called The Micah Moms.  The idea stemmed from a group of Jos' friends in Houston called the Crafty Ladies.  Jo decided that if she and her friends could meet together and sew, make crafts, and fellowship, then that model would work in Honduras too!  She had a much bigger vision though:  she would teach the Micah Moms sewing skills so that they could earn some income for their families.  Our boys' moms are some of the poorest women in Tegucigalpa, and most have never had the opportunity to get an education.  On several subsequent trips after founding the Micah Moms, Jo brought down sewing "yo-yos"...and taught the moms how to make pillows, table runners and other things!

Thanks to Jo's inspiration, the Micah Moms group has taken off!  Six to eight ladies gather in the Micah House every afternoon.  A sewing teacher comes in twice a week to teach them various sewing skills.  There is a plan in place to make needlepoints belts to sell in various university bookstores around the country.  Even more important than the microenterprise development, the moms also meet every Thursday for a Bible study.  They have suffered much, and their lives as single moms in very poor neighborhoods are never easy.  The time of fellowship, prayer and support that they have each week has been transformative for each one of them.  One of the moms told us recently that she never felt that her life had any worth at all until she joined the Micah moms group.  Now, she looks forward to one o'clock in the afternoon every day so that she can come to the Micah Project for the Micah Moms time!

A couple of months ago, the moms even decided to rename their group "Grupo Mama Jo" in honor of their dear friend.  When they found out that she passed away today, they all came rushing into my office in the Micah House.  They spent some time talking about HOW MUCH they love Mama Jo and how much she meant to their lives.

Jo will be missed, terribly missed, by all the lives she touched.  But she will also be celebrated, because she poured out to others all the blessings God that gave to her ...and in the process, she blessed many, many lives.  We know that there is a celebration in heaven as this daughter of God receives her crown tonight!

We love you, Mama Jo!

Michael, (for the boys, the staff and Grupo Mama Jo)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekly Prayer Requests

Dear Friends and Family,

Many thanks for your prayers from last week! With John and Becca in the U.S., we have all been just a little bit busier trying to fill their shoes, but we have at least succeeded in temporarily in filling the gap. Still, we are very excited about their return on Tuesday! We look forward to another week of ministry with them and, as always, we want to cover all of our endeavors in this ministry with prayer. This week, we ask to to please pray with us for:

* Our neighborhood
Barrio Buenos Aires continues to be a increasingly dangerous place. The threat of danger continues to hang in the air and linger the back of our minds.  We ask for safety for us and our guys as well as for peace to fill our barrio. Please continue to pray that there is revival in this barrio and that Christ would change people's lives on a large scale. Also please that we have the necessary compassion, courage, and wisdom to be effective lights for Christ in this very dark place.

* The Bewley Family
Jo Bewley is continuing to grow weaker as time marches onward in her slow battle against cancer. Bob and Jo are very dear members of our family and we deeply hurt for them. Please hold both of them and their family in prayer in the midst of this time.

* Micah 2.0
The vision for Micah 2.0 continues its long journey towards reality! We are very excited about the opportunity to move just outside of the city and gain space and a house intentionally planned around the needs of the guys. Please continue to lift this process up in prayer and ask the Lord that He give us wisdom. Also, please pray that He guides us as we seek to set the tone for the next ten years of ministry (or more)!

* The Micah Staff
Discouragement and frustration are constant enemies of ours, and they have the ability to cripple us in our work. It is incredibly easy to simply become angry or feel defeated when one of our guys takes a step backwards. Please lift us up in prayer for strength, for patience, for supernatural perseverance, and more. We know that we are nothing, but that He is strong!!

* And, of course, let us PRAISE!!
- For the continued progress in the lives of many of our guys! While they have moments of struggle, our guys are growing and moving forward in their lives. Praise the Lord for continuing to bring them them this far!!
- For this opportunity. We are grateful to the Lord for giving us several years of exciting ministry to the street youth of Tegucigalpa and we pray that He gives us many more!
-Six of our young our planning to be baptized this Sunday at their church.  We are so excited that they are taking this step in their Christian walk!  Pray for continued growth and maturity in their faith.

