What FELIPE is up to...
This year Felipe is EXTREMELY happy because he is working with kids again!
During 2009, Felipe and I had so much going on that Felipe decided not to work with a group of kids. The whole year he terribly missed working with children. This year, Felipe was determined to return to work with kids!
Felipe is working with a group of boys ages 9-11 years old. This is his favorite age group to work with and Felipe especially LOVES working with the boys that are often the hardest to reach, with difficult behavior and who are at the most risk.
Felipe loves the challenge of breaking through the thick walls of protection that many of the boys are already putting up at such a young age. These boys live in harsh realities and many of then do not have a father figure in their lives. It is beautiful to see how the boys really look up to and respect Felipe.
The boys are extremely hungry for the love, attention and approval of a man. Every boy needs a strong male role model in his life, but I believe that the boys living in the slums of Brazil esspecially need strong and positive male influences in their lives.
The reality here in the slum is that many times the male role model, or point of reference, can easily become the drug lord selling drugs in the streets or a family member involved in drug trafficking or gang activity. It is our prayer that the children of the slum will encounter Jesus and look to Him as a role model. The children see Jesus in us, so we do our best to point to Jesus in all we do.
During the children's groups there are many activities that we do with the kids - Bible Studies, worship, swimming, soccer, educational activities, and much much more!
Spending time playing in the Light House park area is one activity that the kids truly enjoy. There are no park areas in the slum, as the homes are often built literally one on top of the other. Many times the kids are playing in the narrow, crowded and dirty streets. The Light House provides this safe and open area for the kids to let loose, run, play and just enjoy being kids!
Last year, I had the pleasure of working with Melina, a Brazilian missionary here at the Light House. This year she is a co-leading the boy's group with Felipe. Here is Melina in action-working with the boys on their math skills.
Also working with this specific group of boys, is a young man named Josiah from England. He is 13 years old and his family has been serving in missions here at the Light House since January of 2008.
The little boys in the group really look up to Josiah and are SO impressed with his amazing artistic abilities. In this photo Josiah is teaching the boys how to draw a car...
Check out Josiah's masterpiece!
Focused and working away!
What LAURA is up to...
This year is going to be a MUCH different year for me, for many reasons... I am now 7 months pregnant and our baby girl Sophia is soon to arrive. This year, I decided not to commit to working with a group of kids, as my health has been unpredictable during my pregnancy and also because I will soon be a first time mommy.
I have been a bit sad about not being able to work with a group of children, esspecially when I see the many needs in the slum and the many children who I know who would LOVE to be in a group here at the Light House.
Felipe often says to me, "Laura, but you WILL be working with kids this year. You are going to be working with our daughter, Sophia." That is true and what an adventure, joy and priviledge parenthood will be! I am excited about this new season of life God is bringing me into.
However, there is ONE special little girl that God placed heavy on my heart...
Meet Tamara, a 9 year old girl who lives here in the slum.
Tamara has had many problems in school and is now repeating the 2nd grade. She is an extremely bright girl, but has great difficulty with reading and identifying letters and sounds. I began to realize this when I first started working with Tamara in 2008.
I often have spoken to her family about her educational challenges. The education system is completely different here in Brazil, and it seems there are no free special services for a struggling girl like Tamara. Her family is doing the best they can to help her as well.
From what I have learned from working with children with learning disabilities in the USA, it seems that Tamara may have some kind of learning disability. Therefore, it is my hope and plan to work individually with Tamara during 2010.
Currently, Tamara is coming to the Light House three times a week to have special 1 hour tutoring/reading sessions with me!
Together, with a fellow missionary from South Africa named Ian, Felipe and I are leading the Light House Community Center team. This entails a variety of responsibilities which keeps us quite busy. We lead an amazing group of missionaries from all over the world.
Here is a FUN photo of our team! We took this photo at the end of last year during a sporty team-building activity time.
Felipe and I feel priviledged to be serving the Lord together with our amazing and talented team. It is beautiful to see how God is speaking to each team member and how God is using each person in specific and purposeful ways.
God is doing GREAT things through the lives of the missionaries serving here at the Light House Community Center. It is our prayer that as we serve here in the slum of Cafezal , more and more children, youth, and families will be reached with the transforming LOVE and REVELATION of Jesus Christ.