We are excited to be heading back to Florestópolis in July! Here’s our team right before the first meeting. You can tell they are stoked🙂
Our team this year (from left): Matt Windley, Eddie Windley, Chris Shortlidge, Jessica Shortlidge, LeeAnn Clark, Daniel Clark, Dana Morrison
We hope to keep you informed as we plan, fundraise, and go!
Monday night we did a training with some of the project leaders and volunteers from Florestopolis. We taught them on how to do “object lessons”
Cool thing was that several of the volunteers we trained were young people who were once in the project. It has been one of the goals of Open Atms Worldwide to see their projects reproducing leaders like this.
After the project, as Mike Myers was driving back to the church, he saw a mob of people in the street. He turned away to avoid getting involved in a situation. He Learned later from man in street there was some sort of lynching over a drug deal. It’s just another example of the effects of sin in this community and how dark a place can become.
This morning, Tuesday morning, we had about 40 kids at the project. One of the volunteers from Assis shared his testimony. He told the children that we was the son of a prostitute. The man who fathered him took responsibility and came back to his mother and they had another son. However, his father was not a good man and beat his mother. The family did not have enough money and his mother went back to prostitution. Also, another person in their home, maybe a maid of sorts, physically abused he and his brother. He told the kids at the project that he really has no family. The church is now his family.
I’m not sure when and how yet he came to faith in Jesus, but he told me yesterday that he feels called to be a pastor.
Each night we have a debriefing session to discuss what went well, what we could do better and to share stories of encouragement. Last night we learned a sad but hopeful story.
One of the boys at the project is only 4 years old. Apparently this boy’s father was shot 11 times, probably befause of a drug deal gone wrong. Even though he is only 4, the boy is aware of this situation. He has shared that his goal in life is to grow up, find his father’s murderer, and kill him. This coming from a four year old.
Redemptivly, Rosemeire, the Open Arms Missionary in Florestopolis, was able to talk to the boy, share the good news of Jesus with him, and he prayed to ask Jesus into his heart.
Of course, this is a young age to fully understand his need of the gospel, but clearly his life circumstances are unusual.
Also yesterday, in my small group of about 9 boys, probably 7 of them asked for prayer for their fathers who they all say drink too much. This is a sad reality for many families in this area because of the lack of opportunity and hope of the gospel.
Please continue to pray for the children here, their families, and this whole community.
Today we went back to the project and did a kids club with the kids. We had around 75 kids today!
It began with music followed by a message from Eduardo. Several from the team from Assis dressed as clowns and did a skit. Then we broke into small groups and the kids discussed the message they just heard.
After group time, we had recreation and a craft (bracelets), and then ended with a snack (crushed Oreos and gummy worms).
We have church tonight around 730. Then dinner.
The weather was great today. No rain.
Please pray for Florestopolis and for the kids and their families. God is able to immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!
We made it! As you can see, priority number one seems to be getting connected to the wifi!
we have had some internet troubles, so I Apologize for the delay!
Friday we went to the project along with the team from Asis and began our work project. One team did clean up at the project, and another team went down the street to do a “home makeover!” After lunch we really got going on the makeover, painting the house, landscaping, repairing a fence, picking trash, and repairing soffet on the front of the house. The house belongs to a family who has twin boys who participate at the project.
Today, we returned to the project and walked the neighborhood to hand out flyers and invite children to attend. This afternoon we are returning to the project for the first events with the kids.
Perhaps the best part of the trip so far has been the community of faith shared between us, the team from Assis, and the local believers here in Florestopolis. There is truly a bond of unity though God’s Spirit.
We have had rain last night and this morning, and it may continue this week. We will adjust! Please pray for us but most importantly for the children who need the hope of God’s love through Jesus.