Friday, March 19, 2010

Impacting our neighbors

Last night a 16 year old boy was shot six times in the head by the local drug lords, many of us heard the gun shots ecoing in the night.
Last month a 13 year old boy ran away after stabing his 25 year old neighbor numerous times in the back, a young mother who was holding her baby.
Another man ran to us for help after seeing his friend fall next to him from two gun shots that were fired directy at his head. His crime? Owing drug money! The killer threatened the man saying: you didn´t see anything did you?...Then you better run. He only excaped because he didn´t owe any money. Today he is at our drug rehabilitation center... 
This is the kind of news we hear almost every week from our neighborhood Palmares. Drugs, especially crack, are killing dozens every month. There is no mercy for those that owe and no justice from those that should bring justice. Last year the police theselves were killing one drug traficant a week in Palmares....

 In the past year we have sensed the Lord moving us, and all the ministries of the base, more and more toward mercy ministries. It is urgent!...and we have already begun to act! Two weeks ago we took the DTS students to do house to house visit in our neighborhood. The picture below was taken after our visits where we did  a survey to know the kinds of problems they are facing so we can better serve the community as a whole.
I have learned that we fist need to know what questions people are asking so we can give the right the survey was our way to listen for the questions.
The Terceiro Espaço ministry (me and the 5 other members) planned out the weekend...
We talked with the pricipal of the local school to use a couple rooms where we could give a workshop on drugs...We visited about 100 homes for the survey and we also invited the families to come to the free workshop and we even rented a loud speaker car to promote the event for us.
In the end we had only a hand full of parents and some youth. It was hard not to be discouraged...but I believe that reflects the hoplessness that people in Palmares are feeling. They have lost all hope of a better future...but this is just the beginning!
I know those that came, were educated and impacted... so much so that the parents begged
 us to come back to continue the workshop and promised to call their neighbors.
This was a skit about drugs that 3 of the DTS students put together.
 It was very powerful and had a great impact.
This is not a great picture, but it shows the man God used to give the workshop - his name is Darlan. He is the father of 4 and a very enthusiatic and prepared teacher. His life testimony is one of the most amazing I have heard. Darlan had a story of drugs since he was 13. He has a scar on his left cheak left by the bullet that he fired into his own mouth in a failed suicide attempt. Today he ministers to parents and in schools,
using his testimony and the amazing gift of teaching God has given him.
Three of the DTS students dressed themselves as clowns and presented the gospel in a fun way to the younger kids in the separate room...
Early on Sunday morning we headed to the streets to do evengelism next to the local Palmares street fair.Faces painted and ready to go!...
The students prepared some dances and skits...
...And Mario shared with many the Good News - There is hope in Jesus Christ!!!
Many understood and we watched as heads bowed down
to pray and give their lives to the Lord! Praise God!
This man was wiping away fresh tears!
After the prayer we all approached those around to ask them questions, affirm their decision, or help them understand more clearly their need to seek the Lord....
After a break we did a second round of presentations...this time the ones who presented were children from the Terceiro Espaço Ministry who had been practicing for a few weeks before
with Aurea (the lady sitting before them, with her two kids). She is one of the Terceiro Espaço staff.
It was so wonderful to see these kids courageously present before their own community!Another drama...
And this time Roney (also one of the Terceiro Espaço staff) made the altar call in the middle of the street..
At the end of the hard work we had a debriefing and gave thanks to the Lord for the new lives that were brought into the kingdom, but we also felt the tension of heavy spirtual atmosphere around us. The enemy was not happy to have us in his territory... but he is defeated already!
The following week we also had a beautiful event happen at the base. Juarez (we call him Coquinho which means little coconut), the former drug addict who just finished his term and was helping us to build our home, decided to get baptized.
He passed through a short one month course on baptism and last week he was submerged
 in the waters of baptism! What great joy!
The Terceiro Espaço continues to grow and take shape. We are dreaming with doing more family visits, more events, more workshops, and being more present in the community. Today the children (about 70 of them) come to us three times a week at the base, but we are praying for the Lord to help us incease our staff so that we can have more ``arms`` in this minitry.
One of the things we are dreaming for next year is to open a community center where we can assist families with counceling, classes, worshops and where people can seek help and council in general. We know of women that are being battered, young girls abused, and familes who have no where to go for help. We want to be the go between them and the local government so they can get the help they need.
Another arm we want to deveop is a day care center for young kids, where working mothers can leave their chidren in our care and where they can grow up hearing about Jesus...
Please pray for this important ministry!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


God answers prayer!!!
In my last post I talked about how Mario and I were desperately looking for a place to put Talita, to take her away from drugs and the whole destructive atmosphre she was in and give her a new chance in life. Well, shortly after I posted the last blog someone from the base gave me a phone number for a home for girls that belongs to the MCM Mission called ``Menina dos Olhos de Deus`` - Girls of God´s eyes (also translated as the ``apples`` of God´s eyes).  I immediatly contacted them to ask about the possibility of them taking Talita and they agreed! We had a nice talk with Talita about it and she agreed to go.
Here she is at our home the day we took her with the new stuffed animal that I gave her. She loved the dog ever since she lived here with us last year and called it´t know how I feel about that, but I guess it´s for a good cause. The day before I gave her and new hair cut and picked a ton of lice out of her hair...yuck!
I sneaked the camera on her in the car...I think there was a lot going through her mind.

This whole thing was very emotional for her...she kep holding back tears the whole time we were there in the interview with he MCM lady that was helping us with the paper work.
Even though Jonas and Talita don´t get along, it´s clear that they care about each other...We didn´t have to ask Jonas twice if he wanted to come with us to take Talita to the home...I think the sunglasses hid something he didn´t want to show. In the end they just shook hands to say their fare wells....but I know the moment meant a lot to both of them.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for Talita. Do continue to pray that she will adapt quickly to her new home, in the company of 19 other girls who also live there, all sexually abused and rejected by their families. My prayer is that Talita will have a true encounter with her creator and make peace with those who have hurt her so much.
Of course we plan to continue visiting her and being part of her life....

``Meninas dos Olhos de Deus`` home in Trindade, Goiania