Monday, October 5, 2009

"Purchase Now".............

Q: How many people can you fit into a 3rd world taxi/car/motorbike?
A: One more.

Brian and Drew with kids living in one of the orphan homes.

Typical house in the Cambodia

Tuk tuk, common mode of transportation.


Lady at church in Cambodia.

Victims of Poll Pot and the Kemer Ruge

Sign at the S21 facility.

Dorm for female factory workers. Brian and Drew got to attend the dedication ceremony.

Tractor rehab program.

Street in the Philippines.

Words not necessary.

What's up with that?

Houses in Philippines

The Philippines

Sewing class

Carpentry school

Carpentry shop

Part of the Second Mile/Working Hands campus

Automotive school
32 Days
Tuesday, September 29th, Brian and I sat and looked at each other. The curser pointed to a green button that said "purchase now", my finger poised over the enter button. "Are you ready?" I asked. No more words between us, eyes locked, seconds ticking by, and we both nod.

We had just purchased one way tickets to Tegucigalpa Honduras.

What began as a dream and a hope 3 years ago is becoming reality. Packing boxes with inventory lists are being tpaed shut. Legal documents, change of address notifications, medical and dental visits are being completed. The "to do" list is just about all checked off. Has it all gone the way we planned? Not a bit. But is has all gone exactly as God had planned. The finish line is the same but the route to get there has had some unexpected bends and turns.

One of the biggest "plans" that has not gone the way we hoped is the sale of our house. 5 months later, the Hasson sign is still in the yard. Only 2 offers have come in, both of which would have been short sale land. We turned them both down, figuring a better offer would be coming in at any time. We watched as the other 3 houses in our neighborhood that have been on the market during this time all sold, telling ourselves it was because they were all single level homes. Ours is a split level home, a style that does not appeal to many. But a buyer would come. Then we watched as the split level down the street was foreclosed on, purchased by a renovation company, and is now being made into a brand new house for resale. New windows and siding, interior gutted and remodeled, new driveway ready to be poured. Seems to us to be a death nail. For those few that do want a split level, which one of the two are they going to pick? Ours, which is in good shape but not completely updated, or the one 2 houses away that is completely brand new?

But God has been at work in us. With each of the 50+ showings of our home, and the silence of no offer that followed, we have had to ask ourselves "what if it doesn't sell?" Keeping it as a rental is not an option. Being 4,000 miles away and not having any capital (remember, we're poor missionaries!) to repair any potential damage from renters makes that not a possibility. What about staying here until it does sell? Logic,reason and the world would tell us that is what we should do. But God doesn't operate out of logic and reason, He operates in the spiritual realm with the bigger picture always in mind. Everyone agrees He has called us to be missionaries to The Micah Project. Our outgoing support is fully funded. Our prayer support is fully committed to. And we are just $596 a month from being fully funded on monthly support. How can we postpone based on our home not selling?

I have prayed much about this, and the resounding message in my heart is that God wants us to rely solely on Him. 3 years ago when we began this journey our faith and security were in our home and the equity we had in it. We had grand plans at the time of selling our home, taking the $80k in equity (at that time) with us to Honduras, buying property and building our dream home. That was our plan, to be all safe and secure in the home we had built, never having to worry about where we would live again.

Was there anything wrong with that? Inherintly, no. But when we looked deeper we saw that our faith and trust was in our money, our ability to provide for ourselves. Scripture, however, tells us that we are to go and take nothing, that our security and faith must only be in Christ Jesus. Every missionary we know currently serving overseas went with very little. No fat bank roll to buy a plush house, just a few basics and a wing and a prayer.

So now, 32 days before departure we sit in our home that has decreased in value by $70k, unsold, showings dwindling down to once a week or so. What are we going to do? Our plan is to get on the plane on November 6th. If the Lord brings a buyer, praise God. If not, we'll mail the keys back to Bank of America knowing that we had a wonderful, blessed home for 9 years, and that we have a beautiful, blessed home to go to in Honduras for however many years God allows us to live there.

