Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taking the favela home

I asked my son what he thought of the favelas after our first visit, and I was struck by his answer. He said, "I don't want to live in a house anymore! I want to live here!" Huh?

Where I saw happiness amid poverty, physical danger and potential disease, he saw happiness period. He saw kids running free with no apparent supervision, setting off fireworks and setting up impromptu soccer games. They lived in a maze of homes that were almost like secret passageways, but they knew the way. They were insiders. He noticed that everyone knew each other, and freely walked into each other's homes. He saw that they cared for one another.

We passed lots of adults hanging out and playing games. One of my favorite sights was of small groups of men sitting close together with a table top balanced on their knees, holding a domino game. They literally needed each other to hold the table up. It was such a beautiful picture of community to me.

But while I saw all the adults hanging out as a sign of unemployment that contributes to their hardship, my son saw grown ups hanging out and having fun -- something he doesn't see all that often, quite honestly. In his world, grown ups are busy working, always have too many things to do, no time to play.

Of course, as a child he is not aware of the dangers that jump out at me as a mother. I see cholera or typhus in the trickling streams that run through the streets. I see late-night danger in the men playing dominoes outside of the 2-shelf bar. I see minor injuries turning into infections that lead to death for lack of medical attention. I see babies I hope desperately will survive their own childhoods here.

But I am convicted by my son's desire to live in a slum because of the freedom, happiness and relaxed pace he sees there. The favela is not something I thought I would want to take back with me. But I hope I can now, in a way. I hope I can make my home more like this beautiful slum for my children.


fortman said...

Wow, this is really inspiring. Great job on the blog, and great job serving God's children and families. All of us at home are so thankful for your devotion and dedication to this extremely vital ministry. Obrigado!
The Jeff Rattikin family

ddb said...

Amazing! Great updates! Dngwowd!

Anonymous said...

Your son sounds like Casey when she came back from her first mission trip to Mexico. I saw a little girl about 2 yrs old potty training in an out house and drinking juice from a metal can with jagged lid sticking up. Casey came home and cried because she had a tub and shower with warm water that she complained about cleaning. So humbling and it changed her heart forever!

While running yesterday I was reminded of Casey's first trip and all the children she told me that was on the trip. I prayed and asked God to give them a heart that yearned for Kingdom change. Make them restless for the gospel. I prayed Casey would raiser her children seeing that there is work to do and a message to be told.

Children see things differently and probably more in line with what Jesus sees. How humbling. Jesus is so awesome to allow us to be a part of his Kingdom work. Truly a blessing!

Peace! I'm praying! I Love you Casey! Mom

Matthew 18

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

VHomman said...

That is a beautiful sentiment. I will try to remember this and instill the same in my own home.