Compaixão is the Portuguese word for compassion. It’s also the name of the ministry that the pastor of our church asked us to take the lead on about a year ago. It’s main focus so far has been on the rehab farm that our church supports.
Benay and I were talking yesterday. Just in the last two weeks we have dealt with eight different situations where men needed to go to Desafio Jovem (the name of the farm). Here is the entrance to Desafio.
I wanted to share about these eight to give you an idea of our ministry, share the incredible need for Christian rehab and for Hope House in our city and to ask you to pray for this terrible spiritual battle that is raging in our city. Here are their stories.
One man was eating trash, that our church had put on the street for pick up, on the night of our mid week service. As people started to arrive, four brothers noticed the man and began to minister to him. One of these brothers called me before we arrived to make sure we were coming. We got there and I was thrilled and so proud to see these younger/older men just loving on this man. The man said he was done living on the street and eating trash and he wanted help. One of our brothers and Compaixão ministry members, Eduardo, was basically sitting down in the trash with the man having a conversation with him. Just being Jesus. We asked the man if he wanted to go to the farm. He said yes, so another brother, Gean, and I made the hour and a half/two hour round trip that night to take Claudio, the man on the street, to get help. He is twenty one years old. He is still at the farm. Pray for Claudio.
Five days later a man, Junior, came to our worship service Sunday morning. He was living on the streets. He actually had come to ask for help a couple of months earlier. At that time, someone from the compassion ministry, Felipe, took him to the farm. He stayed two days and then left. He came back and asked for help again. He said he was tired of living on the streets. Tired of being an addict. Tired of not being with his family. I asked him if this time he was serious about his commitment to stay. Serious about his desire to be free of drugs. Would he stay longer than a couple of days? Would he stay longer than to just fill his belly with food and get some new clothes and a good nights sleep? Would he be serious about allowing Jesus to begin transforming his life? He promised this time would be different. He wanted a new start. He wanted Jesus to help him. He was tired of the way he was living. Our brother Gean again made the long drive to the farm after our worship service. Junior stayed two days and left again. Our job is not to judge, and that is hard sometimes, but to do what God would do and our God is a God of many chances. Praise God for Gean and his willingness to leave everything at a moment’s notice to take Junior to the farm. Please pray for Junior and another chance.
Two days later a woman, from one of our satellite churches, called Benay wanting to know if there was space for her brother at the farm. Even when they have no space at the farm they always make space. Right now men are sleeping on the floor because they don’t have enough beds, They also don’t have enough food for everyone. They can’t even pay their light bill. But they never turn anyone down. Never. They walk by faith every day. Praise God for Desafio Jovem and pray for this family.
Last Friday night we got a call from a young man, Mika, and his father, Cilas. They both are members of our church. Mika is nineteen and just opened up his own barber shop. Before it opened he talked to me about wanting to use this business as a mission field. He wants to train guys from the rehab farm to cut hair so that they could have experience in that area and find a job when they leave the farm. He told us of a young man named Marcos who they had befriended a couple of weeks earlier. Marcos is thirty two, addicted to alcohol and lives on the streets. He said he wanted help. He wanted to go to the farm. We were able to get him a ride that Friday night but when it was time to leave Marcos didn’t show up. He showed up to the barber shop again on Saturday saying he was really ready this time. Mika gave Marcos a haircut and shave and got him ready. Benay and I then took him to the farm. He’s still there but is already struggling with wanting to leave. Pray for Marcos.
We found out that Eduardo took two guys to the farm on his own. Praise God for Eduardo and pray for these two men.
A sister from the church called me on Tuesday to ask what they should do with a man that she and others are ministering to who lives on the street. Pray for this brother and for this group trying take care of him.
Yesterday we received a call from a sister who works at our church. There was a woman from the neighborhood who had heard about our ministry, came to the church and wanted to talk to Benay and me. When we got to church this older woman, named Ivone, began to tell us about her thirty five year old son who just left a rehab clinic where, as she said, he was just fed, drank tea and was given medicine to not be addicted to drugs. Her son, Rafael, had been on the streets since he left the clinic and would call Ivone, and ask her to come to a bakery to buy him something. He doesn’t want her to make food for him as he is fearful she will put medicine from the clinic in his food. According to Ivone, Rafael is bi-polar, addicted to crack cocaine and doesn’t want to go back to the clinic or to his mom’s house. Ivone got in our car and we went to the last place Rafael was seen. We drove up and down streets but didn’t find him. It crushed my heart to watch Ivone as she looked at every person on every street we passed to see if one might be her son. We did not find Rafael but we will keep looking. Pray for him and for Ivone.
As the leaders of this ministry, Benay and I have been the contact people and it’s been pretty overwhelming to see how much need there has been just from our seven congregations but it’s been so encouraging to see everyone wanting to support this ministry. Our pastor has given us his complete support. God has provided excellent people to be a part of the Compaixão ministry. We have been blessed to see this ministry become the passion for lots of people. We have been blessed to see our church embrace this ministry and these brothers from the farm that we love dearly.
When Olavo, our pastor, asked us to be the leaders we had no idea it would be as big and awesome as it has become and it’s only the beginning.
Being patient while we wait for the governmental red tape to be removed so that we can open the first Hope House has been tough. God gave us this dream a few years ago and it seems like we’ve been waiting a lifetime to see the spiritual become physical. But we thank Him for His wisdom in how He has provided a ministry for us at our new church that goes hand in hand with Hope House. It’s a perfect fit and we see how important this is to the Hope House ministry. We thank God for a church leadership, both here and in the states, who is completely behind this. We thank God for their ability to see with their faith eyes. God planted the Hope House on our hearts. He blessed us with Lyndsay and in His graciousness He blessed us with the gift of the Compaixão ministry.
My Bible study today reminded me that God’s word tells us it’s not enough to just listen to His teaching. We must put it into action. We are so blessed to be surrounded by people who speak with love, serve the poor, are wholly devoted to God and put their faith in action.
We ask you to pray for this ministry, these men, the people from our church and for our city. We are working as a team to do our part in bringing God’s kingdom to earth.