Where In the World is Mel Zelaya?

There was a show awhile back called Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? Carmen was a person that you never knew where she'd turn up. It takes some searching, but you can still find news about the political turmoil in Honduras. It certainly isn't at the forefront of mainstream media. After all, a "coup d'etat" in a tiny Central American country doesn't bring in many viewers - aka dollars - for news shows. For awhile there it was like watching a roulette wheel spin wondering what country Mel would be showing up in that day...Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the US, he hit them all. But if you do take the time to search, most of what you will find is written from the leftist perspective and is a slanted (at best) description of the reality of the situation. I'm not going to take up byte space trying to debate whether tossing Mel Zelaya out of office in June was right, or constitutional, or if the majority of the people are for or against it. I have my opinions (I'm betting you figured that out), but I'll keep them to myself.

Here's what I do know. Mel Zelaya reappeared in Honduras 2 weeks ago, given refuge in the Brazilian Embassy. Daily demonstrations from both sides have taken place since then. Radicals throwing molotav cocktails through the windows of private homes, looting businesses, and blocking roadways were broken up with tear gas and water canons. A 24 year old girl that inhaled some tear gas died from complications. A random man leaving church last Sunday night with his family was shot in the back and killed by someone in the pro-Zelaya demonstration that was moving down the street. Supporters on both sides have died, yet neither side seems to be willing to compromise. Elections to name a new president are slated for November 29th, a seemingly simple solution to the crisis. But most of the International community is saying they won't recognize or legitamize any president voted in while the "coup" government is in power. There was some talk of a multinational military presence to ensure the elections were fair and legitamate, but nothing as come of that as of yet. Tensions wax and wane, most Hondurans are doing their best to just continue on with life. The final outcome is anyone's guess.

We are asked almost daily if the political scene changes our plans in any way. In a word, no. Yes, it's a little unnerving to know that we're going to be arriving in the Capital 12 days before the planned elections. The tensions in the country are high, it's a volatile situation. But, once again, we have to keep our eyes focused on Christ and keep walking. Our fear is not for our family, as we know that He will protect us until our work on this earth is done. Our fear is for the Honduran people that we love. To see the country being torn in two, to watch the "leaders", not only of Honduras but all around the world (if they've commented on the situation), be driven by pride and ego and self serving motivation, is difficult. We pray daily for the safety of our missionary friends already on the ground. Two days of nationwide lockdown was a wee bit stressful...imagine keeping 12 teenage boys indoors for 2 days, virtual prisoners in their own home. Please pray for this situation, that the Lord would bring those that are in power to their senses, that a peaceful resolution will be forged, and that Honduras can return to living.

What happened to Sunday?

On September 12th Brian and Drew Smith left for a 12 day trip to the Phillipines and then on to Cambodia to see two ministries that have been up and running for years, and to gleen from their years of experience. The first text message I received notifying me that they had arrived safe and sound said "We got on a plane on Saturday, we got off on Monday. What happened to Sunday?" That whole time space continuum is too much for me to wrap my brain around, and I was so glad it was the two of them on that trip. I would most likely have been disoriented to the point of absolutely uselessness.

After hitting a Starbucks in Hong Kong they flew on to Manila where they spent several days with Daryl Germaine visiting the Second Mile and Working Hands programs. Daryl has a program similar to what we hope to start in Honduras. 15 years after starting they have a large, beautiful campus that educates 40 students and houses 13 staff members (7 US, 6 Filipino graduates of the program). Potential students must bring a recommendation to the school from a pastor, Christian worker or missionary. Local churches are vital to the program in that they house the students and provide transportation to and from the school.

The carpentry program is a 10 month program with a 6 month internship. The program is rigorous and disciplined, each minute is basically scheduled. Discipleship is 1/2 of the training and students must remain active in their local church and return each with week with a not from the pastor indicating that. Students are paid 100 pesos per day while in on-the-job training and the employer pays lunch & transportation costs.

