Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Visit to Crackland

Over the past few weeks our team has been working with the missions organization ABBA in São Paulo, Brazil.  We are serving daily with a ministry called the Sower House that reaches out to children, teens and their families who are living in 3 different slums located near the ministry center.  It has been an amazing and busy time here.  You may have seen the photos we posted of a camp we went on with them.

Our team also had the opportunity to serve at another ABBA ministry location, a place called Crackland, which is located in São Paulo's city center.
So, you may be thinking, what exactly is Crackland?  
Crackland is an area where there are literally hundreds of people -homeless people, street kids, poor people, children, prostitutes, - and they are all crowded into one tiny city block.  Everyone is openly smoking crack, getting high, and selling drugs or desperately trying to buy drugs to feed their addiction - many sadly prostituting themselves to scrape together money for their next fix. Felipe describes Crackland like seeing a swarm of ants devouring a pile of sugar.

It was a shocking and heavy sight for our team to see. (Jessie, Sophia and I stayed home as it would not have been safe to take the girls to this area.)  

No one dreams of being addicted to crack...
As I was talking with our team member Josie, after returning from this outing, she said to me this powerful statement,
"No one dreams of being addicted to crack.  When these people (who are at Crackland) were children they did not dream that one day they would be where they are today.  A series of poor decisions and unfortunate events led them to this place, and now they are trapped and enslaved by drugs..."   
We continued to talk about how only the Lord Jesus can free them and transform their lives.

This conversation hit me hard and confirmed once again in my heart, my calling to work with children at risk, living in poor conditions.  Felipe and I desire to invest in the lives of these children, telling them of the hope of Jesus and teaching them to walk in His ways, so that they will not end up turning to the streets or a life at Crackland.

The ministry of ABBA has a faithful team going weekly to reach out to the people who frequent Crackland.  They offer to bandage any wounds that the people may have, because often the street people addicted to drugs get wounds and have no way to properly treat themselves.  While bandaging wounds, the ministry workers talk with the people, offer prayer, hope and encouragement to the hurting and often hopeless drug addicts.

Felipe, Josie, and Marcia spent just one afternoon in Crackland and it greatly impacted them. They told me about a homeless man that the team treated.  He had gotten into a fight and had a huge gash on his head.  He tried to go to the hospital to get treatment, but the hospital would not attend him. He was expectantly waiting for the ABBA team to arrive to treat his head wound.  The team used much guaze as they cleaned his wounds.  They were able to encourage him, as he shared of his desire to leave a life of drugs and return to his wife and family.  Please pray he will take the necessary steps to truly change his life.

When I think about what the ABBA team is doing, ministering to the needy and desperate ones in Crackland, I think, this is exactly where Jesus would be.  He would be going to places like this to show His love, care, and compassion.  

  Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
~ Matthew 9:12-13 ~

  The ABBA team is also doing what Isaiah 61 speaks of.  They are bringing good news to the poor and binding up the broken hearted and proclaiming freedom to the captives.  Please pray for this powerful ministry as they simply show the love and care of God to people who are desperately in need.

* Felipe did not take photos at Crackland, so the photos you see on this post we actually found online and were taken at Crackland, but by other photographers.

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