28 November 2010

Riding in the Rapidito

The boys had spent the whole day at Villa Linda Miller, working on digging out the trenches for the foundation of Roger’s house; I had only joined them after lunch. The blister on my thumb proved I had put in some work, shoveling dirt and rocks that Miguel had loosened with the pick-ax. I even took a turn wielding the pick-ax as well, but hit a big rock and sent the head spinning. Those of us still at the work site slowly came to a halt around 4 pm, all but Axelito who had spent a good block of time after lunch lazing around was still busy. I dug into my backpack, below my camera bag, and pulled out a fistful of fun-size Skittles packages. Handing a package to David who was standing in front of me, he quietly asked for all of them. I possessed a great treasure in my hands. Too tired to stand up and hand the Skittles to the others I started pitching them. David tried to intercept them but lack of height and the need to be wary of the trenches prevented him from snagging any but those that I threw at him. Spastic Miguel managed to snag most of them, but he was good at making sure others got their share, passing around what he caught. It perked people up a little, but not enough to get back to work.

Shortly after wards we packed up for the day, loading the tools into the two wheelbarrows and slowly trekked back to the medical clinic where the tools would be stored until the next day. Having stashed the tool we walked down to the soccer court where the guys stood behind one goal watching the current game and playing with a dead headless snake. The weight of my backpack and tired arms led me to find a place to sit. Taking a cue from the Micah boys I pulled out my Shuffle and stuffed my earphones loosely into my ears. Sitting on the stone step listening to Mercy Me I admired a nearby house that is painted pink and let my thoughts drift to imagining my life in a few more years living in VLM or nearby. Ideas of how to be part of the community, having weekly dinners for smaller groups of the boys, growing vegetables, using the pink house as a base designing my house and wondering if Juanca could build a trellis, I also decided I should have a dog. My reverie and name picking for my future dog was broken by Miguel and David coming to beg for more candy. Before I could reach through the layers to fish out more the rapidito van appeared and Roger and all the guys started piling in. Since none in the group spoke any usable English I had to take that as my cue that this was our transportation back into the city. “Henny-fair, aqui! Aqui!” Miguel yelled out from the back row of the van with a vigorous patting of the seat next to him. I wrangled myself and my bag into the back seat next to Miguel who is alternately very cool and ignores me or is overly affectionate. While he had been mostly ignoring me all afternoon, he suddenly turned affectionate when I sat down. Despite being hot and dirty he sat right up beside me and pulled my arm around his shoulders. It was actually helpful as I could grab the end of the bench seat and brace myself as we went over bumps and around corners. We sat there both with our own mp3 players going. It wasn’t long before Miguel became curious about what I was listening to. Picking up the earbud that I wasn’t using, he stuffed it into his ear. His face registered complete surprise. I don’t think he expected to hear what he did. My shuffle has all of my faster, more rock style music as I use it to keep my tempo up when working out. I can’t remember what song was playing at the time, but it was one of the more driving songs that I have loaded. I don’t know what kind of music he thought I would be listening to, but it certainly wasn’t what he heard. He took control of my Shuffle pressing fast-forward after listening to three or five seconds of a song. Miguel was surprised again when he came across songs from Los Micah Boys; he actually listened to half a song of theirs before hitting fast-forward again. His face was really quite amusing as my music tastes continued to surprise him as he sampled most of my music. But Miguel managed to surprise me as well. Since I use my shuffle to workout, not all of the songs are heart-thumpers, some songs are on there for cool-downs. One song is Hillsong’s “Stronger.” It has kind of been an anthem for the Micah house this year. Michael Miller had played it for me in August and I downloaded it shortly thereafter. To my surprise this is the song Miguel stopped on. At Micah they have been singing it in Spanish, my version is in English, but no matter. Miguel didn’t push fast-forward, we listened to the whole song from start to finish. I was quietly singing along, which elicited a broad grin from Miguel when he caught me and him moving an ear a little closer so that he could hear me as well. As soon as the song was over, he went back to his speedy fast-forwarding until it was time to get out of the van.

It may sound strange, maybe it is, maybe I’m making more out of it, but the fact that he wanted to listen to all of that song, that particular song, despite being in English, caused some “motherly” pride to well up in me. I would like to think that it shows some depth, some serious connection to his own spiritual life. It’s a song he knows well, he knows the words, it would have been easy to blow by it as ‘that old same familiar over-used song’ but he didn’t. I hope it means the words still have meaning and impact, are sinking in to the deeper conscious, helping him know and believe that God is stronger and capable of doing great things in his life, that Miguel is making Jesus Lord of his precious life.

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen,
Jesus, You are Lord of all.

