International Ministries

Smith, Corenne and Philip - International Ministries The latest from Corenne (Garrison) and Philip Smith https://internationalministries.org/teams/97-smith-corenne-and-philip.rss Hope Unlimited Graduate Natali Brings Hope to Others <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">It is always so gratifying to meet members of Hope Unlimited’s graduate alumni, see how well they are doing, and hear them express their gratitude for what Hope did for them, as they proudly share their accomplishments. We meet these graduates all over as we move about the town, but one of the best places to meet a Hope alumni is …. you guessed it …. at the graduate church. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Last night it was gratifying for me to see one of our first girls, Natali, with her precious little son Vitor. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Natali has been happily married for several years now; her husband is a good man and solid professional, with a car, his own home, and a management position in a restaurant. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">But it was not so much seeing Natali that was gratifying, as I see her and her son fairly frequently, but to see her mother at the graduate church! </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">A year ago, Natali tracked down her mentally disabled, homeless mother, and had provided her with a place to stay, along with another lady who helps take care of her. Her mother is cared for and happy, and she often comes to the graduate church with Natali. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">This is just another of so many examples of our graduates caring for their family members who were unable to care for them, and in some cases even abused them, because of emotional scars from trauma from their own childhoods. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">The generational cycle is broken not only when our graduates marry and become loving parents to their own biological children, but when they become loving caretakers of their own parents….</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;">Below is a reminder of Natali’s story, which I sent out about 15 years ago. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;"><br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><b>NATALI’S STORY: </b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:12.0pt"><b>Natali, 17,</b> Arrived in June of 1997, the month we established the Hope Girls Ranch. Before coming, and until 10 years of age, she lived with her homeless mother. They slept in a crypt in a cemetery, coming out at night to forage for food. &nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:12.0pt">Natali spent most of her time with a little dog that lived in the cemetery. Her mother kept her hidden from other people because she did not want her daughter to be taken away. Finally, the authorties found about about the situation. Her mother was unwilling to accept help to transition into a more stable situation, so the authorities decided to remove Natali from her mother’s custody and asked if we could take her in. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:12.0pt">When Natali first arrived at Hope Ranch, she could not speak because of her lack of contact with people. Instead, she made dog-like noises. It took many months before she said her first words. &nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; line-height:12.0pt">Natali is now age-appropriate in school and very popular with the other girls, although her voice is still a little funny. &nbsp;She has made a commitment to Christ. Natali is shy with strangers and prefers to stay in the background, but loves her life here.&nbsp; She enjoys crocheting and continues to love animals. </p> <p></p> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55024-hope-unlimited-graduate-natali-brings-hope-to-others https://internationalministries.org/read/55024-hope-unlimited-graduate-natali-brings-hope-to-others Valentines Greetings from Brazil <p><br></p><p>Dear Friends:<br>&nbsp;<br>We apologize for sending out something that is not personal, but have been trying to find a way to make sure everybody receives a regular update on our ministry in Brazil.<br>Please email back to tell us if you want to be taken off the list - we promise we won't be offended! Or, especially if you are a church, let us know if there is someone else who should be getting our emails, and include their contact information.<br>&nbsp;<br>January Update:<br>Each February, we ask churches and individuals supporting the Hope ministry to add a little something to their Valentine's preparations. As you make cards for friends and family, and maybe for that special loved one, take the time to make a card for one of our girls in Brazil! The cards are given to the girls during a party celebrating Brazil's Day of Love in early summer, so you have plenty of time. <br><br>As the valentines are passed out, godly women talk to the girls about the meaning of love, the importance of purity, and their value as the highest creations of the God that truly loves them. The smiles and squeals as the girls open their valentines are great rewards, but having the chance to change their self-perception means so much more. <br><br>It is an appalling truth that many of our girls have been sexually abused and exploited, and we are heartbroken by the lives these girls were forced to lead before they came to us. But we rejoice to see their innocence restored, to know that our God is a God of new beginnings. <br><br>Help these girls celebrate their new beginning! Send your valentines to:<br>&nbsp;<br>Hope Unlimited for Children<br>PO Box 2707<br>Los Alamitos, CA 90720.<br>&nbsp;<br>Support Update:<br>While we are responsible to raise the funds within Brazil and the U.S. to support the Hope ministry and&nbsp; 140 full time Brazilian ministry workers, our personal support and benefits are partially underwritten by American Baptists and International Ministries. Thank you for the important role you play in keeping our ministry going!&nbsp;&nbsp; Gifts in support of Philip and Corenne Smith should be sent WITH A NOTE to:<br>&nbsp;<br>International Ministries<br>Philip and Corenne Smith<br>P.O.Box 851<br>Valley Forge, PA 08651<br>&nbsp;<br>(or go to the link internationalministries.org&nbsp; and we are listed under people who serve)<br>&nbsp;<br>Thank you and many, many blessings!<br>&nbsp;<br>In His Hope,<br>Corenne and Philip Smith <br>&nbsp;(609) 558-5859</p><p><br></p><p>Birthdays:<br><br>Lucas turned 13 on the 1st&nbsp; <br>Airton is turning 11 on the 2nd<br>Kelly is turning 13 on the 5th<br>Michel is turning 18 on the 8th<br>Paloma is turning 8 on the 10th<br>Lucas is turning 10 on the 11th<br>David is turning 15 on the 13th<br>Arlinda is turning 14 on the 14th<br>Juliana is turning 11 on the 17th<br>Alessandra is turning 14 on the 18th<br>Ketlyn is turning 15 on the 25th<br>Rodrigo is turning 18 on the 25th<br></p> Tue, 14 Feb 2012 11:44:30 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/41665-valentines-greetings-from-brazil https://internationalministries.org/read/41665-valentines-greetings-from-brazil Seeing the one <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><b><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">From Hope Unlimited, Brazil – Philip and Corenne Smith </span></b></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">The stock market is down 10%. S &amp; P downgrades our credit rating. In 24 months, the US-Brazil exchange rate drops from 2.35 to 1.55, eroding our purchase power there by almost 40%. <b>Nobody will give</b> in this climate. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">And then this morning, I saw the really frightening figure: it is estimated that the global economic collapse has pushed orphan numbers to 163,000,000. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><b><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">163 million children without homes or family. </span></b></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><b><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"></span></b>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Time to throw in the towel? Time to surrender these children to a destiny of despair and death? Can’t we admit when we have lost? </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><b><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">No. We cannot, and we will not</span></b><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">. Let me give you two compelling reasons why we stay in the fight, even when the numbers look hopeless. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">First, the critical number is not 163,000,000, it’s 1. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">It is <b>one child</b> that does not know he or she is part of a worldwide phenomena. It is <b>one child</b> that doesn’t follow the global markets. It is <b>one child</b> who is hungry, frightened, hopeless. It is the <b>one child</b> for whom you can change reality. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span>&nbsp;</span>You may not be able to move the Dow, change a culture that views children as disposable, or move the worldwide orphan numbers, but you can decide today to change the life of <b>one child</b>. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">But even more important, there is One who sees the big picture, and He loves every one of these children intensely. And - important words here - He has called us to join with Him in changing their lives. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">We hear it over and over again in Scripture, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress.” It seems that we spend far too much of our time worrying about the things that are God’s purview - the big picture stuff - and not nearly enough time being faithful in what He has given us. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">So in the midst of all this bad news, my admonition to you is this: <b>be faithful today</b>. Go to the Hope Unlimited website, or that of another child care organization.<span>&nbsp; </span></span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Sent a gift; sponsor a child. </span></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;"><span></span></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: 'Georgia','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt;">Do something for one child, <b>today.</b></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 09 Aug 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/38384-seeing-the-one- https://internationalministries.org/read/38384-seeing-the-one- A dream that came true <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="">Welton Carlos is 15 years old. He could be just another boy waiting to be a soccer player which is very common here in Brazil, however what he desires is to be a Pastor. By the time Welton got here he could not read or write. By talking to him he said his inspiration was Pastor Derli and he wanted to preach like him some day. Welton learned how to read and write at the age of 14 in our school and Pastor Derli gave him a chance to preach, and that was a tremendous blessing! By speaking to him I found out his dad used to hit him and&nbsp;his brothers very hard, almost every day. I asked if he dislikes his father for that, he said “Jesus taught me how to love, forgive and forget, I love my Dad, and I understand”. </span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="">I asked, if he could change something that happened with him in the past, what would it be? And he said “I would not change a thing, all&nbsp;of it&nbsp;was important to make me who I am today.”&nbsp;His Portuguese is nowhere near to polished,&nbsp;however the impact of his words are overwhelming and covered by the Holy Spirit.&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="">I asked how&nbsp;he sees&nbsp;his life 5 years from now, and&nbsp;he said “I don’t know and I don’t care. I will go wherever God wants me and do whatever his plans are for me”</span></p> Mon, 04 Jul 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/37109-a-dream-that-came-true- https://internationalministries.org/read/37109-a-dream-that-came-true- Discipleship at the City of Youth <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica; color: rgb(107, 109, 103);">This year, the organization Master’s Commission committed to sending two groups of young missionaries to Hope in Campinas for 6 months each. The first group of 5 men and 5 women have been at the City of Youth since January.&nbsp;<br><br>They minister to the house parents, work with the graduating class of students at the City of Youth, and are available Tuesday through Sunday to serve in any way our staff may need them.&nbsp;<br><br>The graduates’ feedback is very positive: “Through them we see that we, too, can change. They give us advice. When they talk to us, they encourage us. They talk to us as though we have already overcome our difficulties. They give us confidence, as if nothing were impossible, and then we start to see God that way.”&nbsp;<br><br>They work with the house parents first on their own personal spiritual walks, spending time with the Lord, and then how to pass that on to the boys and girls. The MC group prays with the staff, encouraging them not to give up in this ministry the Lord has given them. Homes that used to meet just once a week for Bible study now also have regular devotions each morning. Seven girls at Hope Ranch have accepted Christ since January, and the house parents relate that they can see great improvement in the behavior of the boys and girls.&nbsp;<br><br>The missionaries have themselves been encouraged by the work being done at the City of Youth: “God is changing their futures through us, and He’s healing their pasts, breaking down walls.” Students who barely talked to anyone or made eye contact now run up for a hug, or yell across campus to say hello and send a smile and a wave. “At the beginning, they wouldn’t give their opinions, but now they have more confidence. They’re learning to stand on their own!”</span> Sun, 05 Jun 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/36450-discipleship-at-the-city-of-youth https://internationalministries.org/read/36450-discipleship-at-the-city-of-youth Dalva: a new creation <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Dalva is the mother of 13 children, 6 of which are a part of our Hope family: &nbsp;Gabriela, Jessé, Graciela, Greice, Glaúcia, and Luiz. &nbsp;Luiz is is the only one of the siblings who did not live at the City of Youth, but he is now married to a Hope graduate and helps lead worship at the graduate church. &nbsp;Gabriela is still at Hope Ranch, as she is only 16. &nbsp;The remaining 4 siblings have all graduated. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Dalva has lived her life in miserable conditions, much of it given away to drugs and alcohol.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The graduate church has adopted her cause this year and committed to praying and fasting for her.