Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Overflowing With Blessings

I’m sitting at my desk in our new house trying to figure out just where to start writing. We have been so incredibly blessed lately and I want to try and share some of that with you all!


Let’s get the business end of things out of the way first and I’ll do a little historical explanation to try and make things clear. The Micah Project is a stand-alone ministry, not part of a bigger mission organization like Mission’s Door, World Venture, etc. All of the administrative tasks for Micah are performed by professionals on the Micah Board of Directors who volunteer. Because they are all busy professionals there is not sufficient time to process the donations for all the supported missionaries. This means that each missionary needs to find their own agency to handle support processing. When we began preparing to come to Honduras we looked at several agencies and were ultimately commissioned by ACTION International, “seconded” to The Micah Project.

ACTION is based in Mountlake Terrace Washington. They have a huge presence in the Phillipines and do tremendous work there and in other parts of the world. The directors and other people that work for ACTION are all committed servants and we have great admiration and respect for them all. However, after arriving here in Honduras we soon discovered that our ministry at Micah Tech and being a seconded missionary with ACTION was not a good fit and we began searching and praying for other alternatives.

Last week we received formal approval from Community Vision International, an agency based in Portland Oregon. The ideals and values of CVI more closely match our goal here in Honduras, to establish a vocational school, train and staff it with Honduran nationals, and move on to whatever the Lord has next. Community transformation is the key principal of CVI and we are so happy to be a part of this wonderful organization. Again the ground breakers, we are the first associates with CVI to be accepted from an outside referral, not from another CVI associate. CVI is registered as a non-religious non-profit organization so that associates serving in areas of the world closed to evangelism are not put in danger; this is also the reason we are referred to as “associates” rather than “missionaries”.

Our accounting information with CVI is active and ready to go! If you are a current supporter please make changes to how your donations are submitted. If you mail a check from your home or with autopay from your checking account, please begin sending your support to:

Community Vision International
P.O. Box 33286
Portland, OR 97292-3286
Account # P113BNW

If you prefer to submit your support over the internet you can go to our page at:

http://cvi2.org/briannatashawiggs.html

Payments are processed through PayPal so you can use a credit or debit card, or your PayPal account if you have one.

If you are not a current supporter but would like to become one, you can begin by doing one of the steps above.

If you signed up for auto draft donations with ACTION International, please contact them at info@actionusa.org or 425-775-4800 to cancel that automatic payment.

And now on to the other good stuff…

This last weekend we moved into a beautiful new house in Santa Lucia, a small community about 7 miles outside Tegucigalpa (a little farther than where we were living). The house is much larger, the boys each have their own room, we have a small yard, and a garage with room for both vehicles (even an automatic door!) The owners built identical semi attached houses for their twin, grown children but they chose not to live in them…giving us a huge blessing when they turned them into rentals. Another family of North Americans lives in the other house and it happens that I met the woman last year at a bible study and we hit it off quite well. They have 3 children, the older 2 are within a year of the same age as our boys.

Can I just say freedom? I didn’t realize how much the bars on the windows and doors of the other house were creating a feeling of living in chains. This house was constructed with a security wall so none of the windows or doors need bars! It’s such a different feeling to look out through the glass and see the view instead of a self imposed prison. The community is safe, Michael and I ventured out on our first walk yesterday afternoon, and the boys can play outside and ride bikes. It feels almost, dare I say it, normal. If you haven’t seen the pictures yet you can on Brian’s Facebook page. It’s beautiful, we are so blessed.

Speaking of my boys, what a couple of rock stars they are. Back in January Michael and some friends created a computer video game to enter in the school’s Computer and Technology Fair. Winning 1st place earned them a trip to the Computer and Technology Fair for all Episcopal schools in Honduras (meaning a very long bus ride to San Pedro Sula). Their group, the youngest in age, took 2nd place in programming!

In February they both participated in the school spelling bee, both earning 2nd place for their grade level. Then in March Brian James took first place for 3rd grade in the All Episcopal school competition.

Also in March Brian James, serving up memories of daddy Brian doing Karaoke, entered the talent show and sang Alan Jackson’s “I’m a Country Boy”…just picture him in jeans and a cowboy hat singing “I got a 4-wheel drive, hop in my bed and I’ll take you for a ride”. It was a hoot!

And yesterday Michael was told that he has the top scores in math for 7th grade and will be participating in the math Olympics. We are so proud of them! They are working so hard and doing so well and we are so blessed to be able to see the transformation God is working in each of them, and to be witness to the examples they are to their classmates.