23 November 2010

This Sin Wrecked Chaotic World

Monday last I attended the Body Off discipleship class that Brian Wiggs organizes. It is required for the guys in the Micah Tech program, but there are others from the neighborhood who attend as well. While slightly awkward being the only girl in the room I wanted to hear the stories of the two special guests who were speaking that night, particularly Doug from Tigard. At the end of the evening Drew, the other guest speaker, asked us to each pick another person in the room to pray for before we left. He started in one corner and had that person pick someone, the person they picked chose who they were going to pray for, and so forth until everyone in the room had someone to pray for and was being prayed for. My heart melted a little when the young boy picked me. By my turn there were only two people left, so I chose the one whose name I remembered - Eduardo. His prayer request was to be reunited with his family; he was estranged from his wife and two young children. He hadn't seen them for some time and he really wanted to do what it would take to be with them again.

Last night, one week later, Eduardo was killed.

He came from a hard background- drugs, gangs, and violence. He had been in the Tech program which is how he started coming to the discipleship program, but was kicked out some time ago. Last January his friend Alejandro had completed a six month drug rehab program, paid for by Micah. He was killed last night as well. Perhaps two murders are not significant in a country with the highest homicide rate in the world. But it wasn't just these two. About a month or two ago, these two young men had gotten drunk and murdered someone. A few people knew about it at Micah but kept quiet about it. For several reasons it was wisest to just keep silent, play dumb, and continue to love these guys and try to help them make better choices and turn their lives around. It wasn't without risk, they had made "jokes" about some of the staff that could have been taken as threats. Showing grace and extending the love of Christ was a choice that wasn't always easy for the staff. Eduardo and Alejandro were truly conflicted, wanting a different life but unable to make the choices that would help them leave their current life behind. Last night they made more bad choices. Whether they were high or drunk I don't know, but the two of them murdered a second person last night, a young man named Johnny who had recently started attending the discipleship class. I don't have an explanation or a reason why. Does there need to be one? But the news spread in the neighborhood of what these two had done and the neighborhood decided enough was enough and took justice and retribution into their own hands. The police are spread too thin and too ill-equipped. Just like the first murder Eduardo and Alejandro committed went unsolved, so will theirs.

While the news this morning rattled me a little, having just met and prayed for Eduardo. What has disturbed me is that the three deaths have caused Juan Carlos to lay low. He used to run with these guys in his former life and the concern, as it was related to me, was that the neighborhood, caught up in the frenzy of fighting for a sense of safety would not remember that he is living a new life now, that they would seek revenge for his past actions. While I feel calloused for not caring more about Eduardo and Alejandro, my heart starts to beat faster at the pace of panic when I consider the possibility of Juan Carlos being killed. I dearly love Juan Carlos and treasure his friendship; his death would shake my world.

I know I must not look to the circumstances around me but turn my eyes to God, the sustainer of all life. He holds my life, Juan Carlos' life, all of our lives, in is capable hands. I must trust in his sovereignty otherwise the chaos of this world wrecked with sin is too much. Not only must I trust in my Creator, but I must do battle, for this life is being played out on a battlefield, a war is going on. Casualties are incurred on both sides; my life may be asked of me. The reminder today of how brutal this war can be makes me wish that I could protect all those I love, all of my Micah family, but I will not falter in the face of evil; in fact it helps solidify my resolve to come alongside my boys to fight over them, for them, with them. One day this war will be over and done with, Christ reigning supreme. That day has yet to come, and so onward we march, soldiering on.

Me with my Honduran brother, Juan Carlos

19 November 2010

Choices within Choices

Today I had a choice, a choice between two competing desires and expectations. While I don't want to waste a single moment to be with the boys who I came to Honduras to enjoy, I also know that I needed rest and all too soon I'll be heading back to Portland and resuming my job for which I needed to attend a webinar this morning. I could have easily gone into Micah this morning, hidden myself in some corner for the webinar and then been around to hang-out with whoever was left at the house this morning and the Tech School guys. But I told Natasha I would stay at the house, attend my webinar, and help Daisy with the cooking for Nightstrike; although I kept the idea in the back of my mind of heading into Micah as well. When I woke up at 8:50 this morning I realized that I would be staying at the house and only had a few moments until the 9:00 webinar. My decision was made for me by the desperate tiredness of my body.

I heard the rain hitting the metal roof early this morning, a pleasant drumming sound, that lulled me back to sleep. But not once did I hear the Wiggs clan as they got ready this morning and left the house; nor did I hear the dogs bark their departure. I slept soundly, my body craving the rest it needs to recover from this nagging illness. So here I sit, still in my pj's, at my computer, the webinar over, IPod plugged into my ears, Daisy has arrived and is starting the laundry, I'll help her cook for Nightstrike later, after I put on clothes and get ready for the day. But first I must shake this sadness and regret.

