Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brazil Trip 2014: Days 6 & 7

Yesterday was our last day of visiting the communities where Living Bread is at work.  We walked with Pastor Alexsandro around Vila Safira where he serves the community.  This church body is excited to have a new building, and we are anticipating the ministry expansion that will come from having a place to call their own.  The store front where the church had been meeting after the leaving the extra room built on to one parishioner's home is now a small consignment shop where Christian materials are sold.  

As we walked through Vila Safira, we could see how the government is stepping into the community and working to improve the infrastructure by establishing roads and rebuilding faulty structures.  However, this presents some unique challenges to the needy in this community.  The local officials come in and give residents a very short notice that their home is going to be leveled because it doesn't meet their qualifications.  Alexsandro shared his concern with us that the government is making these improvements in order to use the area for something else, displacing the poor who live there.  His hope is that the local government is going to create more intentional lots and property line and give the current residents official deeds to the land where they live.  This would help establish the community and give them a place to officially call their own.

Yesterday afternoon we spent time with Pastor Magioli and his family.  He presented the current projects of Ministério Pão Vivo and shared his vision for the next year of the ministry.  We dreamed together about the lives and communities that can be changed with the impact Christ can have on their lives.  Our evening was filled with fellowship with the Magiolis and saying our goodbyes to their family since they are traveling this weekend.

Today we were able to enjoy a little sight seeing.  Our day trip took us to Gramado and Canela, towns in the mountains a couple hours from Porto Alegre.  We got to have a little change in scenery and got to see a different part of the state!  Our adventures took us shoe shopping (a big industry in this area), to chocolate stores (also one of the highlights), to visit a 700 year old tree (just as exciting as it sounds), and on a sky tram ride to see a beautiful, mountain waterfall.  
With one more day of ministry at Igreja Batista Viva ahead of us, we are so thankful for all this week has held.  We've been spent emotionally and physically with all we have seen and done.  Though we have been exposed to extreme poverty and dire circumstances these last several days, the truth is we are surrounded with the same hopelessness without Christ everyday in our own communities.  But at home that hopelessness is shrouded in suits and ties, 401(K)s, nice cars and houses, social status, or whatever people use to try to fill the void in their hearts that leave lives just as empty as those living in the slums we've seen this week.  It's a blessing to be a small part of a ministry that is making such a big difference in the lives of the people in these communities.  As Pastor Magioli often says, "We can't do everything, but we do everything we can."

A home in the Vila Safira neighborhood.  Notice the little red house in the front yard.  This is a Macumba (spiritist) house where they believe the spirits live.  They offer sacrifices to the spirits here and live in fear of the spirits cursing their home.

Walking through the community with Pastor Alexsandro

Alexsandro and Bárbara with Septembrino, a resident whose home was demolished by the city.

We made some new friends with the kiddos in the area!

Alexsandro and his wife Luciane

We're so excited for the new building for this church in Vila Safira!

Our time of sharing with the Magiolis and our new pastor for the church at Vila Nova and his family.

Playing tourist today!

Canela's natural beauty

Gremado's downtown area, heavily influenced by the German heritage in this area

1 comment:

  1. Love this saying by Pastor M. "we can't do everything..."

    Everyone who comes to Gramado should see the 700 year old tree! It would take at least 12 people to get their arms all the way around it....very little people!!