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>She is now in rehab, and her children are working to renovate her home for her.<span>&nbsp; </span><span>&nbsp;</span>She recently wrote the following letter to Pastor Derli, and it is incredible to hear the words that come from her transformed heart! </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Pastor Derli,</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The peace of the Lord be with you and your entire family.<span>&nbsp; </span>I am sitting here, it’s 7:25 pm, and I remember as if it were today, the day that the Lord extended his hands to me through a servant of God, a Christian man to help me.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I don’t have words to thank you for what you did and still do for me and for my children.<span>&nbsp; </span>It is with much love that God and our Lord Jesus Christ have placed in you and in your soul, that I speak as a child of a living God.<span>&nbsp; </span>May He bless you and multiply in your life.<span>&nbsp; </span>May He exalt you more and more for the love you showed me.<span>&nbsp; </span>The Bible says that whoever helps the poor helps God.<span>&nbsp; </span>Or in other words, faith without works is dead.<span>&nbsp; </span>And you showed your love for God when you pulled me out from the midst of pigs and made me to sit with the princes.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I am very happy in the presence of God, and I want to share this happiness with you.<span>&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span><br></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I went to church.<span>&nbsp; </span>Service was wonderful, full of God’s power.<span>&nbsp; </span>I am learning to worship, I read the Bible every day during devotional, and I pray often, both on my knees before God and in my heart.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I pray for you, and I pray that God would continue to take care of your ministry.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">May God be with you.<span>&nbsp; </span>I am well.<span>&nbsp; </span>I won’t give up.<span>&nbsp; </span>In 2 Cor. 5:17, it says that I am a new creation, the old things have passed away, and all is made new!<span>&nbsp; </span>And I believe this.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I want to leave a passage from the Bible with you that speaks a lot about the moment that God used you to take me out of the mire.<span>&nbsp; </span>It goes like this: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.<span>&nbsp; </span>(1 John 4:7 and on)</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But what I really want to leave for you to keep in your heart is:</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.<span>&nbsp; </span>(Isaiah 59:1)</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">And in that moment, it was the Lord using you!!!</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">God be with you!</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Sister Dalva</p> Sun, 22 May 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/36026-dalva-a-new-creation https://internationalministries.org/read/36026-dalva-a-new-creation Espirito Santo Governor Visits Hope Mountain <p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">A week ago, I was on my way to attend a ceremonial event with the state governor at&nbsp;Hope&nbsp;Mountain on May 9. The event was to commemorate the government’s funding of HM, and provide an opportunity to introduce the project to business executives, who are supposed to step in with partial funding.</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">Unfortunately, I was unable to&nbsp;<span style="color: navy;">be in&nbsp;</span>Brazil&nbsp;on&nbsp;<span style="color: navy;">Monday.</span>&nbsp;I asked David Nowell to fly down and represent me and Hope Unlimited USA at the event.</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">I heard the event was spectacular. The Governor arrived in a large helicopter with his entourage of cabinet officials and business executives, and were welcomed by the HM band. A couple of our boys gave speeches and a ceremonial document was signed.&nbsp; Evidently the officials were very taken by the project.</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">I was thinking of the contrast between last Monday's festivities, and another Monday afternoon a few weeks prior (March 21),&nbsp; when we called first the staff and then the children together to announce that Hope Mountain would be closing forever in just over 30 days.&nbsp; I remember one of the boys tearfully asking “Why doesn’t the government care about us?” and now the Governor himself was honoring the boys with his presence.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">Below you will find one of the students' speeches, and an email I received about the event from the former secretary of Justice, Dr. Marilza, who originally gave us the property when in office and has been our biggest advocate in our fight to retain it. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">God continues to work at Hope Mountain!</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><i>Good afternoon to all of you present here today!</i></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><i>My name is Marco Aurélio, and I am 23 years old. </i></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><i>I currently work at a freight company called Gabardo, which lends services to Cotia.&nbsp; I live in Campo Grande in Cariacica, but a while back my address was Hope Mountain, here in Cariacica, where I lived for four and a half years and was able to learn and give structure to my life, just like some of my brothers who are present here today and who lived in this place of hope. </i></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><i>And on behalf of all of them and of my younger brothers who are still here and need this place in order to be someone, I would like to thank the company Cotia, the State Government represented by our governor Rentao Casagrande, and Hope Unlimited for this new partnership which will allow the children and adolescents to continue growing as I did and become citizens of character, participating in our society.&nbsp; </i></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><i>Our thanks to you.&nbsp; May God bless you all.&nbsp; After all, this is and always will be our eternal home. </i></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><i>Have a great afternoon.&nbsp;</i><span >&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">Philip</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-bottom: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">You can’t imagine my sentiment by your absence today at&nbsp;Hope&nbsp;Mountain. &nbsp;The ceremony &nbsp;was beautiful and very moving with the testimony of &nbsp;Hope children Marco Aurelio and Natanial.</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">In my perception the Governor will commit himself much more to the cause of children as a result of his time tonight at&nbsp;Hope&nbsp;Mountain.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">Clovis</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">&nbsp;was an excellent Master of Ceremonies, and all of the staff and children at&nbsp;&nbsp;Hope&nbsp;Mountain&nbsp;were very happy.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">In short, it was a party! &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">I was touched and thrilled to see those children vibrating with excitement with all that was happening. &nbsp;I spoke to some children and could tell how happy they were.</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';">Marilza</span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial Narrow';"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; margin-top: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 16 May 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/35840-espirito-santo-governor-visits-hope-mountain https://internationalministries.org/read/35840-espirito-santo-governor-visits-hope-mountain God’s Hand Visible in Vitoria <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica; color: rgb(107, 109, 103);">ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME; LET ANGELS PROSTRATE FALL!&nbsp;<br><br>Today we report some extraordinarily good news from Vitoria. A few weeks ago we began a conversation of how we would share the devastating news that we were closing Hope Mountain. Ongoing economic challenges in the United States coupled with lack of local funding support had made this difficult decision inevitable. On February 12th, the Board of Directors of Hope Unlimited voted to close Hope Mountain unless provision could be found to take the financial responsibility for the facility and program. Absent alternative funding, operations would cease by May 1st, meaning that all employees would have to receive termination notices by Friday, April 15.&nbsp;<br><br>On Friday, April 15th, Hope leadership met with the Vice-Governor of Espirito Santo, and, as our final decision deadline was literally minutes away, he made this three-part proposal:&nbsp;<br><br>1. For the next four months the state will fully fund Hope Mountain at R$60,000, a figure $10,000 above what we are currently investing there.&nbsp;<br>2. After this initial “emergency” period, Hope and the government, along with state business concerns, would work to develop a model whereby the state and local businesses would pay 2/3 of the operational costs and Hope would cover 1/3 of the costs.<br>3. Hope Unlimited will prepare for the Vice-Governor a proposal to operate a fully state funded correctional facility for children using the transformational model in place at Hope Mountain. Already aware of the Organization of American States condemnation of Brazil because of prison conditions for children, we had heard something like this might be coming, so it did not catch us totally by surprise. In fact, we had already been in contact with Ron Nikkel of Prison Fellowship International about a partnership in such a project.&nbsp;<br><br>With a slight modification or two, we accepted the proposal and the Vice-Governor announced, “It is concluded.”&nbsp;<br><br>We had known 5:00 on Friday was the final deadline a decision could be made. It was then just a few minutes after 5:00.&nbsp;<br><br>We had the great privilege of watching the Hand of God directly intervene in the work of His people. The details of this extraordinary week can be read in a letter sent to Hope’s Board which tells the full story of those remarkable days. You can access the letter at: http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101812517372-142/Board+letter.pdf&nbsp;&nbsp;</span> Sun, 08 May 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/35600-god-s-hand-visible-in-vitoria https://internationalministries.org/read/35600-god-s-hand-visible-in-vitoria Marcelo José’s Story <p><span>&nbsp;Ricardo, who works in our graduate department, received this testimony from Marcelo José. &nbsp; It is a story with ups and downs, but certainly a testimony to the fruit that came from the work God is doing at the City of Youth. &nbsp;Despite the difficulties, this young man found victory in Jesus!</span></p><p><br></p><p><span>I was born with heart problems and&nbsp;was admitted to the hospital, where I was abandoned by my mother while I was still an infant.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>Life continued on, and I eventually got in trouble and was sent to a juvenile detention center where I stayed until I was 11.&nbsp; My mother, along with a friend, found me and got me out of the detention center and took me to live with her.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I thought it a bit strange.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>After a while, she moved in with a guy who was a drug trafficker and involved in robbery.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>I wound up getting involved with the wrong things – armed robbery and such.<span>&nbsp;</span>But after a while, I started to fight with my stepfather and went to live on the streets, where I would steal food and sleep on cardboard.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Sometimes the police would show up in the middle of the night and throw water on me.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I wasn’t considered a human being.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I didn’t shower or cut my hair, and I ate food from the trash.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I was on the streets until I was 15, when a man named Sergio came to talk to me, offering to take me to an institution.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I didn’t go because I was afraid.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I thought he would take me back to the Detention Center, where I had suffered much.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The next day, he came back and took me to get a haircut and take a shower.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>He sent me to a judge, and I became scared again.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>He saw my situation and asked me if I wanted to get off the streets.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I said yes, and began to sob because I couldn’t handle the life I was living anymore, and my biggest dream was to have a family.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>I was sent to the City of Youth, where I arrived very happy to have left the streets and gone to live with other boys from the same situation I had come from.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I did many vocational courses – electric, wood shop, etc.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>As time passed, I began to get in trouble with the hall monitors and instructors.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I wasn’t obeying and would fight with everyone.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I was taken to Pastor Uelide´s office, where he tried to speak with me, but I didn’t change my behavior.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>In fact, it got even worse and I almost had to leave the City of Youth.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Sergio was notified, and he asked the pastor to hold on a little longer.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Uncle Philip came to talk with me, and took me to play basketball.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>As we played, he talked a lot with me.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>He hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and said that he liked me, and I needed to change my life.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I had never before received a hug or a kiss, and for the first time I felt the love of a father.</span></p><p><span>I finished the program at the City of Youth and returned to live with my mother.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I continued going to church, but after I lost my job, my mom began to yell at me.