Well, I’ve been back in the States for three weeks now. Returning to the hyper-scheduled life of an American university student from the relaxed pace of Brazil was certainly a shock. I woke up the morning after our return and sat at my desk for twenty minutes trying to remember what classes I had that day. Life is certainly faster here… but I’m back in the fray! I’m sure you would all like to hear more about the Brazil trip, so let me indulge your itching ears with a story.
On the last day of our week in Brazil, we were walking in a slum area near one of the churches. I love how the Brazilian church functions. The local churches actively reach out to their community, sending delegations to visit homes, share a scripture, and pray with even the unchurched families. And that’s what we were doing that morning, visiting families in the neighborhood. We had already stopped at several homes. The path we walked snaked through some grass by a concrete wall, across a narrow bridge over open sewage, and in between rows of houses made of clay blocks or planks of wood.
The next house we entered belonged to a woman named Marina. As our eyes acclimated to the dark room, we saw her. She was a small woman with wisps of gray hair framing her face and dark leathery skin, creased generously in large wrinkles. Well known in the community as a witchdoctor, she had characteristically not wanted anything to do with the church or the believers that had visited her home to pray with her. That day was different. Marina’s eyes were wet, and she was eager to talk to us.
“Two days ago, my son was taken by the police! They came to me in the middle of the night yelling about my son. I thought he had been shot! I asked them, ‘Is my son dead?’ ”
The words that flowed out of her mouth poured over us in waves of sadness.
“They told me he had drugs. I told them I would never let him bring drugs in my house… The lawyer took all my money to help my son, but he hasn’t been able to do anything! I have no food left in the house, and no son to care for me! And what will my little grandson do without his father?”
She was crying openly now.
“I know now that I need God’s help!”
Looking into her eyes, Thiago, one of our Brazilian friends said to her, “I remember the story of Peter and John. When a lame man called out to them for money, they told him, ‘Silver and gold, we have not, but what we have, we give you!’ Marina, we are not capable of freeing your son or fixing this situation, but what we have, we will give you!”
Marina’s heart was broken, and by God’s grace, we were able to bring the hope of Jesus to that small room.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
– Isaiah 60:1
Marina placed her trust in the LORD that morning. He is a rock
, and He will not fail her. The local body of Christ has been providing for her daily needs. Pray that her young faith will grow stronger each day. Pray also for António, her son who was put in jail for drug related crimes.