We were able to share reactions from the people of the favelas and how we felt going to their world . We climbed a very steep hill to deliver food and the message that God loves them to a few specific families that the local leaders have a relationship. The climb was physically demanding and dangerous after the rains that day. Imagine the climb with a newborn or with a painful knee or hip several times a day. Reminds us that our comfortable homes are luxuries and not lice ridden with potentially fatal wiring! Yet we were welcomed with joyful hearts and smiles. Seats and coffee offered while many asked us to sing in English! We gave food, some dolls and clothes for the kids, along with lice shampoo and flip flops. But they gave more in return, perspective! They endure, hope, pray and sing praises to God of grace and love. I pray they were able to see a reflection of Jesus in our words and actions!
We were able to enjoy a few local experiences - eating Pastels for dinner, lunch at Brazilian steak house and even grocery shopping! The local team described , and help order, our stuffed pocket then deep fried Pastel. Pretty much anything you wanted could go in it. Seating for 34 was needed to feed our hungry bunch on Thursday at the steak house. We had some local kids with us as well! We were stuffed. The Brazillians were so thankful that we cooked an American meal for them! We had hamburgers, hotdogs, slaw, potato salad, green beans and banana splits! It was a treat to share part of our culture as well.
The volunteers that work here every day gave powerful testimonies also. Reflecting and processing our experiences from one short week and asking God to show us how to use them seems selfish after hearing the struggles and obstacles these young servants have faced. Their seemingly broken lives that have been repaired by God's unfailing love was moving for us all. The volunteers here all came from the communities we visited. They have either survived or are still enduring hardships of the favelas. "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless " Isaiah 40:29. Please pray that they continue to receive power and strength from the Holy Spirit
Jerry and Rick have worked so patiently and hard to not only make. Bunk beds but teach the locals how to make them so this ministry can continue. These beds will allow more children to rest easy and safety at the property. The volunteers have invested in some special children and this will bless so many.
We were often reminded that this was God's work but the people here are his hands and feet. It was an honor to be a part of that this week. As we reflect on our experiences and emotions of the week, I pray that we continue to reflect God's love, mercy, and grace. We will return home to our " normal ' life but will carry a piece of this place with us forever