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I had to move out of the house, and with the help of some brothers from the Church, I was able to find another job.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I went to live in one room, and worked as a lab assistant at the local university (UNICAMP).<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I took a course on Pathological Anatomy.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I worked for six years at the university before finding another job as a production assistant.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>At that time, I got involved with the wrong people and started to use drugs and alcohol.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>Around the same time, I met Viviane and we began to date – against the will of her parents and friends.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>But even so, we got married.<span> </span>At the beginning, our marriage was very difficult.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>We went through many trials, and I began to miss God.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>So I returned to church.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>At first, my wife Viviane wouldn’t go with me, but she later began attending.</span></p><p><span>At a certain time, I became very distressed, because we didn’t have a place to live.<span>&nbsp;</span>That’s when we began to pray together, and God blessed us with a house from a government housing program.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>Today, thanks to God, I am well.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>My dream of having a family has come true.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I have two sons, David and Jonathan.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I attend church and am currently working as an assistant electrician.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I am taking an electro-technician course, and in the future want to do electrical engineering.<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span>I thank God for placing me at the City of Youth.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>I don’t have any way to give back for such a huge blessing, but I am always praying for Hope Unlimited.&nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/35495-marcelo-jos%C3%A9-s-story https://internationalministries.org/read/35495-marcelo-jos%C3%A9-s-story 16 Youth Baptized! Last Sunday, all of the boys and girls from the City of Youth and Hope Ranch loaded up in buses to attend service at the graduate church. &nbsp;But it wasn't just a normal service; it was a baptism service. &nbsp;And praise God, 16 young people were baptized that night! &nbsp;Below are the names of the young men and women who proclaimed to everyone who could see that they have died with Christ and risen again to new life:&nbsp;<div><br></div><div> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b style=""><span style="">From the City of Youth:</span></b></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">1.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Alexandre Piccolo</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Alexandre has been seeking the things of God more and more, and continues to improve what was one day just a dream: playing guitar. &nbsp;He has been a great blessing in the worship team.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">2.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Leandro Campos</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Alexandre's "partner in crime," including composing some very Spirit-inspired worship songs together, has been seeking the Lord more and more.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">3.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">João Fabiano</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Has been at the City of Youth for a short time, but since he arrived has spent a lot of time with another student, Elton (who dreams of one day being a pastor) - the two have spent much time at night praying and reading the Bible.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">4.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">William</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">– Has truly responded to God’s love, as he dedicates himself to seeking the Lord. &nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">5.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Rodrigo Melo</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Rodrigo has been impacted by God through his brother Leandro's testimony, and has a great desire to be closer and closer to God.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">6.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">David Ademir</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- (Ran away in June 2008 after being at Hope for 4 months. &nbsp;Returned in May 2010) &nbsp;Since he returned to the City of Youth, David began to understand that God has a plan for his life. &nbsp;He has matured a lot and been reading the Word of God often.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">7.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Tatiana Alana</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Tatiana has grown a lot in her life with God, and has the desire to share her testimony with everyone around her! </span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">8.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Ana Caroline</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">– Has experienced much spiritual growth as peers and adults have come around her to minister to her. <span style="">&nbsp;</span></span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">9.<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Mariana Benvindo</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Mariana has been insatiably thirsty for the presence of God. &nbsp;She is part of our worship team and has been a great blessing.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">10.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Gabriela Rodrigues</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Has grown a lot spiritually and has the desire to one day be a missionary. &nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">11.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Larissa Resta</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Has been spending a lot of time in the Word of God.&nbsp;</span><span style=""></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">12.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b style=""><span style="">Juliana</span></b><b style=""><span style="">&nbsp;</span></b><span style="">- Juliana is constantly seeking the Word of God and has grown a lot spiritually as a result</span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><br></span></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><b>From New Hope graduate church:</b></p><p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><br></span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">13.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b><span style="">Jorge</span></b><span style=""> - Has been very hungry for God and has helped Pastor Derli greatly with the sound and maintenance at the church. &nbsp;He is married to graduate Joyce Daniele. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">14.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b><span style="">Karen</span></b><span style="">&nbsp;- She left the City of Youth to return to her family (we "discharged" her) but continues to attend the graduate church and has a great relationship with the young people there.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">15.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b><span style="">Iara</span></b><span style="">&nbsp;- she is in our upcoming graduating class. &nbsp;She has grown a lot spiritually ever since the day she went with the church to evangelize in the favela.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: .75in; text-indent: -.25in;"><span style=""><span style="">16.<span style=""> </span></span></span><b><span style="">Donizete</span></b><span style="">&nbsp;- This young man is from the neighborhood where the graduate church is located and was rescued from drugs. &nbsp;He is a friend of Jonatas and Damiana, caretakers of the church. &nbsp;</span></p> </div> Sun, 17 Apr 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/35055-16-youth-baptized- https://internationalministries.org/read/35055-16-youth-baptized- New Hope for a Young Man <div style="font-family: Helvetica;">Doni lives on the same street as the graduate church, New Hope Evangelical Community. &nbsp;For years, he has been lost in the world of drugs. &nbsp;He would often say he wanted out, wanted to get clean. &nbsp;But nothing ever happened. &nbsp;His parents passed away some time ago, and his siblings had given up him already. &nbsp;As far as they were concerned, there was no hope for Doni - he would always be addicted and enslaved to drugs. &nbsp;Tired of hearing him say he wanted to change but seeing no fruit, his siblings would often call Pastor Derli and Denise, hoping they would take him off their hands. &nbsp;Many times, Doni called them directly, telling them he wanted to get clean. &nbsp;They were able to admit him to a rehabilitation house last year, but he didn't finish the program and returned to his life of drugs. &nbsp;Not long after, he had hit rock bottom, and called Pastor Derli for the last time. &nbsp;"I need to go to rehab. &nbsp;I've made my decision. &nbsp;I am determined." &nbsp; He finished out the program, and due to his good behavior he was even appointed as the house monitor for the last month of his stay. &nbsp;Yesterday, March 20, 2011, he gave his testimony at the New Hope graduate church, just one week after leaving rehab. &nbsp;He shared that the place that he used drugs for the very first time was the same place he met Jesus. &nbsp;He sang many worship songs, and is so happy to be a part of the congregation. &nbsp;</div><div style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Helvetica;"><br></div><div style="font-family: Helvetica;"><div>Doni is one of the first fruits since the graduate church moved to their new building. &nbsp;Jonatas, husband of Hope graduate Damiana, lives at the church and is a very active part of the congregation. &nbsp;Jonatas and Doni have been friends for a very long time. &nbsp;Before Jonatas came to the Lord, the two used drugs together. &nbsp;Today they praise God together, and we believe that they will be used in great ways in the evangelization of the neighborhood, where many of their friends continue as slaves to their addictions. &nbsp;New Hope has arrived in that neighborhood, and we pray that it spreads like wildfire!&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>(Doni is wearing a white shirt in the photo. &nbsp;He is approximately 22 years old. &nbsp;Please excuse the poor quality of the photo - the only camera available at service last night was a phone camera!)</div></div> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/34089-new-hope-for-a-young-man https://internationalministries.org/read/34089-new-hope-for-a-young-man A Long, Difficult Road Pastor Derli wrote last week, telling of the great difficulty they are currently having with the dirt road that leads to the City of Youth: &nbsp;<div><br></div><div> <p style="margin-bottom: 12.0pt;"><i><span style="font-family: Helvetica; color: #6C6D67;">We ask for prayer that action would be taken to improve the dirt road that leads to the City of Youth. Year after year, we have had problems with this road. In the past, armed assaults were the biggest problem, but thankfully, the assaults have decreased greatly. Our great challenge now is the condition of the road when it rains. This month, many of our staff have often been unable to make it to the City of Youth, as the staff bus gets stuck driving down the dirt road and is unable to arrive on campus. Classes have had to be canceled, and many staff members have returned home for the day. For years, we have sent countless letters and petitions to the authorities asking for improvement on this road, but to no avail. Let's join together in prayer that something would finally be accomplished.</span></i></p><p style="margin-bottom: 12.0pt;"><i><span style="font-family: Helvetica; color: #6C6D67;"><br></span></i></p><p style="margin-bottom: 12.0pt;"><i><span style="font-family: Helvetica; color: #6C6D67;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Times; font-style: normal;">Please join us in praying that a miracle would happen on this long, difficult road!</span></span></i></p> </div> Sun, 13 Mar 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/33664-a-long-difficult-road https://internationalministries.org/read/33664-a-long-difficult-road A Reason to Smile <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Luciano is 14 years old, and has been at the City of Youth since May 2010.<span>&nbsp; </span>When he arrived, we noticed he was missing a few front teeth.<span>&nbsp; </span>We later discovered the story behind the missing teeth:<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Luciano had been in a bicycle accident where something had entered his mouth and damaged his front teeth.<span>&nbsp; </span>Although they were still in tact, he suffered much pain.<span>&nbsp; </span>He began sucking on cough drops and candy, hoping to dull the pain, but the sugar only worsened the problem.<span>&nbsp; </span>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.<span>&nbsp; </span>The pain decreased as a result, but ridicule replaced it.<span>&nbsp; </span>He was often the brunt of jokes because of his missing front teeth.<span>&nbsp; </span>When he arrived at Hope, we immediately began investigating to find out what we could do to help him.<span>&nbsp; </span>On February 15, Luciano received new – although temporary – teeth!<span>&nbsp; </span>He wears braces now, which keep his teeth in place.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>When he is an adult he will be able to get permanent implants.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">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.<span>&nbsp; </span>We were interrupted by Luciano who came up, timid yet beaming with joy, to show Luciana his new teeth!<span>&nbsp; </span>He has been making the rounds this last week, showing his instructors, house parents, and friends his beautiful new smile.<span>&nbsp; </span>We are excited and humbled by the opportunity to be used to make a difference in Luciano’s life.<span>&nbsp; </span>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.<span>&nbsp; </span>The seed of the Gospel has already been planted in his life, and we look forward to see it bear fruit.<span>&nbsp; </span>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.