I am pretty sure I have blogged about this before but it is on my mind once again this morning. Last night, I picked up 14 kids, ages 5-16 and brought them to church. They are from a poor neighborhood that could be considered part of a small favela. They and some of their moms have recently started coming on Saturdays for lunch. Actually they have just started coming 2 weeks ago so this is very rapid sudden progression. It is forcing us to look at what it takes to meet their spiritual needs on top of their physical and emotional needs.
These kids and mothers are brothers, sisters, cousins, mothers of boys Heitor, Tim and I have met in the prison. Saturday the Mother, Aunt, and cousin of one boy in particular were at lunch. Last night his sister and cousin came to church.
This is the area Melissa and I are gifted but frankly it is a whole new culture from the church we are currently involved with. Yes it is Brazil, yes it is the same city but it doesn’t seem like the same country. 2 Sundays ago when I went to pick people up for church a very cute little boy named Luis would run out and hit the back of a passing car, he is 5. No parents around watching him, no sisters, brothers, just him playing in the street. He wanted to go with me but I couldn’t bring myself to take a 5 year old alone without knowing the parents. I doubt they would have cared. Thankfully he came with a big group Saturday. It was so cool, we went to their street to remind them and everyone there said they were already on the way.
When they come to church, I brought some last Sunday, Wednesday and again last night, they don’t understand the concept of the lesson. They ask lots of questions, they interrupt, they are curious and hungry. It is great!
It is bringing up some questions
- These kids are at high risk, what are we going to do to offer them the life skills necessary to break the cycle
- Does our current format and location lend itself to ministering to the kids at the same time as our service
- Is God asking us to spend a couple years in Foz growing a ministry here
- Do we add a kids service Sunday afternoon
- How do we build a trust relationship with the parents
- Do they need their own church in one of their houses
God is doing something. Heitor has been inspired by the connection with Simon’s family to go out with me to Cidade Nova tomorrow and look up more of the kids from the Prison.
We want to be relevant, we want to reach those God has called us to reach. What does that mean, we don’t know. We do know he is confirming his call on our life to the poor and broken. He is also confirming this is a separate and distinct ministry from ministering to the middle class. Can the two work together or do they need to be like our home church? One church but with 2 congregations, we make the distinction on language. Can you make the distinction on Income, education so on? It is another culture. Does our inhibitions about making those distinctions limit us from being affective?
Kevin – A real leader
Ivone – A great helper
Rafael – Sweet kid
Pamela – Intelligent, confident girl
Paula – Kind, quiet girl
Joao (John) – Big goofy kid
Everson – Reserved
Rafaela – Quiet teenager
Rafaela – The other one, outspoken and fun
Rafaela – The little girl
Vitor and Vitoria – Cute trouble making twins. Especially vitor, cute little pain
Bruno – A friend of Daniels from school
Luis – I would take him home in a heartbeat, he didn’t come last night but he is my little car slapper
I don’t remember the names of the other three who came last night but pray for them.
We love and miss you all