SYLACAUGA, AL – Micah McElveen would be the first person to say that Vapor Ministries is not about him. It’s not. But ministry would not exist had the Lord not chosen him to be the vessel He had prepared especially for catching the vision, gathering the team, and creating the strategy that together became Vapor Ministries in 2005.
Two distinctly different experiences awakened Micah, an aspiring young athlete, to the Lord’s calling on his life.
Grace Encounter #1
The first incident happened in 1995 when, much like Joni Eareckson Tada had many years ago, he dove headfirst into the Gulf of Mexico while surfing. Diving headfirst into the big waves that are a surfer’s dream, Micah struck something headfirst that immediately rendered him paralyzed. By the time he was life-flighted to Tampa General Hospital, he had flatlined. The accident had shattered four vertebrae in his neck.
“I shouldn’t be here today, simple as that. God gave me a second chance at life. He showed me that it was fragile, short, like a vapor.”
Micah miraculously recovered from injuries that leave most people never do, but not without prayer, physical therapy, and the grace of our Great Physician.
Grace Encounter #2
Micah eventually regained complete use of his legs and partial use of his arms. Although he would never play football again, he discovered that he could play the game the rest of the world calls fútbol. Although he did not realize it at the time, learning to play soccer would open doors of ministry farther down the path the Lord had prepared for him.
Already being drawn to find a ministry to help others who had desperate physical and spiritual needs, Micah discovered the world of abject poverty when he visited Africa while he was in grad school. What he saw awakened him to a new reality. He found himself at a crossroads.
“I knew I would spend the rest of my life trying to forget what I saw or spend the rest of my life trying to do something about it. God taught me life was a Vapor when I broke my neck. God taught me His heart for the lost & least when Africa broke my heart.”
He enlisted 12 other men from his home church and trained another 30 to prepare for the opening of Vapor’s first ministry center in the Kawangware slum 15 miles west of Nairobi, Kenya. It was 2005, just 10 years following Micah’s “accident” that had awakened him to this life that is but a vapor.
Grace Upon Grace
Today, Vapor Ministries is a growing, multi-million dollar outreach with five operating centers in Kenya, Togo, and Haiti. During 2019 alone, over 450 people came to faith in Jesus Christ through Vapor’s discipleship programs, and another 5,600 participated in structured discipleship training.
The ministry estimates that they made nearly half-a-million personal Gospel presentations during the year in cooperation with local indigenous churches where Vapor staff function as lay leaders.
More than 330 impoverished children received a quality, Christ-centered education.
Vapor supplied nutritious food to thousands of people through multiple programs, including their own commercial farm in Haiti.
Indigenous staff members also created nearly 500 permanent jobs through their thrift stores and vendor contracts in their local communities. Revenues from those local businesses help to offset staff expenses so that donor funds can be more efficiently used to impact the lives of others in desperate need.
It is almost as if the Psalmist foresaw how the Lord would use Micah when he wrote Psalm 39.
“Oh Lord, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass!
Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life span is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but VAPOR.
Surely people go through life as mere ghosts. Surely, they accumulate worthless wealth without knowing who will eventually haul it away.
But now, oh Lord, on who am I relying? You are my only hope!” – Psalm 39:4-7 (NET)
Learn more about Vapor Ministries on their website.
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Source: Vapor Ministries, Official Website