Thank you for all of you who we’re praying for our team. I can honestly say that (Friday, June 20) has been one of the hardest and emotionally draining days I have had in ministry. Our team went to help at a ministry called Christo Landia in the heart of downtown Rio de Janeiro. The name means “Christ Land” and the reason why they chose that name is because the area is commonly known as “crack land.”
When our team arrived at the center we gathered for a time of worship and prayer. Grant Gilliam, one of our team members, did an amazing job sharing his testimony. We then began to get prepared to serve breakfast to about 75-80 homeless men and women. Almost every single one of them is addicted to drugs. However, before we served breakfast they sat down for a brief worship service. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with these men and women. The brokenness in the room was overwhelming.
After we served breakfast our team split into groups with an interpreter and a guide from the center and we went into the streets looking to share the Gospel with whomever would listen. The first couple that my group encountered was on a nasty couch that had been left on the street. Both of them were HIV positive and the woman was also suffering from tuberculosis. The entire time we were there she kept coughing. As we walked away our guide told me that if she did not get off the street and into a hospital soon she would soon be dead. Sadly, they are both addicts and do not want to seek medical attention.
Further down the street our guide began to talk with a woman who was standing in a doorway. The woman was a prostitute and she was prostituting herself because she needed money for drugs. Our guide made a brief introduction and then turned toward me and asked me to share with her why I came to Brazil. I told her that God has sent me to Brazil to bring a message of hope. As I began to share the Gospel I noticed that she became very uncomfortable. When I asked her if she would like to repent of her sin and ask Christ to change her heart she said, “No, no, no.” I then asked her if I could pray for her. She became more uncomfortable and said she did not want me to pray for her because she didn’t feel pure or worthy. I told her that was the point, we are not worthy, we can never be good enough, but Jesus’ grace was greater than our sin. She looked at me and said again, “No, no, no” and then walked away in a hurry.
However, another woman who was also a prostitute came over and asked if I would pray for her. I asked her if I could share the Gospel with her and she said yes. As I came to the end of the presentation I began to ask her if she wanted to repent and place her faith in Christ alone. Someone came out of the building and called to her. She began to walk into the building. However, she turned and motioned for us to come into the building. As we walked into the building it soon became apparent that this is where she took her “clients.” It was a dark building with a nasty dirt floor. It had a hallway that served rooms on either side. She walked toward a room where there was a door made out of an old piece of plywood — no lock, just a piece of plywood. She opened the door and asked our team to come in. The room was no bigger than 10′ x 20′. Inside the room were four old women and an older man. I think it was her family. I was not able to share the Gospel, but they did ask me to pray for them. When we finished praying we started to walk outside and she followed us. On her face I could see her brokenness. I knew something spiritual was going on, but I could sense that she was imprisoned. She was a slave to her sin. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
As we started walking back to the center we came across a man lying on the sidewalk passed out. His leg had been operated on and pins were holding the bottom of his leg together. Around the pins that were going into his leg it looked as if it had started to become infected. I was instantly burdened for this man and I immediately felt that I needed to pray for him. As I knelt on this street to pray for him I became overwhelmed. All I could do was cry for this man. So much brokenness. I was then reminded that if it were not for the grace of God I could be in this position in life. I was overwhelmed by the brokenness that was surrounding me at that very moment. I walked over to the fence near the sidewalk and just cried. This man was lying in the street like a wounded animal. It was sin that was causing all of this pain and I knew the answer to that problem. God allowed his son Jesus to hang on a cross and take our punishment. If those who heard the Gospel would repent and place their trust in Christ, God would change each heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh. The Gospel message is, Jesus in my place. The message of hope is, Jesus in my place. That is a message of hope that I came to Brazil to share.
Please pray for Brazil and pray for our team as we continue to speak boldly about the good news of Jesus Christ!
Lee Dymond is the campus minister on the Auburn University at Montgomery campus, part of the Office of Collegiate and Student Ministries. He may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.