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 01 Mar 2011 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/33273-a-reason-to-smile https://internationalministries.org/read/33273-a-reason-to-smile Hope 2010 Graduation! <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">We celebrated a beautiful graduation last Saturday! &nbsp;Every student completing one of the vocational training courses received a certificate from their instructor, but the most important participants were those celebrated for completing the program all the way.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Among the graduates were a few slightly older students who, for one reason or another, had never walked in cap and gown and been publically recognized. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">The ceremony was held at the graduate church, which was way too small and way too hot for the Saturday mid-morning event, but everybody would have felt warm even if it had been below zero.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">I am attaching some photos, the next best thing to actually being there.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">Blessings,</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">Philip</span></p> Sun, 19 Dec 2010 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/30410-hope-2010-graduation- https://internationalministries.org/read/30410-hope-2010-graduation- Important News About the Smiths <p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">This is a mostly a personal note, &nbsp;but affects me professionally, regarding a matter I discussed and received affirmation on some weeks ago with David Nowell, Roger Stoesz, Burt McDowell, and board members living in New Jersey. &nbsp;After 20 years in Brazil, I have decided, for a period of one year, to move the Smith family to New Jersey.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">During this year I will continue my regular oversight duties in&nbsp;Brazil&nbsp;by Skype and e-mail, as well as commuting once or twice a month from the east coast depending on the need. United Pilot &amp; IBA member, Marc Isabelle, flies to&nbsp;Brazil&nbsp;and I can travel with him&nbsp;<span style="color: navy;">very inexpensively&nbsp;</span>on employee passes.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The reasons for this decision are numerous, but 80% because of the first item below. The other factors merely served as confirmations.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Marc’s Education:</span></b>&nbsp; Our son Marc has demonstrated some special educational needs, not available in&nbsp;Brazil. &nbsp;Because of &nbsp;his excitability and distraction issues, he is falling behind in the first grade, and we need to get him up to speed before the other kids start to notice and he develops a poor self image.&nbsp; In&nbsp;Brazil, therapies and tutoring he needs are not available in English, and are exorbitantly expensive when they are.</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We have friends in the&nbsp;New Jersey&nbsp;educational system, including former City of&nbsp;Youth&nbsp;director Lillian, who have helped us navigate the system to ensure Marc can get specialized care within the public school system. &nbsp;Corenne recently met with the folks there and left impressed.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Why&nbsp;New Jersey?</span></b>&nbsp;Travel back to&nbsp;Brazil will be easy, and the time zones are similar. We have more connections in NJ than just about anywhere, due to the scores of people who have visited the City of&nbsp;Youth&nbsp;over the past decade, mainly from Marc Isabelle’s church (Princeton Alliance), as well as through Rotary. &nbsp;Princeton Alliance will be a great church family to be a part of. &nbsp;Finally, we experienced somewhat of a miracle involving Marc’s schooling options, as I will describe.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">When did the decision come about?</span></b>&nbsp;I began to explore the possibilities quite suddenly and unexpectedly when I was in NJ last September.&nbsp; We had gone through a horrendous 4 months in&nbsp;Brazil&nbsp;with our apartment under refurbishment by the owners (with us living in it) and seemingly demon possessed appliances which went from bad to worse after every repair. We had a broken washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, water heater, air conditioner, ceiling fan, toilet, and most of our sockets and light switches – all at the same time.</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">In September, I was in&nbsp;New Jersey&nbsp;when Corenne called to tell me both cars had broken down. While on the phone, the coffee pot broke. Topping it off, she had just plugged the replacement dishwasher bought from our thrift store into what turns out was a 220v socket (thanks to our last electrician).&nbsp; For its last hurrah, at least the dishes inside were nicely heat sterilized. Right then and there, at Marc Isabelle’s breakfast table, I thought, “maybe the family needs a break.” &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; text-indent: 0.5in; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">I suddenly remembered Steve Mayer, the team leader on the last trip from Princeton Alliance to the City of&nbsp;Youth. (He was the guy who put the roof on Susanna’s house in the slum, and preached about the woman at the well).&nbsp; Steve just happened to be the District Supervisor for the local school district! &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">After breakfast I drove out to see him – and that sealed the deal. Robbinsville has the top schools in the state – and only with the help of the district leadership could we get Marc admitted on short notice into the special education programs. &nbsp;We had actually considered short-terming in the&nbsp;US&nbsp;before, but getting Marc admitted to the right programs was going to take up to 6 months. &nbsp;On the way to see Steve, I called Corenne to tell her what I was thinking – and she was ready.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Practicality:</span></b>&nbsp;Corenne has some furniture and stuff in storage in nearby Pennsylvania, where she lived before we married, including toys from her childhood which all her life she longed for her own daughter to play with one day…but it was not feasible to bring them to Brazil. So this will work out well.</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">If we live outside&nbsp;Brazil&nbsp;for one year, we can return with all our possessions. &nbsp;So we will dispose of everything we have in&nbsp;Brazil, worth almost nothing in its current state, but which we can’t&nbsp; afford to replace there &nbsp;($3,000 for a decent refrigerator; $1,500 for a decent stove).&nbsp; With the extraordinarily high cost of living in&nbsp;Brazil&nbsp;as Westerners, combined with the cost of Marc’s school, there is zero financial wiggle room for replacing this stuff. &nbsp;&nbsp;In the States, we can purchase good used appliances and furniture and start over when we go back.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We plan to use the time to bring&nbsp;Brazil&nbsp;leadership staff members to the states for a week or two, to share our blessing and give them a break, while we take advantage of the opportunity to scheme and talk shop. We may also strategically host other prominent Brazilians or their children. We are aiming for an extra bedroom and 7-seat vehicle to accommodate this.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Timing:</span></b>&nbsp;Marc’s school in the&nbsp;US&nbsp;would start Jan 3, 2011, so we would think of spending Christmas with the Hope kids and traveling to the&nbsp;US&nbsp;between Christmas and New Year, returning around this same time next year. We do not want our stay in the&nbsp;US&nbsp;to be longer, because we value&nbsp;<span style="color: navy;">having&nbsp;</span>bi-lingual and bi-culture kids, and don’t want them to lose their Portuguese<span style="color: navy;">. We also&nbsp;</span>value being on the ground, close to the Hope children, which keeps my passion and energy up. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Final Confirmations:&nbsp;</span></b>A few weeks ago, our bathtub caught on fire -- with Isabella in it. It was an electrical fire involving some long-deactivated whirlpool jets underneath the tub.&nbsp; The fuses did not pop. &nbsp;The hall fire extinguisher did not work.&nbsp; This episode was a final confirmation that we were doing the right thing.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Yet another confirmation came a couple weeks ago, when I received an invitation to deliver the main message at three services at Princeton Alliance on the weekend of Jan 15. &nbsp;This could be a great way to introduce the Hope ministry to new folks as we prepare to spend a year in the area.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">David is enthusiastic about having me available to him for a year in the&nbsp;US. He has already been making strong connections in&nbsp;California, so I can focus on the Northeast, connecting with churches around there.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Concluding: </span></b>Minor challenges face us, which we will have to deal with on short timing, as work and other responsibilities preclude completely focusing on this until mid-December. We will need to find a suitable house to rent (not easy in the hotly disputed school district), vehicles, and household furnishings. And I hope for a miracle with loaned office space somewhere, perhaps within a neighborhood church. &nbsp;But, as long as Marc gets into school Jan 3, it will all be good, even if we are using sleeping bags and a camp stove. &nbsp;Folks from the Princeton Alliance Church have already come forward with offers for help through the church’s community outreach ministry.</p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Mainly, it will be good to connect with so many folks in the&nbsp;US&nbsp;that we have not seen in a long time, due to difficulties of traveling internationally with the baby. &nbsp;We hope to do some serious traveling over long weekends while we are there to get caught up.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Blessings! &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Philip, for the Smiths</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 16 Dec 2010 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/30256-important-news-about-the-smiths https://internationalministries.org/read/30256-important-news-about-the-smiths Giving Back: Jardelio and Natalia <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">I was at Hope Mountain the other week. As always it was fun to see Jardelio and Natalia. Both are Hope Graduates, and came back to work for us as house parents in both Vitoria and then Campinas.</p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="">&nbsp;</span>In June, Pr. Derli asked Jardelio to return to Vitoria as Residential Coordinator, hiring and overseeing all the house parents. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>We were badly in need of experienced leadership there, as we had lost most of our senior house parents when forced to cut back to only 20 children last year (from whom remained, our existing coordinator left for a prestigious job heading up the Children’s Council in his native city; Jardelio moved to Campinas at his wife’s request, and our final experienced house parent had<span style="">&nbsp; </span>moved to the graduate transition home). &nbsp;<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Jardelio was a transformational addition to the program.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Besides his tough-love discipline, he arranges all kinds of fun activities for the boys on the weekends, and involves them in theater and music. (Having been a student at the City of Youth for 7 years, he knows what to do!)</p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Last week when I visited, he and Natalia put on a skit for Wednesday chapel.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>In the photo, Jardelio portrays a lost individual seeking pleasure with partying, alcohol, drugs, and loose women (as portrayed by Natalia). <span style="">&nbsp;</span>In reality, Natalia is much less loose and heads up Hope Mountain’s discipleship program, filling the role of chaplain. <span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Jardelio and Natalia, together with Hope graduate Alex and his wife, make for a formidable team up on that mountain top!<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> Mon, 08 Nov 2010 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/29087-giving-back-jardelio-and-natalia https://internationalministries.org/read/29087-giving-back-jardelio-and-natalia A Surprise Visit <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">I recently received a surprise visit in Campinas from Golbery.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>In 2000 he had transferred to Hope Mountain from the City of Youth, going to serve as a “Junior Monitor” and help establish a positive youth culture to help welcome and embrace our new incoming kids. He completed the Hope program there. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Golbery visited with his wife of four years Diane, a hairdresser with her own salon who learned her profession as a day student at Hope Mountain. Golbery wanted to show Diane the home he grew up in, the City of Youth. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Golbery was “sentenced” to Hope at age 12 (below the legal age of incarceration), after participating in a bus robbery in which the driver was killed.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Initially a tough kid, during his second year he gave his life to Christ. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">A couple years after Golbery graduated from Hope, he came back to work for us as our bus driver. When he met <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Diane, he invited her to church, and they started dating. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>They married two years later and today are faithful members of a local congregation. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Today, Golbery has a responsible job driving a repair truck, which he takes home, and is on call performing emergency repairs of some nature for a private company. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">In 1998 Golbery’s brother Paulo was murdered by traffickers. However, his other brothers, Adelson and Tercius, later had the chance to come to the City of Youth. Both brothers are <span style="">&nbsp;</span>doing very well. Adelson has been with a trucking company for two years, and Tercius jets around Brazil doing maintenance on some kind of specialized equipment.