Saturday, July 10, 2010

Death on the Doorstep

A 22 year old man is being buried in Tegucigalpa today.  His name was William.  He lived in Barrio Buenos Aries, where the Micah house is.  He had parents, siblings, 2 young children, and a girlfriend that is 4 months pregnant.  Like many young men in this neighborhood, he was involved in gangs and drugs and that lifestyle played a part in his death on Thursday.

William was a friend of Juan Carlos and, according to Juan, his death was a "crime of passion".  It seems that the girlfriend had another man on the side who didn't care for William still being in the picture.  So the new boyfriend hired someone to kill William.  Thursday afternoon, on the steps of the apartment building where Michael Miller, John and Becca Bell, and Jenna Miller live, William was shot in the head 3 times, falling to the street where he died. 

Brian and John Leonard, a friend from Portland, came across the scene just after it happened.  A crowd was forming around William, police were arriving, questioning anyone who might know who killed William.  Eventually William's body was taken away, the street was cleaned up, and the people went home. 

Yesterday we drove past the place where William died and it seemed so odd to me that nothing had changed.  People were still buyng Coke's and chips at the pulperia, young men were still playing soccer in the street.  Emily and Jenna were going in the front door to the apartment building.  Life just continued on in the place where William died.  If you didn't know what had happened, didn't know that his body was lying in the church across the street from where he was shot, the 24 hour wake in process, you never could have guessed that something so tragic had taken place the day before.  Never before had James 4:14 been so crystal clear to me, that life is but a vapor, here for a little while before vanishing away.

But maybe something could change, maybe.  Beauty from ashes - it's on the front of the Micah brochure - and it's what we pray for God to create out of this tragedy.  Yesterday morning Brian, Juan Carlos, and John Leonard went to the streets for ministry.  Eventually there was a group of about 15 young men with them, they all knew William and were either on their way or coming from the wake.  They all talked about William and the sadness of his death and Brian siezed the opportunity to tell them that life for them could be different, that they don't need to have the same ending to their lives that William had.  Then Juan Carlos shared his story, how he was into the gangs and drugs and how he gave his life to Christ 2 years ago, and how now he has hope for a future.  And then he prayed.  Juan Carlos prayed for his friends standing there, still in the gangs and drugs, still living without hope; there wasn't a dry eye in the group.  Brian told them about the Monday night Bible study and discipleship classes and invited them all, and the "leader" of sorts said they'd be there. 

Maybe something did change in that neighborhood after all, in that place where William died.  Maybe hope was born for some of those that knew William.  Maybe.


beckyc said...

Thanks for sharing. God gets into all things and works for the good for those that love him.

Carol Ranney said...

What terrible heartbreak, and yet God can use it. I know so well that feeling of--how can life just continue on??? It seems the world should stop, at least briefly, when someone dies so young and so tragically. I pray that William had faith from somewhere--his grandma, his family, and that he is now in the embrace of God. I pray that his family can survive and find Christ, as well as his friends. Praise God that you all, Juan Carlos, Brian, John, were there to seize the moment and sow the seed into broken hearts.
Love to all, Carol

Anonymous said...

Hi Natasha: Wow, I'm numb. Maybe as life goes on, we will all be a little bit changed; that our "vapor" may become more purposeful, and maybe we will make some different decisions than we normally would. We love you and pray for your protection and success in serving Christ in that barrio.

In Him,


Search Engine Submission - AddMe