After a short Christmas break, the DTS travelled to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The place where part two, the Outreach, of the Discipleship Training School is taking place. The travels were good, except for a few delays, and a few close calls. But, as always, in general it is hard to sleep on planes and airports, therefore travelling is a bit tiring.
On the 31st of December, 2010, we arrived safely in ‘the Lighthouse’, in Belo Horizonte. The Lighthouse is part of the Youth With a Mission base, in Portuguese: Jovens Com Uma Mission, ‘Jocum’ for short. It is a big house, built on a hill. It is situated in the middle of a Favela, a township built on a hill. Favelas are the places where the poorest people live, where a lot of drugs are sold and used, where the different gangs ‘rule’. Not so much a safe place at night. But, during the day, the favela is a lively place, where lots of people hang out on the streets, kids play football, and people run their little shops.
After a Brazilian new years eve, we had a weekend with some rest. This time of the year, it is rain season in Brazil, which means that the weather can be very unpredictable. It rains a lot, and Brazilian people do not go out when it rains, at all. The weekend was mostly used to settle in, sort our stuff out, get used to the people and the place, etc.
During this week, we got to do some awesome things, from practically helping out at the base, to doing some house visits. The first few days, we did some prayer walks. We walked to different places and prayed for the community. One group went to the football field, a central place in the favela, in between two hills. This is a place that is used for drug trafficking, but because it is so central, it could be used for some evangelistic activities, so we prayed for that place. Another group went up another hill that looked out over the favela, where they prayed for the community. It was really an awesome time, where God gave us some words for the community.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we got to do some house visits. Jocum really tries to build relationship with the people from the community, and they regularly visit people at their homes. We split up into different groups, to visit different people. One group visited an old man, who had some problems in his marriage, and who lost all hope for things to get better. We talked with him for a long time, trying to encourage him that with God there is always hope. Another group visited a woman, living near a creek. She had problems with her son who is involved in drug trafficking. She literally had no food left, and was in a bad situation. It is always hard to see people in these kinds of situations. We got to pray for here, and Matt shared a bit of his life with her, to give her hope and encourage her.
Thursday we organized a kids-event at the base. We had invited the kids on Wednesday, by going out into the community with cake and some invites. We were not really sure what to expect though, since we had never done a thing like this. But, amazingly, a hundred and sixty kids showed up. Even the people on the base were amazed! We organized different games that the kids could play, as well as playing football on the football court. And it was finally sunny, so we were able to have most of the games outside. It was a bit chaotic, but nonetheless amazing. At the end, Jamie and Matt did a puppet show, telling the kids the story of Zaccheus, and how Jesus wanted to be his friend, and how Jesus wants to be a friend to everyone.
Not all things are good though. Over the past days, different team members have been sick, and it is never nice to be sick. People here have told us that almost everyone who comes here will get sick at some point, because of the different viruses, getting used to the food and different climate and other things that are just different. Please keep us in your prayers, for health and quick recovery!
So far, our time here in Brazil has been amazing. The team is really excited to reach out to the community, to really build relationships here, and show people God’s love. We are hoping to keep you all updated, and we are expecting some great things to happen during our time here.
For now, goodbye. Tchau, and feliz anno novo!
~ the Flying Dutchman (Willem)