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 01 Nov 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/28720-a-surprise-visit https://internationalministries.org/read/28720-a-surprise-visit A Big Milestone in Thayan’s Life <p>A few Saturdays ago marked a big milestone in Thayan’s life: he graduated from law school and walked the aisle in cap and gown! <span style="">&nbsp;</span>(Thayan is the brother of Nayana, currently studying in South Carolina.). <span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Thayan concluded law school in April, but did not walk the aisle until just a few weeks ago. </p> <p>Meanwhile, he had been preparing for the Brazilian BAR exam, via a special prep course. He took the BAR on Sunday, Sep 26. </p> <p><span style="">&nbsp;</span>We doubt he will pass the first time (hard even for our rich friends from expensive schools), but pray for a miracle, or that he at least learns a lot for a future attempt! </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Thayan is married to Hope Graduate Aline. Together they have a BEAUTIFUL baby daughter named Evelyn. Thayan is on the leadership team at his church, Central Presbyterian, and very close to the Pastor there. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Thayan works as a legal aid at the federal courthouse, which he loves, having been promoted from the municipal and then state courts. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>He plans to run for City Council in 2012. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>I think he stands a chance.&nbsp;</p> Sun, 17 Oct 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/27749-a-big-milestone-in-thayan-s-life https://internationalministries.org/read/27749-a-big-milestone-in-thayan-s-life Clayton’s Good News <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Before Clayton ran away from home, his mother would beat his head against the wall when he did not bring home enough money from selling candy.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">He came to us in 1994, at age 12. Clayton loved the electrical course, and dreamed of becoming an electrical engineer. After graduating from Hope, he enrolled in technical courses at night (after work). He eventually got into a full-fledged engineering night school. Last December, after 10 years of studying while working full time, Clayton finally earned his engineering degree (!) <span style="">&nbsp;</span><span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Since then, he worked two jobs as an “engineer” but the jobs really involved general warehouse maintenance and mediocre pay – not real engineer stuff, and kind of a disappointment after his decade of sacrifice. <span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Meanwhile, Clayton submitted his application all over town. Toyota interviewed him, and then called him back an astonishing 6 times for increasingly in-depth interviews and aptitude testing. <span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Last week Clayton got a call from Toyota’s HR department: <b style="">he got the job!</b> <span style="">&nbsp;</span>His starting pay is six thousand a month, plus full benefits!<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">That is many times over what a house parent at Hope makes. And, a comfortable company bus will pick him up at his home every day to take him to work. </p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Clayton’s wife, Derlania, teaches Sunday School at their church. Late last year, she gave birth to their beautiful daughter, Nicole (who screams in terror every time she sees me…maybe it is the prickly beard). <span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">Clayton already owns his own home, so the income from this job will allow him to provide very comfortably indeed for his family.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;">What an incredible return on our investment!</p> Mon, 27 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/26391-clayton-s-good-news https://internationalministries.org/read/26391-clayton-s-good-news Reflections from a volunteer <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><b><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt; FONT-WEIGHT: bold;">Barbara Soares is a 25 year old Brazilian woman, who works as a teacher in New Jersey. She wrote some reflections from her recent trip to Brazil, and I wanted to share them with you. The effect of this ministry on visitors is a very important part of our story!</span></b></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><b><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt; FONT-WEIGHT: bold;"></span></b>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">Last summer I visited the City of Youth in Brazil with a team from a neighborhood church.&nbsp; I was neither a Christian nor a member of the church, but they asked me to go along and help with translation because although I grew up in New Jersey, my parents are Brazilian and I understand Portuguese.</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">My time at the City of Youth was amazing, and the testimony of the children, infectious. On my last night there, I accepted Christ! &nbsp;My life has completely changed since then.&nbsp;I was Baptized this past Easter, and this step in faith has encouraged me to seek different ways to honor God. I feel grateful for a renewed life, for forgiveness, for grace, and for His unconditional love.</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">I desperately wanted to come back to visit the City of Youth, where I begin my Christian walk. Philip and Pastor Derli gave me the opportunity to volunteer during my Spring break and stay at the Girls Ranch.</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">While I was at Hope, in one of the chapel services, Pastor William asked the children, “How many of you have a prayer partner?” A few kids raised their hands.&nbsp; “How many of you would like one?”&nbsp; Every hand rose instantly.&nbsp; Without hesitation, he instructed the congregation to find a partner to pray with. &nbsp;I watched children race throughout the room to put their arms around friends, house parents, siblings, and even me.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">Together, hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, shoulder-to-shoulder, we prayed. Tears of joy and hope streamed down my face, tears of gratitude that God had saved and given each one of us another chance at life. &nbsp;&nbsp;Pastor William prayed for us to forgive those who have hurt us, to let go of the past, and to put trust in our God. Then he invited us to kneel, and with heads bowed and eyes closed, as friends, we poured our hearts out to God through song and prayer.</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">At that moment, I realized that transformation doesn’t happen alone – which is why I wanted to return to the City of Youth. &nbsp;We experience the full expression of hope, love, and forgiveness when we learn to live and depend on one another as Christians, and trust that we are not alone on our journeys. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">I am so grateful for my time at the City of Youth, hearing of Christ’s love and learning these important lessons for myself – and slightly envious of the children, who are able to experience this as teenagers. I had to wait until I was 25 before coming to the City of Youth.</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0pt;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma; FONT-SIZE: 11pt;">Barbara Soares</span></p> <p style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica;"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <div><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 14px; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"><br></span></div> Sun, 19 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25931-reflections-from-a-volunteer https://internationalministries.org/read/25931-reflections-from-a-volunteer Greater Things Are Yet to Come <span class="Apple-style-span" style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica;"> <p class="yiv2042744479"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Attached are some pictures of our first baptism in the newly refurbished graduate church sanctuary. It has been an ever-increasing blessing.</span></p> <p class="yiv2042744479"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">The story below describes our recent refurbishment and re-dedication of the facility, in partnership with the Princeton Alliance Church.</span></p> <p class="yiv2042744479"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">A tiny excerpt from this appeared in our recent newsletter, but I hated to discard the full version which provides a detailed history and overview of this critical chapter in the story of Hope Unlimited.</span></p> <p class="yiv2042744479"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="FONT-SIZE: 13px;"><br></span></p> <p class="yiv2042744479"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="FONT-SIZE: 13px;"> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center;"><b>Graduate Worship Facility</b></p> <p style="TEXT-ALIGN: center;"><b><i>Complete Narrative, Background and Inauguration</i></b></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">One Friday morning in February of 2004, Pastor Derli and I were discussing our dream of having a place where we could meet and worship with the graduates on the weekends. Suddenly I had a crazy thought:<span>&nbsp; </span>around the corner from our downtown office was a church. What if they would rent a Sunday school room for us to use?<span>&nbsp; </span>(Churches in Brazil congregate Sunday evening, so their sanctuary was not being used Sunday mornings).<span>&nbsp; </span>We decided to drop by and meet with the pastor that very afternoon. It was a crazy impulse, but at least it would get the train moving down the tracks. <span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">Pastor Kelson was extraordinarily accommodating. On hearing about our mission and desire to rent a Sunday school room, he said<span>&nbsp; </span>“We are partners in Kingdom work!<span>&nbsp; </span>You don’t have to rent from us. We have a Sunday School room with a side street entrance. Use it this Sunday if you like! Here is the key! Our facility is yours.”<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>It was an amazing act from somebody whom we had never met before. He actually handed two complete strangers the keys to his church. (Pastor Kelson is now a member of the Board of Directors of Hope Brazil). </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">Pastor Derli and I decided to hold our first graduate worship service that very Sunday. We got on the phone the next day and called as many graduates as we could, and on Sunday, the day, worshipped with a group of about 15 graduates. (Of the original group pictured, 7 are now married, half of those to other Hope graduates).<span>&nbsp; </span><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">But Pastor Derli had a dream of a facility where he could plan activities for the graduates all weekend, centered around sports for the boys, with a playground and nursery for the kids, and a place for the girls to practice dance and choreography.<span>&nbsp; </span><span>&nbsp;</span>This would be a place where graduates could bring their friends and their dates, to get them plugged into church in a non-threatening manner. </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">In 2009, Pastor Derli found the perfect place, near to where many of the graduates lived. It was a covered gymnasium with a full size indoor football court and bleachers.<span>&nbsp; </span>It had dressing rooms for boys and girls, and a small cafeteria and canteen. They facility had been built to rent out for neighborhood sports competitions but had fallen into disrepair. . The rent was $1200 dollars a month. <span>&nbsp;</span>Pastor Derli met with the graduates and prayed about it, and they decided to rent the facility. </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;"><span>&nbsp;</span>Hope Unlimited was in tough spot financially given the stagnant US economy, and any “expansion” was out of the question. To the contrary, we really had to tighten our belts. However, the graduate church was already completely run and self-supported with tithing from the graduates – so even as Hope’s CEO, I had no say in the manner whatsoever! <span>&nbsp;</span>In fact, Pastor Derli’s vision had always been for the graduate church to financially support the City of Youth, and they had done so faithfully since the church’s founding.</p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">Pastor Derli and the graduates named the facility “Redge Espaco Esperanca,” or (badly translated), “Hope Space Network.”<span>&nbsp; </span>The logo is a fishing net, because in Portuguese the word “redge” <span>&nbsp;</span>can mean a computer network, social network, or fishing net.<span>&nbsp; </span>The play on words gives the impression of cutting-edge with the computer connotation, combined with the Christian connotation of casting our nets to fish for men. <span>&nbsp;</span>Finally, the “social<span>&nbsp; </span>network” aspect is comprised of seven inter-related ministries,<span>&nbsp; </span>each headed up by a mature graduate couple or in a couple cases an adult volunteer. The ministries are Leadership, Music, Sports, Discipleship, Children, Evangelism, and Community Outreach. <span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">The first services at the new facility were held in June of 2009, in the somewhat dreary gymnasium. Unfortunately, the echo was very bad. The graduates decided to embark on a capital project to expand a room that had been used as a dance studio for the worship services. <span>&nbsp;</span>We had a vision for a “hip” sanctuary that would appeal to the young crowd, along the lines of “café” services in the US, but we did not know how to design what we wanted because there were no examples to copy from in Brazil.<span>&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">One of our partner churches, Princeton Alliance in New Jersey, offered to send down a team to design the new sanctuary. They also offered to supply the sophisticated lighting and sound equipment with church planting funds that would not have been available to the City of Youth’s general budget, so was not competing with Hope’s revenue stream. <span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">The Princeton team boarded the airplane carrying all of the equipment with great trepidation, fearing possible confiscation or taxation from the customs police as they entered the country, because of the high duties imposed on imported goods. But God is good, and the immigration authorities wished the team luck and permitted them to bring everything in. </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">The Princeton team hit the ground running. The upcoming Saturday evening service was to be the official dedication service for the new facility. The team had one week to paint the murals and complete all the wiring and sound and light installations on the building before the grand opening. The work they did was amazing. It reminded me of the TV reality show called “Pimp your Ride” where specialists rebuild somebody’s jalopy overnight (though we resisted nicknaming the project “Pimp your Church.”)