Friday, July 9, 2010

LIFE IN THE SLUMS!

YWAM experience- Week 6

From an orphanage nestled safely in a decent community; to a community center in the most notorious slum in Belo Horizonte; this has been a week full of fantastic adventures! Before I tell you about this week’s experience though I must add a disclaimer; WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ MAY CAUSE YOU TO WORRY ABOUT ME! PLEASE DON’T WORRY AND INSTEAD GIVE GOD GLORY AND PRAISE FOR THESE OPPORTUNITIES! (That includes you too mom and dad! =) There is no safer place to be than the will of God. I’m in His hands and nothing will happen that has not already been ordained by Him. OK, now on to the details of the fun week I have had!

This week I have had a wonderful time doing visits with Helen (one of the staff workers from England.) As I go on these visits, I can’t stop thinking about all the places Jesus went during His ministry. I have never felt so close to Him than I have this week! I have really experienced His presence on each of the visits I have been on. I know His Spirit has been with us and I believe that if He were physically present on this earth today He would have been walking right with Helen and I! I must say though, there have been times where I have been a little nervous like today for example! Helen and I ended up walking down the same street 3 times that is notorious for crack dealing. Being that it was noon we didn’t think there would be much business…boy were we wrong! There were so many people smoking and dealing crack I couldn’t help but be nervous, especially when there have been 3 shootings just this week in that same area! The looks on their faces were quiet priceless actually and after we were safely out of that little scenario Helen and I couldn’t help but find the situation humorous! I can imagine they were thinking one of two things; “Why are there 2 gringas walking down this street?” or “Am I trippin’ out or are there really 2 gringa’s walking down this street!?”

As we walked down the road we bumped into a 12 year old girl that started to become involved in the ministry of YWAM but stopped coming as she was enticed by the persuasion of the worldly things around her. Helen was able to reconnect with her and see where she lived which was really great (in case you were wondering that is why we walked down the same street 3 times, to see where the girl lives). Hopefully she will return to the ministry before she gets completely lost in the deception and evil that surrounds her! Sometimes God calls us to dangerous places to call out and help His people. I could definitely say this was one of those times!

On Tuesday I went with Helen to visit with 2 sisters that are involved in prostitution. We had such a sweet and special visit with them. My heart broke when I found out that they were 16, and 12 and both are no longer in school? As I sat visiting with them and listening to them talk I thought, “What would make a 12 year old want to drop out of school and turn to prostitution!?” I asked them what their dreams were and one said to be a nurse the other a lawyer. Obviously prostitution was not their goal in life so how did they manage to get here and risk their dreams?

The 16 year old has a baby just a few months old. She seemed more eager to hear what we had to share than her 12 year old sister did. All I could think to do was offer them Hope in the hopes that they receive it! I told her that God can take our mistakes and use them for His glory but we must allow Him to do so. Our mistakes teach us things about life that make us better people while helping us uncover the truth about life! The 16 year old is the one that wants to be a nurse and we were able to spend some time encouraging her to do so and asking what her plan was to fulfill that dream. We were also able to share the Good News with her and she was really receptive to it! I pray that the Spirit will continue to work in her heart and she will learn to rely on God to help her overcome her circumstances so she can make a better life for herself and her daughter. She would also be a wonderful example for her younger sister that seems totally uninterested in what we had to say.

These are just 2 of the many examples I have experienced this week. I could go on and on about the things I have heard and experienced this week, so many moments that I hold so dear. I love it here and I cannot count how many hugs I have given! Sometimes Helen and I will just sit somewhere in the middle of the slums and wait to see who passes by. The first time we did this I was reminded of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well in John 4. During this time we have made several new friends and Helen was able to reconnect with people she has not seen in awhile for whatever reason they stopped coming around. Sometimes we offer prayer, sometimes we share what we are doing, and sometimes we just listen. These people really have neat stories and I enjoy listening to them share about their life. I have learned so much by just listening and observing them and I am humbled that they would share with me. I really think they appreciate us wondering into their territory and speaking words of truth and hope in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way. They don’t know better because they don’t know God. It is up to us to share Him with the world because His light is in us. We need to allow that light to shine bright and pierce the darkness as it points them in the direction of Truth; the place where Love is dying to reach them, awaiting them with open arms that were nailed to a cross so they could be free.

My last day at this house will be July 13 and then I go to Porto Seguro to continue the work that God has started there over the past several years! This will be my 3rd visit to Porto Seguro and I am really looking forward to reconnecting with the people there. I look forward to seeing how God continues to work in my time here. I return to the states on August 2. I’m not really sure If I will blog anymore about my trip as my time is coming to an end and I have a lot planned for the coming weeks but I will try to keep you updated! Thank you all again for your prayers and support, I am truly blessed to have you in my life!

Pray’s and Praises:

I’m suffering with an annoying head cold. There are some mornings where I have no voice! Please pray that this will go away so I can finish the work here strong and healthy and be able to enjoy my time in Porto Seguro.

Safe travels to Porto Seguro next week and that God would open hearts and doors for those who need to be reached.

I’m thankful the transition from the 2 houses went well and I seem to have fit right in with the staff at this current house! I’m really enjoying my time here!

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