BMS’ São Paulo Action Team tells us about their tour of projects and churches, which inspired them as they saw God’s love shining in places of great need.
One of the most memorable experiences we had was [when] we stayed for a week in the church project, Pequeno Samuel [Little Samuel].
This was an amazing place as it gave kids from the favela [shanty town] a place to go where they can learn English, take part in Jiu-Jitsu (they´re all crazy about Jiu-Jitsu out here!), join a painting class, or join PEPE [the pre-school education programme].
The people who run the project are some of the most loving and hospitable people we've met here. They so long for kids to get off the street and have such a desire to share Jesus' love and hope with their community.
It was really inspiring to get to spend time laughing and sharing with such incredible people.
On the Friday we went to a nearby village, an experience that none of us will ever forget. Parque America is a very rural, very poor village.
We went on some house visits with the pastor [who told us] that it is an area filled with black magic, extreme poverty, and sheer helplessness.
It was heartbreaking to hear stories of people who have nothing to eat day to day, who are dependent entirely on alcohol and drugs to numb their pain, and of children who are lured into witchcraft.
As you can imagine, it was even more heartbreaking seeing the people who are these stories.
The first house we went to was of a 30 year old man who was bedridden, unable to get up, wash himself, feed himself or talk. We prayed for him and were all so struck by his immense need to be loved that we came back and prayed some more, and then came back again and prayed even more.
We have no idea if he was affected at all by our being there, but we all felt that it was a really holy time. We hope and continue to pray that he will somehow be touched by the love and grace of Jesus.
Our next visit was to the house of a 15 year old girl who was married. She lived in what I can only describe as a cardboard house. No floor, cardboard walls and a tin roof.
It was so sad to see that a girl who is a similar age to many of our siblings was living in such conditions and that she quite often couldn´t afford to feed herself or her husband.
The last house was that of a Christian lady, her husband, and her seven children. The outside of her house was quite literally a swamp because of all the rain.
They had a shutter as a door, no floor, and cardboard walls. Yet, this woman praised God! She thanked him that her house hadn´t been flooded, which really really was a miracle. She thanked him that her kids could go to school even though they sometimes can´t afford to eat. What faith!
We were all blown away by her trust in God´s provision and the fact that she truly believes that his grace is enough. What a challenge to us who live in such comfort.
On our way back to the church we met a man at the bus stop whose brother had died that day. He broke down, poured out his heartache to us, and clung onto Dave and Tim [two team members] as if they were all he had left in the world.
We prayed for him and left feeling heartbroken, challenged to our core, and with many, many questions.
It was such an amazing and holy time, even though it was so terrible and upsetting. We´ve learnt a lot from that one day and know that we will never ever forget it.
It´s left us with an absolute passion to reach out to the community around us in Campo Limpo [where the team is based], to love until it hurts, and to stop at nothing to share God´s joy. The time is now or never, so we really want to do all we can do in these last two months.