</p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">The inauguration service was standing room only. There were about 150 graduates present, some with their spouses and children. There were also visitors from churches in the community. The invited speaker for the evening was our good friend and board member Pastor Kelson, who had loaned us the space for our first graduate worship service back in 2004. </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">. <span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">There could not have been a better culmination to an amazing week. The sanctuary was beautiful and about as “hip” as we could hope for, and the drop-down screens on each side of the room put the sanctuary on a par with that of any youthful service in the USA.. <br><br>The evening was like a storybook ending, with no technical glitches. The lights were amazing and the sound filled the soul – and lifted mine, as we belted out <i>God in the City</i> with the refrain (which I sang with tears flowing and voice cracking, believing it to be true with all my soul), “Great things are going to happen in this place, great things are going to happen RIGHT HERE.” <span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">This is what one of the Princeton team members wrote upon returning home: </p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">“<i>The Love, Faith and Hope shown by the children, graduates, and staff was beyond words.&nbsp;The culmination of the&nbsp; team’s work during the week capped&nbsp;off by the Saturday night worship service in the new church&nbsp; was more than I could have asked for as a man trying to build my relationship with our&nbsp; Lord and savior. The song&nbsp;"God of the City”&nbsp; echoing out into the community was an experience I will never forget. <span>&nbsp;</span>Seeing the graduate church packed with believers from many communities, <span>&nbsp;</span>including my own, <span>&nbsp;</span>was a true glimpse of how God wants our world to exist”!</i></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;"><i></i>&nbsp;</p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">I do believe that great things are going to happen in that place – and are already happening.<span>&nbsp; </span>Two of the City of Youth’s most productive maintenance employees, George and Luis, are married to graduates from the Hope Girls Ranch. I was worried when Elaine and Damine married outside the faith, but both young men found Christ at the graduate<span>&nbsp; </span>church, and both are now on the leadership team: George runs the sound and light board, and Luis heads up Community Outreach and is preparing to become a pastor and enter ministry full time.. <span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="LINE-HEIGHT: 12pt;">However, the biggest contribution to the <i>Hope Space Network</i> ministry comes not from Luis or George, who controls the sanctuary lighting, but from their children, who light up the nursery with their smiles. And they are the ones all this is really all about.&nbsp;</p></span> <p></p></span> Sun, 12 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25654-greater-things-are-yet-to-come https://internationalministries.org/read/25654-greater-things-are-yet-to-come The Woman at the Well <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">A few weeks ago, I met a young woman named Susanna. &nbsp;Susanna is 27 years old and lives in the slum near our preschool. &nbsp;She was living with her four children, ages 6 to 12, in a plywood shack just big enough to cover their only bed.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">She&nbsp;shared her story: she was raped by her stepfather (the father of her oldest son Pedro) and<span>&nbsp;</span>ran away to another city with her mother, who took care of Susanna’s growing brood of kids while&nbsp;she lived in a brothel and worked as a prostitute.&nbsp;When her mother died three&nbsp;years ago, Susanna hooked up&nbsp;with a man who lived in the shack she now lives in. He had just moved in and taken it over after the previous owner was murdered by neighborhood drug thugs.&nbsp;The previous owner had&nbsp;been&nbsp;building a house behind the shack, but only the walls were up.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Unfortunately,&nbsp;Susanna’s boyfriend also&nbsp;got in trouble with&nbsp;traffickers&nbsp;and had to flee for his life, and has not been heard from in over a year. If he sets foot back in the neighborhood he will be killed. Meanwhile, the stalled construction behind her plywood shack was being used as a neighborhood trash heap, and occassionaly&nbsp;as the family&nbsp;bathroom (the family obviously has&nbsp;no bathroom in the&nbsp;hovel covering their bed, so&nbsp;uses buckets).</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Concerned for&nbsp;&nbsp;Susanna's&nbsp;precious&nbsp;children,&nbsp;I challenged&nbsp;a member of&nbsp;&nbsp;a visiting work team from&nbsp;Princeton, who knew some carpentry,&nbsp;to come out&nbsp;and put a roof on the house.&nbsp;For $350, Steve, on his credit card, bought the wood and roofing,&nbsp;and alongside our maintenance team had the&nbsp;roof up by the end of the next day. We then took up a collection of about $800&nbsp;to pay for local masons to put in a&nbsp;cement floor, toilet&nbsp;fixture, and sink, in addition to windows and a front door.&nbsp; We were able to hook up a sewage pipe to&nbsp;a neighbors&nbsp;system.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Finally,&nbsp;several members of the&nbsp;Princeton&nbsp;team&nbsp;(including three kids ages 9 to 15) spent an afternoon cleaning out&nbsp;all that garbage in and around the house, and we got a truck of dirt to fill in the grassy swamp in front of the house which her outside&nbsp;tank&nbsp;drainpipe emptied into.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">On that Sunday night, I translated for&nbsp;Steve (the same Steve who put the roof on the house)&nbsp;who had an invitation to preach at a church in the slum that Hope partnered with. &nbsp;We had invited Susanna, and she&nbsp;and her family went, all scrubbed up. Steve preached about the&nbsp;the woman at the well, who (first) was born in the wrong circumstances on the wrong side of town, and (second) had made bad decisions all&nbsp;her life, and was looked down on for having had five husbands.&nbsp;But none of that mattered to Jesus, who&nbsp;was waiting to forgive and embrace her.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">After the sermon I sat next to Susanna, and during a solo, she started to cry. Turning to me, she whispered "I am&nbsp;that women at the well."&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;At the end of the sermon, the pastor issued an alter call, and weeping&nbsp;Susanna came forward and asked Christ to become master of her life.&nbsp;<span>&nbsp;</span></span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">The next day, we went to talk to her more about her decision.&nbsp;She says she wants to give up&nbsp;"the&nbsp;life" and get a job. Our Ricardo who works with the Hope graduates met with her (many of our graduates&nbsp;are&nbsp;now&nbsp;Susanna's age,&nbsp; 27) and he offered to try to find her a job the following week. Susanna&nbsp;has some training as a cook, and we will try to place her at restaurant in town.</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">However, although Susanna&nbsp;gave her life to Christ,&nbsp;she informed us she would still need to work as a prostitute until the following Saturday, because she had a contract with the brothel and received a cash advance of about U$140 which she was to pay off by turning&nbsp;tricks at night. &nbsp;It seemed weird to me to have her accept Christ, but agree that she will not actually live a new life until a week later. &nbsp;So I asked for some help from another group who had been visiting and met Susanna. &nbsp;We were able to come up with the money to pay the debt, and Susanna was free! &nbsp;She paid off her debt and walked away, a free woman. &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">Susanna always has a smile on her face when I see her now. &nbsp;She and her children are living in the new home and look froward to knocking the plywood shack down soon. &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">Just as He did thousands of years ago, Jesus did it again: He met a woman at the well and offered her grace, hope, and salvation. &nbsp;And this is only the beginning of her story!</span></p><p style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 0in;"><br></p></span> Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/25481-the-woman-at-the-well https://internationalministries.org/read/25481-the-woman-at-the-well First Fruits at New Hope Graduate Church As our children grow up and graduate from our program, we try to make the process of return into society as gradual and gentle as possible. &nbsp;One huge resource we have to aid in this process is our graduate church: New Hope Evangelical Community. &nbsp;Approximately 95% of the congregation of 80 are Hope graduates. &nbsp;<div><br></div><div>In September of last year, the lease at the graduate church ended and the staff and congregation were faced with the challenge of finding a new place that fit their vision, goals, and (perhaps most impossibly) budget. &nbsp;Pastor Derli dreamed of a place large enough to offer an indoor space for sports, along with locker rooms and, of course, a sanctuary. &nbsp;He envisioned a place where his youthful congregation could spend the day in fellowship, clean up, and attend service all in one location. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>As the end of the lease was approaching, he commissioned the congregation to be praying for a new place. &nbsp;And he asked them a very important question: Why are we asking God for this new church building? &nbsp;What is our mission? &nbsp;As a church, they agreed that their mission would be to use the new building as an outreach, a tool to reach lost souls and change lives through the love of Christ. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Through a series of events, their prayer was answered and God provided exactly the place Pastor Derli had envisioned: a gymnasium that is used for volleyball, soccer, and basketball, space for locker rooms, a kitchen, and a sanctuary. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>At their very last service in the old building, Pastor Derli reminded them of their mission: to real lost souls and change lives through the love of Christ. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>This week, I received an email from Pastor Derli, a great testimony to God's faithfulness:&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><div><i>Good morning!</i></div><div><i><br></i></div><div><i>I am sending some pictures of Mr. Jose. &nbsp;He is the gentleman who was using drugs just on the other side of the wall at our church. &nbsp;On Friday, right before the inauguration of our newly renovated sanctuary, he came to the church saying he was ready to go to a rehabilitation house and that he wanted to change his lifestyle. &nbsp;I had tried before to take him, but he was never quite brave enough to go. &nbsp;So I had asked the church to pray over this, and God heard our prayers. &nbsp;Jose is very happy and thankful. &nbsp;He used to have long hair and a big beard. &nbsp;He left his family in Belem (northern Brazil) and came to try his luck in Sao Paulo, but when he arrived, with all the challenges and being alone, he gave in to the world of drugs. &nbsp;I agreed with him that if he is able to come out of the drugs and stay clean, we will help him return to his city and his family. &nbsp;May God help us and bless us in this project for his life.&nbsp;</i></div><div><i><br></i></div><div><i>Hugs,&nbsp;</i></div><div><i>Pr. Derli</i></div></span></div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>In the few short months that the church has been in their new building, this gentleman is the second the church has reached, saving them from a life of drugs through the love of Christ. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Many of our children and graduates came from this exact region of Campinas. &nbsp;The life Jose was living is the life they were headed toward. &nbsp;But by the hope that Christ gives, these children have been saved and transformed. &nbsp;And God is faithful - He is now using them to transform lives as their light shines in the darkness they were once saved from.&nbsp;</div> Sun, 09 May 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/21157-first-fruits-at-new-hope-graduate-church https://internationalministries.org/read/21157-first-fruits-at-new-hope-graduate-church Community of Hope Pre-school: Meet Natila <p>In a final story that I will share about our preschool children, teacher Adriana told of participating in a planning meeting with Ana, the program coordinator. “I have just been told that we will be receiving a girl with Downs Syndrome. Are we prepared for this?”</p> <p>Adriana said “We were all pretty scared. I prayed a two-part prayer: first, that I would not be assigned the child. Secondly, if I was, that God would prepare my heart to receive her.” Adriana had no experience with special needs children, and little desire to gain experience in the area. Later that day, looking at her list of students, her heart sank: Natila, the girl with Down’s Syndrome, was going to be in her class. </p> <p>On Natila’s first day, Adriana was deeply affected when Natila’s mother handed her daughter over to her. When Adriana inquired about any special care, the mother just said “No, Natila is a very sweet girl. She will not give you any trouble.” It was as if the mother could not admit to herself or anybody else that her daughter had any special needs, seeing only a perfect little girl. (Later Adriana discovered that Natila’s real mother had abandoned her when she saw her condition, and this lady had taken Natila in as her own). </p> <p>Over the next couple months, Adriana developed a growing fondness for Natila. She described how excited Natila gets over the smallest things, and of the special love and care Natila receives from her classmates, who even help her brush her teeth every day. When left alone, Natila sits and builds blocks by herself, and as it turns out, really is no trouble. When she gets mad at somebody, which is rare, Natila pouts “Bobinha. Bobinha.” which means “Fool. Fool.” </p> <p>Now, Adriana says, her former apprehension has been replaced with a new fear: how empty her classroom will feel next year, when Natila moves on to be with the older children. Looking back, she now realizes who the true “Bobinha” was: she herself, for imagining that Natila was anything other than a perfect little child.</p><p><br></p><p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-style: italic;">What impressed me the most in hearing all of the preschool staff sharing stories was how strong their faith is, and how much they depended upon the Lord in their daily routines. I have little doubt that their faith is planting seeds in the hearts of the children we serve. I like to imagine that at the end of every school day, we are sending 450 tiny little sparks out into the community….