In the automotive program students are tested in several areas before being admitted to the program. Things like being able to sit still and learn, math skills, and spiritual commitment are assessed, as well as logic and mechanical aptitude. They are trained to the International Standard in auto repair and are expected to pay 5% of their salary back to the school for the 1st year after graduation. This repayment gives them a sense of ownership of their education and a realization of gratitude for the opportinity they received.

Seeing what God has already done in the Philippines was amazing. They left with a copy of Daryl's 15 years of notes and a curriculum for the 1st year, absolutely invaluable information. We are truly blessed to have connected with these believers and that they so freely gave of their years of experience to help The Micah Project Technical school succeed. Beyond the advice given for starting and maintaining a vocational school, they also shared real life advice. These people have been on the front lines, they know the pitfalls that will come our way. #1 - Job one needs to be learning the language and settling in with the family. Devote 6 months entirely to this. #2 - preparation time for the facility and the program. #3 - Raise up leaders and assistants. If we follow these steps, heading the timing of the Holy Spirit, we stand a good chance of seeing real fruit for our labors.

From the Philippines they went on to Phom Phen Cambodia. Ted Olbrich is a missionary with the Foursquare Church that began planting churces in 1999. These churches started orphan homes, using a "two birds, one stone" approach by giving widows room and board in exchange for caring for the orphans. There are now over 3,000 churches headed by local pastors with 400,000 believers. 106 of these churches are orphan homes with 25-30 orphans each. They have recently built a dormatory that houses 480 girls that come in from the rural areas to work in garment factories. This gives them refuge from the predators in the sex trade trying to lure in those that have no place to stay.

They also visited an internship program that buys old dilapidated tractors from the US, completely refurbishes them, and then sells them. The monies raised go to help support the ministry. The parallels between this model and what could be implemented in Honduras with cars were obvious, and just added one more layer of possibility to what the Lord may have planned for The Micah Project.

But Brian and Drew also learned that the war in Cambodia didn't end in 1978 like much of the world believes, and instead are just 11 short years out of war. They visited the Killing Fields and saw a tree that babies were killed by being slammed into. They visited the S21 compound, now a museum, and learned of the Khmer Rouge and the genocide that led to more than 2 million deaths. And they came away with a new awareness of just how real evil is in this world, and our call to fight it.

Onward Christian Soldiers

So here we are, 32 days from departure. Filled with excitement, anxiety, questions, a little fear, but a determination to go where we are called. We have sensed God's peace that passes all understanding like never before and our faith in Him and His providence grows with each passing day. Please be praying and giving as you can.

What we need from you:
  • PRAY! Please pray for continued peace as we finish up the final details before leaving. Pray that we would extend extra grace and mercy to each other in our family as this is a tumultuous transition for all. Pray for our kids, that they would feel they are an integral part of this journey, and that they will feel loved, safe, and at peace
  • GIVE! Ministry can't happen without money. We need your support! We still need committments for $596 a month in monthly support to bring us to fully funded. If you are viewing this letter on the blog you can go to and find us under the Browse By Missionary button to sign up for monthly support. If you are viewing this as an e-newsletter or by hard copy you can fill out the forms at the end and send them in to begin your monthly support. Thats just 12 people at $50 per month, or 24 people at $25 a month.
  • SHARE! If you have a heart for this ministry and what God is doing, tell others. The more people that get involved, the more this ministry can expand and bless those that we go to serve, the homeless, abandoned, and hopeless of Honduras.
  • VISIT! Mission trips for 2010 are forming now. If you would like to be a part of a trip to see firsthand the work at Micah, contact Grace Point Community Church in Tigard Oregon, or Riverwest Community Church in Lake Oswego Oregon. If you have a group of people interested in visiting on your own, get in touch with us. The calendar is filling up quickly with available dates for mission teams.
We want to thank all of you that have followed us over the last couple of years. We appreciate your prayers and support more than words can express and pray that God will richly bless you as you partner with us to do His work in Honduras.

Love and blessings,
Brian, Natasha, Michael, Brian James

The Wiggs

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