Saturday, April 26, 2008

Confronted With Reality...

As I walk through the slum, dodging puddles of dirty water and trash littering the street,

my eyes are open to see ...

Children are playing in the street, a crowd is waiting at the bus stop, a scraggly horse is standing attached to an old, rusty cart waiting for his workday to continue, teenage girls pass by carrying their babies, people are entering and exiting the small corner store and fruit shop, and unemployed men sit on the curbside and in the local bar drinking and smoking their day away. Loud music blares, stray dogs are barking, motorcycles whiz down the steep, narrow streets, the strong sun beats down on my face, and I smell the pleasant fragrance of fresh bread baking nearby. With each step, I take in the world around me. I climb my way up a steep hill and enter a narrow alley way.

This is the path I take as I go to visit the families of the girls I work with. Each week we spend time visiting families in the community and during this time ...

I am always confronted with reality.

The brutal reality of life in the slums of Brazil continues to shake and compel me to share my FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE. Just the other day I went on a family visit and was greatly impacted. The story of this family is just a taste of the reality of the many people living throughout thousands of slums in Brazil.

I work with three girls that come from the same extended family. The mother of one of the girls recently shared with us that she has been abused by her husband and even tortured by him due to his desperation for money. (This family is now living with other family members for safe refuge). The niece of this lady is a single mom who is rumored to be involved with drug trafficking. She has two beautiful daughters which are also in my group. The father of the oldest daughter was shot and killed (drug related) when this girl was just a baby, and the father of the younger daughter abandoned the family years ago. This is just one family that I work with.

Another girl in my group also suffers from the reality of her father’s murder, which was drug related. Many kids who live in this slum only have one parent figure as well, due to the unfortunate fact that either their mother or father has abandoned the family. Most of the children we work here at the Light House live in an environment of neglect, pain, poor living conditions, abuse, and lack…

Sometimes it is easy to just shut your eyes to reality. It is easier to shut your eyes than to see the pain and suffering in the world around you… Honestly, that is usually my first reaction to pain and suffering – to just shut my eyes or turn away.

I feel God is saying to me, “Open your eyes...”

He has placed me here to see each child, each person- individually, to understand their pain, sufferings and difficulties, and then to respond with His LOVE. To do what He would do and bring them HIS LOVE.

I feel privileged to be here. It isn’t always easy, but I know Jesus has called me to follow Him to this corner of the world full of much pain and beauty.

The Lord is faithful to all His promises

and loving toward all He has made.

Psalm 145:13

We all can find HOPE in the LORD!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Domingo Com Deus ~ Sunday with God

About once every other month the Light House Community Center hosts a children's program for all the children who live in the slum of Cafezal.
Enjoy photos of our most recent Domingo Com Deus/ Sunday With God!
A group of students who are doing their YWAM Discipleship Training School led this outreach.
It is a fairly quiet Sunday afternoon. Children are beginning to arrive outside the Light House doors while students are walking the streets inviting children to come to the program.

Faces in the Crowd....

My good friend Kirsty (a volunteer from New Zealand) and some boys who participate in a boys group here at the Light House.

Enjoying life with BIG, CRAZY clown hair!

Waiting for the show to begin...

One of my precious girls from my morning girls group!

A beautiful smile from a girl from my afternoon girls group!

Precious and beautiful are these little ones...

This is a girl from my morning group with her brother who was recently hit by a city bus while riding his bike. You can still see the wounds on his face in this photo. Due to the accident, he also broke his leg and suffered from a slight head injury. He is now continuing to heal and is doing well!

Having fun taking photos!

Clown entertainment!

Making music unto the Lord!

Two girls from my afternoon girls group singing along!

My friend Michelle (from Brazil) reading the story You are Special by Max Lucado (in Portuguese) and a drama presented by the DTS students to illustrate the story!

It was a fantastic way to tell the kids how special they are to God!

Eli, the main character who represents Father God, telling his creation how special she is!

After the program we split into small groups so the kids could complete a follow up application activity. Above is a girl from my morning girls group working hard!!!

Happy and smiling! Another precious one from my morning group with a clown!

This Domingo com Deus was a success! About 150 children from the slum participated in all and many were impacted and touched with the Love of Christ!