In January we began to plan our trip home to the states, a combination of vacation and furlough. We had hoped to spend a week on the East Coast visiting Washington DC and New York as we have never been to either, and then travel to Oregon to visit all of our supporting churches and friends and family. What a shock it was to see how airfare had skyrocketed and every week it just kept going up higher. I tried every trick I could think of, every possible combination of flight schedules, miles, money, you name it, and it was still far above what we could afford. Even skipping the East Coast and just flying to Oregon was running $1,000+ per ticket and mileage tickets were 47,500 miles and up which meant we only had enough for 1! I was stressing out big time. Then last week I prayed (now there’s a novel concept). I just told the Lord “I can’t figure this out. We want to spend some time with just our family, on vacation, but I just can’t make it work.” The next couple of days I did my usual searches starting at http://www.lowfares.com/ and the individual sites. Then Thursday I saw what had to be a mistake, it had to be wrong; round trip airfare from Washington DC to Portland for $200 per person. Really? Blazing from Orbitz to Delta there it was, it was real. After making one of the fastest purchases in online history and working out the Tegucigalpa to DC portions (buying 2 tickets with miles and paying for 2 in cash) our airfare came down to an average of just $600 per person for the entire trip, exactly what I had budgeted. Isn’t God cool? So often I think He doesn’t care about the details, or at least I forget that He cares, and then when I’m at my wits end I take the burden to Him. You know what? I think that sale was just for one day because that trip, DC to Portland on Delta, is now back up to $550. Incredible.

Are things beginning to change in Honduras? Yesterday I read some great things in the paper, giving me hope that it can be turned around. Construction is set to start in September on a new airport, 70 km from Tegucigalpa. The drive is a little inconvenient but with Toncontin being considered one of the world’s most dangerous airports it is becoming necessary. This project will generate many desperately needed jobs and bring needed revenue into the country.

Also, a new campaign of sorts is getting started. Honduras is open for business, they call it. An exposition will be held in San Pedro Sula where business owners from 75 different countries will attend and will look at the advantages of opening a business or factory here. The buzz right now is that an estimated 350,000 new jobs will develop out of this campaign. Please be praying for Honduras!

IN MINISTRY NEWS

The Technical School is continuing on with a core group of guys that are growing spiritually and vocationally who will eventually be the teachers in the welding and carpentry programs. We are on track to have our first group of graduates in about a year! Negotiations are taking place for the purchase of property outside Tegucigalpa for the new location of Micah and Micah Tech. Once that transaction is complete work will commence with the Tech School being built first and then all other construction being done from that facility.

More young men are showing up at the Monday discipleship class and a couple of weeks back a female police officer came in to see what we were doing. She recognized Juan Carlos (ha ha ha!) and said she was so happy he was involved in this and changing his life. She also said she would tell other young men in the barrio about it and encourage them to come! Please be praying for the Holy Spirit to work through her to bring hope and encouragement through Christ to more Honduran men.

My ministry with the Micah Mom’s is off to a great start. We meet once a week and are working through a study on the Proverbs 31 woman. From there we will begin working on healing from past abuse and turning those hurts into assets in our lives.

We are on track to begin making and selling New York style bagels May 1st. After purchasing our first Kitchenaid Professional mixer I was able to turn out a very good, saleable product. Group practice will begin in 2 weeks and then we will start the pre-order phase of Mama Jo’s bagels. The ladies are all very excited to have a viable opportunity ready to launch that has the potential to grow into a large scale business venture that could earn them all a very good salary. Pray for us that the Lord will open the doors for us as we move forward!

Friday Nightstrike is drawing huge crowds, large numbers of street kids and homeless adults and a growing number of poor working people. Juan Carlos delivered the gospel message during the last Nightstrike and wow, can that boy preach! He’s kind of like a shorter, Honduran version of Brian, getting all Bapticostal for the crowd. He loved it and wants to do more of it. Please be praying for him as he continues to work in counseling to learn how to make better choices in life. At this time he is suspended from the technical school but if he continues with counseling and to walk like he is, they have agreed to let him return June 1st.

This has turned out to be one of the longest posts…my apologies if your eyes are about to bug out of your head, but there was just so much to share! Thank you all for your continued faithful prayers and support. We love and appreciate you all so much.

Peace,



Natasha

4 comments:

Laurie Matherne said...

Good news indeed. Enjoy the time of blessing. I love Santa Lucia, too.

Lesley said...

Thanks for the update Natasha. We'll make the changes - and are glad you found a good match for your missions business!
Congrats to the boys for being such bright, shining stars!
And good luck selling bagels - what's not to LOVE!
Hope we catch a glimpse of you on your break - have fun in DC/NY - great places to see!
Love you all so much. Lesley

Kristi said...

Praises for Gods faithfulness - He sure does work things out for the best - including your new home, the boys doing so well in school, a new partnership, and your *cheap* tickets!

Natasha said...

Laurie, we are truly overwhelmed with the blessings He is pouring fourth. Amazing stuff. Lesley, thanks for your encouragement and support. We saw your posts from DC and we're so looking forward to seeing the sights. Kristi, He is faithful, all the time. I'm just usually impatient.

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