International Ministries

Pray for Corenne Garrison and Phil Smith, reaching street children in Brazil

March 6, 2011 PrayerCall
In Brazil, poor youth often choose life on the streets to escape the poverty of the slums and, more often, to escape abusive families. Corenne and Philip minister to children who are part of a residential program that rescues homeless street children and youth ranging in age from 8 to 18. The program provides guidance, education, and training for future employment. Phil is the president and CEO of the residential program, Hope Unlimited for Children, which was founded in 1991.

Phil and Corenne and their family are in the United States for a year but will continue their oversight of the ministry of Hope Unlimited for Children.

Phil writes: Luciano is 14 years old, and has been at the City of Youth since May 2010.  When he arrived, we noticed he was missing a few front teeth.  We later discovered the story behind the missing teeth:  

Luciano had been in a bicycle accident where something had entered his mouth and damaged his front teeth.  Although they were still in tact, he suffered much pain.  He began sucking on cough drops and candy, hoping to dull the pain, but the sugar only worsened the problem.  When he couldn’t bear the pain any longer, he began collecting aluminum cans and selling them until he had enough money to pay a dentist to pull his teeth out.  The pain decreased as a result, but ridicule replaced it.  He was often the brunt of jokes because of his missing front teeth.  When he arrived at Hope, we immediately began investigating to find out what we could do to help him.  On February 15, Luciano received new – although temporary – teeth!  He wears braces now, which keep his teeth in place.   When he is an adult he will be able to get permanent implants. 

I was sitting in the auditorium at the City of Youth last Saturday evening before the weekend church service was to begin, talking to Pastor William’s wife, Luciana.  We were interrupted by Luciano who came up, timid yet beaming with joy, to show Luciana his new teeth!  He has been making the rounds this last week, showing his instructors, house parents, and friends his beautiful new smile.  We are excited and humbled by the opportunity to be used to make a difference in Luciano’s life.  He is smiling this week because of his new teeth, but I love to imagine all of the things that will make continue to make him smile throughout future years.  The seed of the Gospel has already been planted in his life, and we look forward to see it bear fruit.  God brought Luciano here for a reason, and I believe it was to give him reason to smile – and reason upon reason upon reason as life goes on.