Our team arrived on June 3rd and settled into our new home in Heliopolis. That afternoon a young woman came to our house crying. Her baby boy Miguel had very poor eyesight (point 8 prescription eyeglasses). She had been told by the doctors that his sight would progressively deteriorate and he eventually would become blind. The mother felt it was her fault because she had not wanted this pregnancy. May Pat and Pastor Dirceu spoke with her and Mary Pat prayed for healing for Miguel. Later that night, the mother came back to our house and reported that Miguel was now looking all around and showing interest in his surroundings for the first time. She came the next morning again and shared with many team members how God healed her baby’s eyesight.
The next day, June 4th, the team went to Pastor Dirceu’s church located near downtown Sao Paulo. There the team ministered in praise and worship and the Word of God. We had the opportunity to pray for the majority of the church members in attendance including Pastor Dirceu. The Lord honored us with His presence and there was an awesome time of fellowship with the Lord, with His people, and an impartation of more of His heart.
Last year, Andy and his SEALS group (small ministry team) prayed for a woman named Pepita. The Lord led them to her house. She asked for prayer to find a job, because at that time she was picking up trash for money; she also asked for prayer to find a new house. Since last year, she has remained fervent in growing in her relationship with the Lord and has stayed close with Pastor Dirceu. He helped her look for a job and she now is working at the soup kitchen daily and sells potatoes as a local vendor. She also was able to buy a house in Heliopolis! God answered all of our prayers! We have enjoyed her company as she cooks for our team along with Marcia.
Pastor Dirceu also told us about Paraketa, a man Mary Pat met last year. While the team was in Brazil last year, he had been diagnosed with some kind of cancer that the doctors found while in surgery. Apparently, it had metastasized to various parts of his body and the doctors gave him little time to live. The team desired to pray for him in the hospital, but Paraketa was sent home for palliative care. At a couple different times, Pastor Dirceu, his wife, Mary Pat, and Ge, a local nurse now actively involved with the church, went to his house to pray for him. The team remembered Paraketa’s story as Mary Pat was able to spend time with him and his family and report his situation back to the team for prayer and intercession. We found out that Pastor Dirceu had set up an account for Paraketa’s 5 children at the bread store so they would be able to get bread for free as they needed it. The account was used regularly for approximately 3 weeks. One day after that, Pastor Dirceu went in to pay the account and there was no bill. So he went to check on the family. Paraketa said that they had not been using the account, because he was feeling better and back to work. Reportedly, Parakeet has since gone back to the doctor and medically confirmed the healing of his cancer to the astonishment of his physicians! Praise the Lord for his miraculous healing!
Monday, June 5th, we spent most of the day at the soup kitchen and on the streets of Heliopolis. We helped serve lunch to the people and played with the children. We reconnected with many of the beautiful people of Heliopolis whom we had the chance to minister to last year. We’ve reconnected with the rap group from last year. Some of the members are no longer members of the group, but we’ve met “Ze” and “Ne” again. A couple guys from the team struck up a game of street soccer under decorations in honor of the 2006 World Cup.
Tuesday morning we went out as teams to prayer walk the area of Heliopolis that much of our ministry has been concentrated. We prayed for the Kingdom of God to come to Heliopolis, on earth as it is in Heaven. We prayed blessing in every way for the people. We also prayed against all the works of the enemy, some conspicuous, some inconspicuous. That afternoon we again helped at the soup kitchen. After lunch we began going house to house to minister to each individual family in the way the Lord would lead us. This was a special time for many as they were able to personally see the living situations of many of the families of Heliopolis. As mentioned before, most live in a one room house (probably 20 ft. x 30 ft.). In this room they will usually have a stove or a portable range and a sink for the kitchen; most have a bed but also lay blankets and pillows on the floor depending on how many people are living in the small house. Most have something for storage like a bookshelf, or cabinets. The bathroom is a toilet with a showerhead over the toilet. The quality of construction for the bathroom is variable. Some have TV’s, sofas, tables, decorations, etc. Many have a couple pieces of furniture that have multiple uses (e.g. a bed is used as a bed and as a sofa). But everything is one room and most of the time at minimum three or four people live there. Going house to house also enabled us to meet many of the family members of those we have met during ministry. With all that being said, they are extremely hospitable and friendly. They offer to us, as guests, whatever they have. They make us feel as honored guests. We are very privileged to minister to these precious people.
During this time of house to house ministry, a women with 5 children came up to Missy because she recognized her. Missy had prayed over one of her sons last year because he was having bad dreams. The woman excitedly reported that her son no longer was having bad dreams!
At the end of the house ministry time, our whole team got together and performed the Heart Skit, a small skit about God healing our broken hearts when we give them to Him. Troy Larson and Tiana Douglas explained the drama in Portuguese (way to go!) to all the children who were watching. About 10 children came forward to receive Jesus. One of these was a 17 year-old boy named Raphael. The team last year had ministered to Raphael previously. They had found out he was involved in many of the traps of the enemy associated with the area – drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, etc. As of last year, he had not given his life to Jesus. But through this time of ministry, he came forward to receive Jesus into his life! We have since had the time to encourage him in his faith and reconfirm his understanding of what it means to follow Jesus with his whole life.
Salvation does involve the whole person: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and physically. We are seeing God make people whole in Heliopolis. That in turn is changing the face of the favella from the inside out. And this is happening as the body of Christ is coming together in unity to receive their inheritance – people.