A sadness at the realization that I have a return ticket that will be used in one week. That this time next Friday, I'll be starting my journey back to Portland which is home, but yet is no longer home. Regret that today and this weekend will be "wasted" in that I will not be able to build relationships with Micah guys. Today is about Nightstrike which doesn't include Micah guys, but will still be good. This weekend Roger is taking the guys on an 'excursion' so they won't be around. With the self-inflicted pressure to make every day of this short visit count, I am anxious about the weekend. What can I do to make it worthwhile? But as I think about it, why do I have such a narrow definition of what is "worthwhile" that only includes relationship building time with Micah guys? Isn't finding a way to serve, encourage, minister to Natasha and the boys of value? (Brian will be gone this weekend.) Of course it is! Who knows what God has planned for this weekend, maybe other opportunities to be with staff and develop those relationships will be possible, which is just as valuable and possibly more important. Maybe there will be an opportunity to be out and about, seeing and learning more of this land and culture, which is also very valuable.

So the question for this weekend, as it is for life, am I willing to allow God to take His proper place or will I try to usurp Him? Will I create the open space in my agenda for Him to interrupt? Will I put aside my expectations and self-made road map, and be open to God's leading, guidance, and movement? Will I take my eyes off of pinpoint specifics to take in the whole vista He has laid out before me? Will I be stubborn and unmovable, or be fluid and allowed to be moved by God?

14 November 2010

My Heart is Home

I didn't admit this to anyone, but I was really nervous about coming back to Honduras. I was sure the boys wouldn't remember me, after all I had only been one of many, many visitors this summer. And if they did remember, that they wouldn't remember my name and only be politely welcoming. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was welcomed back with such enthusiasm that I was overwhelmed and surprised. Surprised more by some of the boys who I hadn't connected with a lot previously were very excited to see me, Miguel Fugon and Junior in particular. And the ones I had connected with before welcomed me back with so much warmth that my heart was about to burst. Wilmer is one of them. I went with the group of visitors to view two potential sites for Micah 2.0. In between the two sites we stopped for lunch at Flora's house. I found a spot on a bench and soon Wilmer joined me, sitting right up against me. After we finished eating and plates were disposed of, he continued to sit beside me occasionally trying to tell or ask me something, wrapping his arm around me, leaning his head on my shoulder, holding my arm. Michael Miller was taking a group on the tour of Villa Linda Miller and I thought for a moment of joining them, hoping that maybe we'd go to the top of the water tower and I might get some better photos than last time. But I wasn't about to bring an end to this quiet moment with Wilmer. We can't communicate much, thankfully Jeremy was on the other side of Wilmer and able to translate, but as Wilmer was laying against me I didn't need a translator when he quietly said, quiet enough that I wondered if he even meant me to hear, "Te quiero mucho." (I love you much.) "Yo tambien, Wilmer." (I also, Wilmer.) He pulled my arm against him tighter.
It's a crazy thing, I believe a God thing, that I can love this kid so much.

Wilmer, the son of my heart.

Returning to the Micah house from our tour of properties, I ended up in the back of the red pick-up. Once we pulled up outside the Micah house I was sitting on the top of the tailgate, swinging my feet over when all of a sudden, there was Hauner right beside me with his big goofy grin. I squealed, "Hauner!" and wrapped my arms around him while still sitting on the tailgate. He gave me such a big bear hug that I was pulled right off the truck and held against him with my feet dangling. When I was able to get my feet on the ground and gain some space I asked him how we was, "I'm happy, I see you!" Ahh! I had some time to kill while waiting for Brian Wiggs to finish up what he was doing and until Natasha arrived to pick us up. So I found a spot in the courtyard to sit and Hauner joined me, holding me close telling me how happy he was that I was there. We talked about the upcoming graduation ceremony, his plans for the future, and I made him promise to introduce me to his girlfriend later that night. He also started playing with my camera, which resulted in the goofy photo below. The big lug. I love this kid.

There is something about the Micah boys. They have a way of entering your heart that changes you, changes your priorities, changes your plans, changes your ambitions, changes your life.

Hauner, mi niƱo grande.

03 November 2010


I was having a hard time waking up this morning. The alarms had all gone off, snooze hit multiple times, and yet in bed I remained. Desperate for a few more minutes of sleep that would surely be the relief I needed for this constant tiredness. I had woken from a dream that was stressful and even though I knew it to be a dream, the agitation remained. It would be awful to be in Houston for a layover on my way to Tegucigalpa and realize the only clothes I had were the ones I am wearing and my party dress, but no short sleeved shirts and no underwear. It would be cause for panic and in my dream I was in a tizzy. I think I'm worried about packing for my trip! In an effort to wake-up and shake the anxiety I reached for my glasses and my phone. Still sprawled across the mattress I checked email to see if Natasha had, by chance, answered the email I sent last night at 11 pm. To my delight she had. My day was made by her closing line:

"Looking very forward to you getting HOME!"

01 November 2010


A friend had a quote some time back on her Facebook page that I found fabulous. In fact I used it a few posts ago. The quote was taken from a blog that has become my favorite mid-work mental break destination. The writing is lyrical and thought provoking, the photography beautiful, a feast for the eyes. It's rare that you come across a blog that is truly great in our information, over-saturated digital world. So I pass it along for your delight...


I particularly liked this recent post:
What the Heart Really Knows: Why Memorize Scripture