Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Humble Beginning

As I was getting ready this morning, I began reflecting on the importance of the day ahead... 
Today was our first day of actually working in the slum where we are seriously praying and considering to one day open a ministry/community center for children and their families.  Today was our VERY FIRST DAY! 

I was excited and a little nervous, not sure what to expect exactly. I was really looking forward to being present in the slum and to meet at least a few people living in the community. 

As I was anticipating our day, I was reminded of my first trip to São Paulo back in 2000.  I first came to this big city on a missions trip with my university. Who would have imagined that 15 years later I would be back in the same city, doing the same kind of work that I did back then - going to the slums to love on kids and tell them about Jesus? 

2000 - A photo taken while visiting families in a slum in São Paulo.

And here I am again in São Paulo... I am so thankful I can be here, living the dream God has placed in my heart to share His love with the poor, and with kids so desperately in need.

So how did our first morning of ministry go?
  It was a very humble beginning! 

Felipe, Jessie, and I arrived at the church that has agreed to let us use their facility.  It is a small church located on a narrow, dead-end street in a slum community called Jardim São Carlos.  The church, which was once a bar turned multi-purpose room (and even used as a garage by the neighbor), is used for weekly gatherings. 

Sporting our YWAM t-shrts, we took a quick selfie in the church to document this special day!

Upon arrival at the church we set up our materials and then went out to invite kids to join the morning activities we would offer.  We had hoped to see lots of kids playing in the streets and had planned on walking around the community to invite children to join us, but due to the somewhat rainy and chilly weather many kids were not outside and it was a little challenging to explore like we wanted. We did invite the few kids we saw, and a total of three kids actually came to hang out with us and play games at the church.  

It was our first day of programs, and just three kids came! 
It was a small number, but the time and simple love we could show these precious three is priceless.  Jessie especially enjoyed playing with a little four-year-old girl who joined us. I briefly chatted with the little girl's mother and grandmother, and I hope to get to know them more in the future.

Our plan is to offer a children's program at this little church every Wednesday.  A member of the church who is studying education, has also agreed to work together with us. She met with us today, and it was wonderful to chat with her and learn more about the church and the slum community through her.
  
Today was a simple and very small start, but it was SO good to actually start!
  For the remainder of this year we hope to gradually get to know people in the community. We already have a commitment to work in another ministry nearby called the Sower House (Casa Semear), during the other days of the week.   Due to the schedule of the Sower House we are free to work on Wednesdays in this other slum area.

We are still trying to determine what time of the day will be best to reach out to the kids in the area, and even this week we hope to get the word out better about our weekly Wednesday children's program.

Here in São Paulo school children only study for half the day, so the other half the day they stay home with little to do.  Many kids living in slums play on the streets or end up getting involved in activities they should not be involved in simply because they are home alone and with nothing to do for half the day.  We hope to offer programs where the kids can spend their time in a positive and safe environment learning, playing, and growing in God.

Please pray for the kids living in the Jardim São Carlos slum, and pray for us as we establish a new work in this area.  Today was a very humble beginning, but we are hopeful and expectant that God will do great things as we obey and follow Him to GO to this slum and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
This verse always comes to my heart for the people in the slum.

Just as the missions trip in 2000 was a humble beginning for me, preparing me for a life in missions, today was also a humble beginning of what is to come.  
I am already dreaming of the day, many many years from now, when we will look back on this humble beginning and be amazed at all the Lord has done!


4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful first day! I am sure the three children there had an awesome time. Praying for you and Filipe and the ministry. God is good!

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  2. I love this, Laura! Those three children were so blessed to have you all walk into their lives today.

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  3. Bethlehem Baptist KnightdaleSeptember 30, 2015 at 9:40 PM

    God counts our work by our willingness to go and serve Him. The number that respond is up to God and the Holy Spirit. The fact that you love God and follow His call is all God expects. He will give the increase as long as we love Him and respond to His call. I thank God for people willing to listen to God's calling and love Him enough to respond as your whole family has. I pray for you and other missionaries and I thank you for sharing with us back home.

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