Samara's Trip - Volunteering at the Safe House
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
There is a lot of news that she has been able to bring back, and we can't wait to share it with you. However today, we just want to share with you a wonderful letter she wrote about her experience.
I’m writing to you to let you know about my recent trip to Brazil, at the Good Shepherd Project in Minas Gerais.
I arrived on a Monday evening and was warmly welcomed by the team. I was quickly introduced to everyone and the love shown was simply fascinating.
It was a bit shocked in the beginning with their surroundings I must say, because even though I’m from Brazil I have never been to a place with so many houses built without a standard of safety (I saw a house that was built quite high in the mountain with the back structured on the mountain and a wooden post holding the front). streets without sidewalks, unpaved. Shocked with the stories and backgrounds of the children sheltered but at the same time shocked with the simplicity and beauty the place and people offered. They were happy with the little, most of the time, needing only a kite to brighten their days. Stressful days came and their lightness in their soul and trust in God touched and inspired me.
The next few days were filled by the routine they have in the Safe House. The mornings start quite early for the workers, usually looking after the three babies that are sheltered, two of which have special needs, so it is quite the job to do everything required for their growth and care. I was usually helping around with whatever was needed, sometimes with the babies, cleaning, helping in the kitchen or spending time with the teenagers (there are seven now as four recently left because they were adopted).
The kids that are taken care of were placed in this safe house due to different kinds of extreme abusive households and situations or cases of neglect from the local court. The project not only takes every-day care of these children but also runs four recreational activities (jiu jitsu, football, circus and technology), which have stopped due to the COVID-19, providing them with something to be passionate about as well as helping to keep the young people out of the streets.
You can see God’s hand in all that’s done, especially in the difficult times that the project itself has gone through and God’s care for them and the kids is crystal clear, for example, providing food at the last minute when there was none left and the kids had nothing for breakfast.
of the employees as well, are proof of the project’s mission as many were impacted by the activities that run in the community and then started working officially in the safe house.
My time there was important, not only to understand and truly see the project, its mission and results, but also to build relationship with the people, especially the kids and teenagers. To be able to listen to their life-changing stories and see how the project has helped them break through trauma, poverty and the repeating life cycle. To be able to hear them talk about their desire and their burning passion to make something for themselves, to build a career and be able to give back to their community. From wanting to be a policeman or join the army, to wanting to create a family, even though their example of one is not in the slightest a good one to be followed. The project bases their teachings around Christian values and principles and seeing that reflection on the children and the way they think, and act is simply amazing.
The work is far from being complete, they have plans to build a project to work closely with teenagers involved with drug addictions for example. It is an ongoing job and a continual trust in God is needed to transform the lives of the new kids and teenagers through their work and testimony. One thing that changed my whole experience was understanding and recognizing that it is not possible to solve all problems, in one life, let alone everyone else’s, however at the same time recognize how incredible it is to see the difference we can make in the lives of others with so little, let that be with resources, time and love. God’s love especially through our actions.
I learnt that we may not have all the answers, or any as a matter of a fact, but that with our love we can transform someone’s day, week and possibly lives. Love is the only answer I found to be reasonable enough to give.
I was also able to see the tireless work of the leaders, things that have to be done, efforts and sacrifices to provide for the children's daily lives, the constant need to tell the children's and project's stories at events and always be asking for help to get external support to keep the project alive. The arduous task of fanning the flames on people’s heart to continue helping. I think that in the first years it must not have been so complicated, but with the time passing by many people have given up helping or supporting, not taking into account that the children, activities in the community and workers are still there, needing that sustenance.
Their main difficulty is to do with finances as currently (especially because of the COVID pandemic) the resources that usually come from the government have stopped coming and several fixed workers are not being paid their salary. The safe house is the home of many and so the work done there is something that simply cannot stop; therefore, the workers have continued their jobs without getting payed.
So I ask you to continue praying for this situation and their work which is essential, not only that but for God’s guidance to how they can be of assistance to the people of the safe house and community during these uncertain times of lockdown.
I leave with you Paul’s prayer which is always an encouragement to me and it may also be to you: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favour), Comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
Last but not least, I would like to thank you all for your support, being financially, through prayer or kind messages of encouragement during my time there. You guys were and are the proof of God’s care in my life.
Thank you so much!
(some photos faces have been blurred for the safety of the children at the Safe House)
If you would like to support the work happening in Brazil you can use the donation form below. Alternatively we can provide account details for direct debits or transfers.