</span></p> Wed, 05 May 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/20970-community-of-hope-pre-school-meet-natila https://internationalministries.org/read/20970-community-of-hope-pre-school-meet-natila Community of Hope Pre-school: Meet Saulo <p>Teacher Tatiane told us a story about a very tough kid named Saulo. His mother would drag him into the classroom every morning, and dump him off in the corner like a sack of potatoes, boxing his ears of he protested. </p> <p>One morning, Tatiane greeted Saulo and his mother at the door saying “Happy Birthday, Saulo!” Saulo looked at her and said “What?? Today??!” His mother merely looked at them both and shrugged. </p> <p>One day, Saulo was particularly inattentive in class, and Tatiane asked, “If you don’t want to read, what do you want to do?” He responded, “I want to pee.” Whereupon, he stood up and proceeded to pee all over the floor. Later in the day, he repeated the same thing. This time, he was asked to help clean it up – whereupon he lay down in it, and then licked it, just to get a reaction. </p> <p>In the cafeteria, Saulo would throw food, and even eat the napkins. Some of the staff would say, only half jokingly, that he was possessed. One day he was so agitated that he was hitting everything and everybody in sight. In complete exasperation, Tatiane got down on her knees, put her hands over her heart, and started to pray. Shocked, Saulo stopped what he was doing and stared at her. Suddenly a little girl, watching all of this, ran up to Tatiane and said, “Teacher, you need to pray for him ALL the time!” Tatiane tried to keep from laughing. But at that moment, God placed a burden on her heart for Saulo’s mother. That afternoon Tatiane arranged to talk with her, and gradually struck up a friendship. Tatiane learned that Saulo’s father was in jail, that his mother battled with ill health, and that she had three other troublesome kids, allowing little time to pay attention to Saulo. Over time, the teacher was able to convince Saulo’s mother to walk him into class gently and lovingly (much coaching was required) and even come and sit with him for the first ten minutes of class. </p> <p>The effect on Saulo was almost immediate. After just a few weeks, his behavior had changed so greatly that he was permitted to walk to the cafeteria with the other children, instead of alone holding the teacher’s hand. He was permitted to go to the restroom alone. And now he plays quietly with his toys, and obeys the rules during game time. It is these kinds of results, said Tatiane, which provide the encouragement and motivation to continue—despite challenges like Saulo. </p> <p>Tatiane concluded that she has taken the little girl’s advice to heart: she continues to pray for Saulo….ALL the time. (Maybe that’s had something to do with the change in him, as well.)</p> Sun, 25 Apr 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/20420-community-of-hope-pre-school-meet-saulo https://internationalministries.org/read/20420-community-of-hope-pre-school-meet-saulo Community of Hope Pre-school: Meet Pablo <p>A couple weeks ago, we invited the entire pre-school staff (45 in all) to spend the day at the City of Youth for a special time of fellowship with the City of Youth staff. During this time, we encouraged exchanging stories involving personal experiences with the children. Below is one of the precious stories shared by the pre-school teachers:</p><p><br></p><p><b>PABLO:&nbsp;</b></p><p>Teacher Marcia told of Pablo, a sweet child of 4. His mother and brother were killed in an automobile accident, and his father so severely incapacitated that he is unable to care for Pablo, who now lives with an impoverished aunt. Paulo was also in the car, trapped in the wreckage for several hours until they freed him.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>When Pablo first arrived, he cried all day, and would stand by the window looking up at the sky and repeating “Mama, Mama.” He would not hug anyone, fought with the teachers, and was always the last one to nap.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Marcia took it upon herself to break through with him. She told herself “God put me here to help this child.” Over the coming weeks, Pablo did develop a special relationship with Marcia. He stopped crying, and began to play with the other children. Soon it was Christmas. Santa Claus dropped by, and Marcia was thrilled to see Pablo so excited that he could hardly contain himself. (One of the teachers used to be a circus performer, and came in on a bicycle dressed as Santa).&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>In February, teacher Marcia had a birthday. Pablo brought her a little present. When the other children saw it, they laughed: it was a half a bottle of perfume. He told Marcia it had belonged to his mother, and he wanted her to have it. The perfume now counts among Marcia’s most precious possessions.&nbsp;</p> Sun, 18 Apr 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/19998-community-of-hope-pre-school-meet-pablo https://internationalministries.org/read/19998-community-of-hope-pre-school-meet-pablo A Reminder of God’s Love at Christmas <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">I recently remembered something that happened at Christmas time a few years ago.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Although it is an old story, I want to share it with you as Christmas is approaching. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">It was December, and time to take the birthday girls from Hope Ranch out for their birthday celebration.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We arrived at the mall, and Santa was there waiting for children to give him their Christmas lists.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>He motioned for our girls to come, but they nervously hung back, having never had this experience.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I noticed Jacqueline, one of our youngest. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>She was looking longingly at Santa.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I urged her to go forward, and she said, “I can’t,” as she pulled closer to me.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>“Why not?” I asked.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>“Because it would be wrong for me to ask for anything more.”<span style="">&nbsp; </span>But just then Santa spied us and walked over.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>He addressed our girls in a jolly voice, “Merry Christmas!<span style="">&nbsp; </span>You just have to believe, and all your dreams will come true!”<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I felt my anxiety growing.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I didn’t want our girls to have any more disappointments in their young lives.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Not if it could be avoided.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">As we turned to walk away, Jacqueline dropped back.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her suddenly sprint over towards Santa.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>She whispered something in his ear, and later that evening, I snuck away to ask Santa what Jacqueline had said.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>She had asked for a bicycle. <span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">Near the end of our birthday celebration, Jacqueline took my hand and looked up at me with her big, innocent eyes.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>“Santa won’t really bring me what I asked for, will he?”<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Her question showed she knew the impossibility, but her eyes were full of hope.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It broke my heart to say, “Probably not, sweetheart.”<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">Our seventy girls share six pairs of donated roller blades—and are happy they have them.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The girls with small feet stuff socks in the toe; the girls with bigger feet squish their feet in there and leave the laces open a bit.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The thought of a bicycle for them to share seemed a long way off. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Our children are happy.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>They know what it means to have nothing, but now they are thrilled with having a warm bed, food to eat and house parents who love them.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>They dare not set their expectations too high for holidays like Christmas.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">However, like any parent, we want to make Christmas Day magical!<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We like to give each child a bag with toys and goodies to make Christmas a special day to remember.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Of course, Santa and gifts under the tree are not why we celebrate Christmas.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>There’s a greater gift we celebrate, the greatest gift of all – <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Jesus’ birth! <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Our precious Savior, Jesus Christ, came to the earth long, long ago. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Jesus’ birth seemed impossible.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It was unlikely.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>People probably knew the impossibility but still beamed with hope.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>And because of God’s love, Jesus was born on earth! <span style="">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">Shortly after our birthday outing with the girls, we sent out a letter to the local community, telling of Jacqueline’s wish.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Christmas was getting closer and closer.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>As we celebrated God’s great gift, Jesus’ birth, we also celebrated how great He still is.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">By Christmas, we had received 8 brand new bicycles, which people brought over as donations.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Jacqueline got her wish!<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Her wish wasn’t granted because of Santa’s love for her but because of God’s love – for her, and for each of us!<span style="">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">Merry Christmas!</span></p> <p style="line-height: 12.0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> Sun, 20 Dec 2009 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/16345-a-reminder-of-god-s-love-at-christmas https://internationalministries.org/read/16345-a-reminder-of-god-s-love-at-christmas Just the Beginning - Hope daycare’s first weeks <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 13.0pt; font-family: Arial;">Things have been busy of late<span style="color: #00107C;">,</span> but Hope has been incredibly blessed!</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;"><br></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 13.0pt; font-family: Arial;">This week I have had the joy of interacting with our 400 new children at Hope’s new pre-school, who started class November 10. &nbsp;Rather than write at length, I have included legends on each picture, attached, which tell their own stories. &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;"><br></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 13.0pt; font-family: Arial;">Our initial experiences at the school itself have been smooth and without surprises. &nbsp;Especially the first few days, the children had a hard time adapting, and we started the first week with only half the kids, staying for half the normal time. Many of them were sobbing the whole time they were with us, which got all the others sobbing. But their smiles are emerging and growing bigger every day.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;"><br></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 13.0pt; font-family: Arial;">In the slums, there are virtually no residents with any kind of local extended family to help babysit. If the mother works, she either leaves the toddlers locked up inside the house, or leaves them with a neighbor all day, whom she may barely know. If the mother does <i>not</i> work, she probably does not have things together very well, nor does she have income to provide adequate nourishment to her children.<span>&nbsp; </span>Statistics show that 65% of the households in the slum are single-parent, so there is no back-up in caring and providing for the children.</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;"><br></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-size: 13.0pt; font-family: Arial;">Of course, while the pre-shool performs an important service, it is also a means to a larger end, involving a dream to provide a safer and more wholesome environment for the rest of the children and teens in the community. With Christmas break coming up (summer in Brazil), school closed, and everybody travelling, we will wait until February before making concentrated forays in pursuit of this larger goal.&nbsp;</span><span></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;">Things are beginning well!</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;">Blessings,</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 17px;">Philip</span></p> Wed, 02 Dec 2009 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/15961-just-the-beginning-hope-daycare-s-first-weeks https://internationalministries.org/read/15961-just-the-beginning-hope-daycare-s-first-weeks We’re thankful for... As I reflect on the ministry I am privileged to serve in, there are many, many things to be thankful for. &nbsp;To list them all would be impossible. &nbsp;So I will share just one...<div><br></div><div>A few weeks ago, I was privileged to attend the wedding of one of our graduate girls. &nbsp;It was a beautiful ceremony. &nbsp;The bride herself sang a song of worship to the Lord. &nbsp;The groom could not stop beaming with joy. &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Larissa* is 20 years old and has a 9-year-old daughter, evidence of her stolen childhood. &nbsp;She came to Hope at the age of 12, already tired with life, broken, and wanting something more. &nbsp;She is now married to a wonderful, godly young man whose love for her was written in his ear-to-ear smile on their wedding day. &nbsp;They are both working, involved in their church, and committed to the Lord. &nbsp;Together, they are raising Larissa's daughter in a home that knows the love of God.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>So this Thanksgiving, it is Larissa that I am thankful for. &nbsp;I am thankful that she no longer is bound in a life destroyed by sin. &nbsp;I am thankful that she knows the love of the Father. &nbsp;I am thankful that her daughter will know His love. &nbsp;And I am thankful that she is just one of many, many girls that have received the transformational hope of Christ.</div><div><br></div><p><i>*The name has been changed, but the story is true.