On Tuesdays, Projeto Vida (Life Project) meets to encourage those who are waiting at a hospital and bus station in Dourados, Brazil. I may not understand every word that is being said, but I can definitely see lives being touched and impacted.
First, we meet at the hospital named UPA which stands for Unidade Pronto Atendimento around 8 pm. The waiting room was packed with people waiting to be seen. We broke the dead silence with a Brazilian worship song and people began to quickly sing along with tears streaming down their face. Afterwards, a short word is shared, perhaps 2-3 minutes, followed by prayer. We then pass out sandwiches and juice to those who are waiting. I’m not sure if the food truck outside likes that we come on Tuesdays but you can definitely see that people were touched.
If we still have food left over (which we usually do), we go to the bus station and sing to people leaving and arriving, taxi drivers, and various employees while also passing out food. We also pray with some of the people as well. I underestimated how touched some of the people at the bus station would be. One man wept when we sang and prayed with him. He had left São Paulo to come to Dourados to hopefully find work.
As we were leaving the bus station, we saw a man looking through the trash so we gave him several sandwiches and cups of juice. When we arrived, we also had given a man some food as well.
You never know what people may be going through. Tuesday nights are a great example of when we see this as well as my own personal story of keeping what I was going through to myself which I call The Hunger Shame. As a Christian, it can sometimes be scary sharing a message of hope and encouragement through Jesus with others because Christianity can be looked down upon. Many people have been hurt by people within the church or see the hypocritical actions of people who call themselves Christians. But you see, I’m human, I’m imperfect, and I can still come to God as I am. I don’t have to wait until I’m “right” to come before Him.
There was a short period in my life where I didn’t really want to have anything to do with Christianity which I will discuss at another time. But after that experience, I have continued to grow in my faith stronger than I have ever been before. I believe all of my experiences, sadness, grief, happiness, hunger, job loss, abundant blessings, etc., have all prepared me to be right here in Brazil, as a missionary, in this moment.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. _Romans 8:38-39