Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
In you, O Lord our God, we find our joy, for through your law and your prophets you formed a people in mercy and freedom, in justice and righteousness. Pour your Spirit on us today, that we who are Christ’s body may bear the good news of your ancient promises to all who seek you. Amen.
Though Barb and Gus deSouza have been away from Brazil physically, their hearts are still there with the ministries they helped to nurture. “We are in constant contact with the Health Clinic and the Board of Directors of the Association of Community Educators as I am still on the Board as secretary and fund raiser. The mission goes on, and the programs left to us to support are so important and benefit so many,” Barb said. The Children’s Program, for example, is doing well under the guidance of Isabel – a former volunteer mentored by Barb whose college studies to become a teacher are being supported by Global Ministries. “Our program is for children ages 7 to 12, and the desire to be part of this program is very great, but we do not have the space to take more than 50 children, 25 in the morning and 25 in the afternoon,” Isabel writes. “Iago is an example of the kind of child we work with. Iago is 11 and big for his age but both Barbara and I have known him and his family history for years. He comes from a very dysfunctional family. His father ran away from home because he was involved in a robbery and then returned with a woman and an infant, Iago. His grandparents in their small shantytown home are rearing Iago. When you meet Iago, you know immediately that he is intelligent, and like his father, a leader; he expresses himself well and is a real helper. The program has helped him use his talents for good, so that he might not follow in his father’s footsteps. He is an asset to the program, and we feel sad that soon he will have to leave it because of his age and the fact that we do not have enough space to take on older children.” Although the Children’s Program is of modest means and offers fairly simple activities for the children such as dancing, sports and music, Isabel says, “We know that it makes a difference in the lives of these children and adolescents. We are grateful to you, our dear American friends, for your participation in our project, and we hope that when these children become adults, the results you are helping to make possible, will make them better citizens and better parents.”