&nbsp;</i></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2009 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/15744-we-re-thankful-for- https://internationalministries.org/read/15744-we-re-thankful-for- Transformation <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">The following note was found by Pastor Derli among a stack of papers left over from summer camp. &nbsp;I was blown away when I read this, as 17-year-old Bruna* comes from a family characterized by sexual and physical abuse, and she has been with us for only a short time. &nbsp;We are not sure who it was intended for, but it showed an amazing grasp of Christianity for a teenager who had never even been exposed to the Gospel before coming to Hope a month earlier.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-weight: bold;">Bruna’s camp letter</span></b></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">&nbsp;At camp the Lord spoke to me tremendously about the theme “A man and woman after the heart of God.” I put myself in the Lord’s presence and had a conversation with God, asking “how can I be a girl after your heart”</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">When we went to the auditorium later, I was chosen to be a team leader, for the blue team. &nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">The Lord also spoke to me greatly during the devotionals, where the theme was “A great Servant,” where I learned about being a servant to become great. That &nbsp;helped me understand what I always wanted to know about what God was thinking about me.&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">The Lord also used aunt Bel to speak to us with a passage very well known that can be found in Samuel 8: 4 – 22 and Samuel 16: 1 to 12 where it says the great Lord ordered Samuel to anoint David as King. Here &nbsp;I could see that the Lord does not look at the exterior, but at the interior.</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">For me it was a great experience to see that God has great things to do in the midst of His people.&nbsp; But for this to happen, we have to leave space for Him to move in our lives.</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">The Lord also used other people to speak to me, helping me understand that to achieve the Lord’s blessings I have to seek His face. We can show our faithfulness by praying, doing the Lord’s work, and forgiving our enemies.&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic;">&nbsp;</span></i></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">To me this was an incredible testimony to the successful nature of this ministry, to witness so rapidly the first signs of true transformation. And her final comment about “forgiving our enemies” is significant, as this is an enormous hurdle to overcome for a girl like Bruna.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">* <i>The name used is a fictional name.&nbsp;</i></p></span> Sun, 20 Sep 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14177-transformation https://internationalministries.org/read/14177-transformation A Simple Demonstration of Love <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful and rare opportunity to spend the weekend at our girls ranch.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Seven visiting American girls and I packed our bags and headed out to the ranch on Saturday afternoon for a couple days of fun, games, smiles, and reminders of God’s love.<span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">One of the many activities that filled the weekend was a movie night we put on for the girls on Saturday.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I rented a few videos and took my laptop, speakers, and a projector out to the ranch.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Together with Bel, the ranch director, and her husband Carlos, we nailed and hammered to put up a makeshift outdoor screen (a white sheet), and went searching for all the right extension cords, plugs, and other necessary equipment for the “movie theater” to come together.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>As we worked, many girls wandered over from time to time, curious to know what was going on, and if they would be invited.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>One girl’s comment particularly touched me:</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Joice is 12 years old and has a little bit of a lisp.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>She is a sweet little girl with a certain air of maturity beyond her years – she seems too serious to be a 12-year-old girl.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>She doesn’t know who her father is and probably never will.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Her mother, with no place to live and seeing no other option, left her and her younger sister at a church and hasn’t been seen since.<span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As I was finishing set-up and about to test the projector, Joice walked up and, with much curiosity, asked, “What is that?” “We’re going to watch a movie,” I answered, as I continued setting up the computer.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>“Oh, cool,” was her reply.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>And then she added, “Is this a sign that you like us?”<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I was taken back by the question, which made me immediately stop everything I was doing and turn my full attention to little Joice.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Her question hit me like a ton of bricks; I was appalled as I realized her uncertainty of acceptance, and the fact that a simple movie night could mean so much to her.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>With great enthusiasm and a tight hug and kiss on her forehead, I confirmed, “Yes, it is!” <span style="">&nbsp;</span>Then, very matter-of-factly, little 12-year-old Joice looked up at me and said, “Oh. Thank you,” and returned to her house.<span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Within an hour, the whole lawn was covered with girls wrapped up in blankets as the night continued to cool.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Giggles and chatter could be heard throughout the ranch, as we waited for everyone to arrive and get settled for the movie.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Popcorn was passed around, and the joy of that special night could be felt in the air.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Little Joice sat close to me, and we shared a bowl of popcorn with a few other girls around us.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Although we didn’t exchange any more words, I knew what a huge impact this simple act of putting on a movie night had had on Joice.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>And I pray that she would know not only the love that I have for her, nor that the rest of our staff has for her, but the love that the Father has for her.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>He gave her that movie night, as a sign that He loves her. &nbsp;And He will never abandon her!&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><h4><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-weight: normal;"><i>Note: A recent journal entry entitled "Another Special Birthday" tells of how God used a small colored ball to bring joy to a little girl named Janaina. &nbsp;Janaina is Joice's sister. &nbsp;</i></span></h4> Mon, 24 Aug 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/13759-a-simple-demonstration-of-love https://internationalministries.org/read/13759-a-simple-demonstration-of-love Summer Camp! <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica;"><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">Technically, it's winter here, but camp is just the same - and the weather is pretty similar too! &nbsp;Team games, chapel services, soccer, swimming, frisbee, and so on. &nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;">Attached are some pictures of Pastor Derli and the kids at summer camp. The staff worked hard to make it a wonderful time for the kids – with long hours, starting early in the morning (at great sacrifice to the staff, who had to wake up even earlier and who go to bed last) so the children could take full advantage of every minute of this costly treat.</span></p><div><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 13px;"><br></span></div></span> Thu, 23 Jul 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/12822-summer-camp- https://internationalministries.org/read/12822-summer-camp- Hope Unlimited Newsletter - Summer 2009 Don't miss out! &nbsp;Our summer 2009 newsletter has just been posted to the Resources and Links section of our page. &nbsp;Access now to see pictures and stories of what is happening in Brazil!<div><br></div><div>http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/97#resources-and-links</div> Sun, 05 Jul 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/12380-hope-unlimited-newsletter-summer-2009 https://internationalministries.org/read/12380-hope-unlimited-newsletter-summer-2009 Another Special Birthday <span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Every month, Corenne and I accompany the month’s birthday boys or girls on a special birthday outing – the park, mall, video arcade, movie, and then the highlight of the evening: McDonalds!!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">A new routine has been added: I take pictures of each child, and my friend who owns a photo shop in the mall donates 3 prints for every kid, right on the spot. This is a big, big deal for the kids.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Attached are the pictures I took of  4 of the 18 girls we went with last night (two months combined because of my travel). I thought I’d send these pictures to you, and I encourage you to take a couple moments to flip through them – I know you probably wish you could be here with the girls in person but this is the next best thing. As you look at the pictures, imagine where each girl would be without us, without Hope. Certainly not celebrating their birthdays, I would wager.  </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">The first is a picture of a new girl named Janaina (pronounced Ja - na – ee’ - na).  Her mother recently abandoned her and her 3-year old sister in front of a church, and took off.  A family wants to adopt the little sister, but Janaina was sent to us, all alone in this world.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Since she arrived on April 15, she has neither talked nor smiled.  </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Before I left the office for the evening, after the girls had stopped by on their way to the park for me to take their pictures (I catch up with them later and trade places with Corenne), I pulled up Janaina’s picture on the computer screen, and together with the office staff we prayed that she would smile and talk that evening.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">During the course of the evening, at the video arcade, we passed a gumball machine with little colored rubber balls in it. Janaina he could not take her eyes off that machine. She had no interest whatsoever in the games, she was just fascinated by those balls. A few minutes after we left, she tugged on my arm. “Uncle Philip, can you buy me one of those rubber balls?”  All the girls looked her in amazement and shouted “she talked!”  </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">I took Janaina by the hand, and we walked back toward the red vending machine. Usually I try to treat all our children equally. But I felt like buying the whole gumball machine for her (or rubber ball machine).  I stuck in a coin, and the ball spun around and around inside the machine and finally popped out the bottom.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">I wondered how long Janaina had dreamed about getting one of those tiny little rubber balls.  I guess she had just been waiting to talk until she really needed to communicate something urgently enough. This, for her, was pretty urgent.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">When Janaina finally had that ball in her hand, her face lit up with a smile from ear to ear, that did not go away.   </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;">Everything was going to be all right.            </span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;"> </span></p></span> Mon, 18 May 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11423-another-special-birthday https://internationalministries.org/read/11423-another-special-birthday Isabella’s First Birthday <SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Helvetica; FONT-SIZE: 12px" class=Apple-style-span> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 21px" class=Apple-style-span>May 4, 2009</SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 21px" class=Apple-style-span><BR></SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt">Isabella celebrated her first birthday today! Thank you SO much for your prayers for her. &nbsp;She is doing just great now. Her pulmonologist said that it would be hard to convince her that this was the same baby she saw 6 weeks ago. &nbsp;Last week Isabella crawled for the first time! And in the middle picture you can see one little tooth.</SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt"></SPAN>&nbsp;</P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt">Her lung doctor explained to us that the walls of her lungs are thick and soft due to being premature. &nbsp;&nbsp;Because she is so little, when she gets a flu bug and there is irritation and swelling in the lungs, it can block off her bronchial cavities all the way. &nbsp;However, the doctor said there is a 95% chance that Isabella will never suffer another symptom after age 2!</SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt"></SPAN>&nbsp;</P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt">&nbsp;We were also informed that the steroids lower her resistance, making her susceptible to illness. Therefore, we are forbidden to take her to any enclosed public area – mall, church, etc – until she is completely off the drugs.</SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt"></SPAN>&nbsp;</P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt">Just as we concluded her little birthday celebration this afternoon, we looked out the window and saw this rainbow (picture attached), a great reminder of God’s promise and faithfulness. &nbsp;</SPAN></P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 0in; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman'; MARGIN-LEFT: 0in; FONT-SIZE: 12pt; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0in" class=MsoNormal><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial; FONT-SIZE: 16pt"></SPAN>&nbsp;</P></SPAN> Thu, 14 May 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11342-isabella-s-first-birthday https://internationalministries.org/read/11342-isabella-s-first-birthday