Working with teenagers is never easy, and working with drug-addicted teens is even harder, but the Lord has blessed our ministry and brought us many wonderful young men. We are also grateful for all of our "extended family" in the U.S. - God bless you and we hope that you all have a wonderful week!!

David Hawthorne (on behalf of the Micah Project)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weekly Prayer Requests

Dear Friends and Family,
Miguelito raises a praising rap to the Lord!

It's fall here! For a few days, a cold front has moved in over the city and we are actually experiencing fall-like weather. We know that this is only temporary and we will soon be back into the 80s...still, the weather makes for a nice change in our normal routine  - and every little thing helps in the daily challenges of raising our boys. Thankfully, many of them are doing well and are growing. However, we continue to worry about and pray for these young men and their futures. This week, please join us in praying for:

* Axel Lopez
Axel once again left for the streets almost a week ago. He had a long and difficult summer, but had  returned to Micah and seemed to be settling into a healthy routine. However, eventually, the same troubling issues from his past that led him from Micah in the first place once again destabilized Axel and caused him to walk out of Micah. Please be praying for Axel, especially for safety, for healing, and for surrender in his heart that will allow him to turn to others and ask for help.

* Jo Bewley
Jo Bewley, the founder of Grupo Mama Jo (the Micah Moms sewing ministry) is in the final stages of her long fight against cancer. Jo and her husband Bob have been dear friends to the Micah Project over the last ten years.  Please be raising Jo and Bob and their family up in prayer.

* Our neighborhood
Our barrio has continued its long decline into the horrors of an area controlled by the drug trade. Violence and crime are on the rise and continue to spiral out of control. This past week, we have heard stories of at least five deaths, many of them carried out by professional hit men. The local newspaper even recently listed our barrio as one of the sources of "delinquent behavior" in the city! Please hold Barrio Buenos Aires and the people living here in your prayers. Please especially pray for safety, for an end to the drugs and the violence, and for revival in this barrio. Please pray that Christ would become known to many here in this neighborhood and that His peace would be evident here. Also, please pray that we of the Micah Project would be lights in the midst of this darkness and epicenters of God's moving hand here in Barrio Buenos Aires.

* Micah 2.0 
Partly as a reaction to the violence in our neighborhood, we are looking to purchase a large plot of land in a small community just outside of Tegucigalpa. Our dream is to give our guys safety, tranquility, and a large space far from the temptations of the streets - a space where they would run, play, and burn off their endless amounts of energy. We have several likely pieces of property in mind, and people have already begun donating to our Micah 2.0 fund! Please pray that the Lord continues to have His hand on this entire process and that His divine wisdom would guide each and every one of our decisions.
A potential site for Micah 2.0

* And, in spite of the darkness, let us Praise our Awesome God!!
- For bringing Micah 2.0 from a dream into reality! Less than a year ago, we were discussing how wonderful it would be it we had more space, etc., etc. Today the Lord has taken some small dreams and is making them into reality!! Thank you, Lord!!
- For protection. In the midst of a dangerous neighborhood, no one from Micah has been hurt. Praise the Lord for keeping us safe!!
- For the growth in the Micah Technical School. Brian Wiggs spends all day, most days of the week, on the terrace on the Micah House giving classes to the dozens of young men looking to learn a trade and turn their lives around. Praise God for blessing this ministry!!
- For people who lift us up when we are tired. Thank the Lord for, well, you! Let us praise Him for bringing people into our lives who pray for us and lift us up with encouraging words. It means more to us than you can ever know!!
-For Grupo Mama Jo!  This group of women comes to the Micah House every day to pratice their sewing skills and to find support and comfort in each other's presence.  One of them told us last week that she felt self-worth and a sense of purpose for the first time in her life through this ministry.

This year at Micah as seem some amazing blessings (David, Axelito, and Miguelito all leaving the streets - for starters) and has brought some difficult challenges. However, we are hopeful and excited about the future and we look forward to strongly finishing this year and, in the words of the Apostle Paul, "fighting the good fight" well past the start of the next year. Many thanks to all of you for your constant love and support!! God Bless!

David Hawthorne (on behalf of the Micah Project)