“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)
A Personal Awakening
A near-fatal surfing accident in 1995 shattered the early dreams of Micah McElveen. Life-flighted to a Florida hospital with a broken neck, the aspiring athlete awoke as a quadriplegic in intensive care. The years of rehabilitation that followed restored to him much of the use of his arms and legs—but the near-death experience forever taught him the brevity of life. “We’re not guaranteed a long life,” he says. “The truth is our time on earth is like a vapor. When you realize that, you are afforded an opportunity to live it differently.”
Consumed with the idea of spending, not wasting, his life, Micah sought to develop a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and a better understanding of what Christ calls His followers to live for. In Micah, God’s heart for the spiritually lost and the physically poor began to beat. Micah came to believe he was kept on this earth to serve the poor and advance the Gospel in ways that would glorify Christ. He began to seek practical and effective ways to live that out in everyday life.
In 2005, he spent time in an African slum among people whose intrinsic poverty rocked him to the core. The human suffering was heartrending and eye-opening. Poverty statistics became names and faces and the “poverty problem” became personal. As Micah processed what he had experienced, he said, “I felt like I came to a crossroads. I would either waste the rest of my life trying to forget what I saw or spend it trying to do something about it.”
An Organized Response
An idea began to form, ultimately becoming a vision. Micah, in graduate school, dropped out of his master’s degree program and moved into his car to pursue the establishment of the ministry. Many friends, supporters, and vendors sacrificially came together to help get Vapor Ministries off the ground. Audrey (who later became Micah’s wife) was one who extended herself beyond reasonable expectations, holding much of Vapor’s backend office together largely from her college dorm room. Within a year, Micah moved back to that African slum to establish the first Vapor center.
Since our humble beginnings, God has accomplished much. Vapor’s ministry capacity and effectiveness have continued to grow, resulting in greater physical and spiritual impact among those living in extreme poverty. Today, Vapor is comprised of a group of dedicated people, fueled by willing supporters, all making personal sacrifices in order to carry out an urgent mission.
At Vapor Ministries, we understand that life is incredibly short, a mist that appears for only a moment on the great scale of eternity. We believe the way it can have an enduring effect is if we purposefully spend it bringing glory to the Creator of Life. At Vapor, our very name reminds us to be urgent in our pursuit of the good of man and the glory of Christ. We truly have a short time to advance the Gospel and serve the poor.
Become a Disciple of Christ
If you have never given thought to the purpose behind your short life, we encourage you to do so. We do not ask you to simply pray a repeated prayer or accept a “religious” truth. We ask you to respond to Christ’s call to repent of the sin that separates us from Him and trust in the grace He offers all who place their faith in His ability to redeem. He is inviting you to place your trust in Him and follow Him, the very One who loved you enough to die for you. Send us a note if you’d like to talk with someone about how to settle the question of where you will spend eternity.
Get in the Game with Vapor
The good that God is doing through Vapor Ministries and those who are involved with this cause is amazing. While we are extremely thankful for the ongoing work, we firmly believe God can use Vapor for an even greater good in some of the poorest places on earth. For that to happen, many people will have to get in the game with us. There are numerous ways to come alongside and make your “vapor” count for Him with us. Prayerfully consider how the Lord would lead you to get involved today.
For more information about our cornerstone beliefs and the driving doctrine behind our work, check out our Statement of Faith.