January 10, 2009

Ministering In The Favelas (Slums)

When we lived in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, you could drive for miles and see nothing but beautiful & expensive homes and neighborhoods, with manicured lawns and landscaping. It was a very nice place to live. In Sao Paulo, especially in Zona Leste (East Zone), you can drive for miles and see nothing but ugliness and poverty and slums (favelas). We live only 10 minutes from Sao Paulo's largest favela, Heliopolis, which has 120,000 residents in a 1.5 square mile area. To us it is incredible how much most Americans have compared to people here and in other parts of the world.

Alot of our ministry work of sharing Christ is done in these poor areas and favelas. These areas can be very dangerous, and we always have to rely on God's protection. The favelas are well known for having problems with crime, violence, drugs, prostitution, sexual abuse, alcoholism,... So why do we go ? Because all people are precious to God, and He loves people in all areas, including the favelas and poor areas. And He desires a reconciled personal relationship with all people. God is doing great things here, touching and changing many lives and drawing many people to Himself. Amidst the poverty and the ugliness and darkness, there is a great Light shining. Amidst the poor living conditions you find many wonderful and warm people, hungry for the things of God and for a personal relationship with Him. They are humble, and they know they have a need for God (as we all do), and they want to hear the Word of God. In God's eyes these people are precious and dearly loved, and also they are more honorable than many others in His eyes, because of their hunger and desire to hear from God's Word (see Acts 17:10-12).



8 comments:

Randy Furco said...

I was just cruising blogs with missionaries in their "interest" profile, and sharing this with them.

God Bless

http://randysfurco.blogspot.com/2009/01/faithful-servant-warriors.html

Kevin Bart said...

Randy, thanks for the visit and for your comment. Thanks also for your blog. Take care and may God bless you and use you alot, for His glory.

Marko said...

Those photos make you think... And a couple posts back there is a photo of magnificent fireworks.

What a contrast and what a waste of money! Can you imagine how many slum residents could be fed with all that money?

Kevin Bart said...

Marko, good point about the fireworks money. Alot of money that governments and individuals spend/ waste could go towards making a difference in peoples' lives, and in caring for the poor.

Chris Mager said...

Do you know of any christian groups that intentionally live in the Favelas? my wife and i were going to be traveling through and were hoping to find someone doing that. chrismager@hotmail.com if you know of any!

Kevin Bart said...

Chris, I do not personally know any missionaries that are living in favelas in Sao Paulo or in Rio de Janeiro. There could be some, but I do not know any personally. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I live in Boituva (interior SP) and a group of 5 serious young people are coming down for a visit. I really want them to get a glimpse of how life in a favela is. Do you know of anyone or ministry that would be interested in giving a brief tour? Email me at: abner@lmsdobrasil.com.br if you do. Thank you and God bless your work.

Kevin Bart said...

Anonymous, I am sorry to say that I do not know anyone that can help you in the favelas in Sao Paulo. We moved from Sao Paulo last year and I do not personally know any missionary or ministry in the favelas of Sao Paulo.