Friday, November 13, 2009

God of the Marvelous City (Brianna Morgan)

(taken from the top of Morro dos Macacos)

The two weeks I spent with Sombra Road in Rio de Janeiro were so impactful to me. I can’t say that I have ever had a heart for Brasil until recently. However, after spending some time there, my heart beats to a new drum – one that leaves me aching and praying for the beautiful people of Brasil. I was able to catch a glimpse of what it would be like to live in Rio, hang out with kids in the favela, go on some beautiful hikes, spend time with the kids at Reame, try exotic fruits, and stay with a Brazilian family for a few nights.

Of all the amazing experiences I had, the last day I spent in the favela (Morro dos Macacos) left the biggest impression upon me. Six teenage boys in Jason and Jeremy’s afternoon class took us to the top of the favela. It was quite a trek to the top, and the song "The God of This City" played in my head the entire climb. It felt like we were climbing stairs for years, weaving in and out of little alleys between the homes. The further up we walked, the poorer the homes were. Some were just cardboard and trash nailed together to form walls. The people who live at the top have to walk those stairs anytime they need anything (there are no roads for cars at the top). Some even have to carry water up because they do not have access to such.

When we got to the top of the hill, there was a little pasture with a large cross off to one side. The pasture overlooked the enormous city of Rio de Janeiro. As we made our way towards the cross, there were about 10 young men with guns overlooking the other side of the hill, to make sure that drug dealers from the rival gang were not trying to invade. They didn’t really seem to care that we were up there so we just kept walking.

When we got to the cross there was a man, about the age of twenty, sitting by it, gun in hand. He was very friendly and started talking to us. He ended up telling us that he had been shot five times in his life and pointed to each scar. At that point, Jason said something along the lines of, “God has spared your life for a reason.” After that we ended up praying with him. We stood in a circle, holding hands on the top of that favela, praying to the God of the universe. And the lyrics of that song played in my head, “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city.”

God is the God of the people of Morro dos Macacos, whether they know it or not. He created each of them, fashioned their hearts individually (Psalm 33:15), and longs to give them the full life that He died to give. The drug dealers, the prostitutes, the kids who are stuck growing up there. It's encouraging to remember that God isn't finished yet - greater things are left to be done in that city. There is a Hope for the seemingly hopeless.

Acts 17:26- 28 “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him with live and move and have our being…”

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