There are a couple of recent events that I wanted to relay, so this post will run less like a story and more like an update. First, the special forces police assumed control of Morro dos Macacos on Thursday of last week, supplanting the local drug lords. Rumors have been circulating since March that this would happen sometime late this year or early next, as Rio prepares for the World Cup of 2014 and the Olympics of 2016. Still, we were all quite surprised when it actually happened. The interesting aspect of this somewhat non-traditional coup was that it all went down without a shot being fired. The drug lords had been forewarned of the attack and chose to flee to neighboring favelas instead of putting up a fight. Police occupation of the favela has engendered a type of temporal and superficial peace. Now, we walk the tight streets with less concern about where to hide if we got caught in crossfire between gang members and police. Today, we were even able to take pictures of Kristin, Jason and her family (see above) in the favella, an act that would have been inconceivable a week and a half prior. This means that the scene that Kristin captured in her last post on our blog will play out on other hills for the time being. But, we are not convinced of the long-term effectiveness of this measure. While it makes life easier for now, it could be creating more problems for tomorrow. I compare it to placing a band-aid on skin cancer. Nonetheless, we wait to see what God will do with the more favorable conditions.
As for the guys in the house, this week was marked by some encouraging conversations. Adilio is starting to connect the dots between today's habits and tomorrow's reality. Claudinho made a great comment about his tendency (and ours) to make morality rather than God's grace the central theme of his story. Anderson trusts himself a little less and God a little more these days. Finally, Paulo is starting to believe that the bad things he learned about himself while he was away are not a threat to God's grace but rather an invitation to it. We love living with these guys because of all they have to offer us (which doesn't negate the fact that they still need to learn to lift the seat).