The Shores staff is absolutely amazing to watch as they pour out their love week after week, sometimes on people who don’t necessarily receive it or give it easily. Some, however, are eager to learn, eager to make friendships, eager to share what they’ve learned about the love of our Father. Two of the men we have worked with at our weekly outreach of Street Church are just like this – passionate, excited to see us each week, wanting to share and be changed.
One, “João” (name changed for privacy), first spoke with one of the other American missionaries and me a little over a month ago. He asked us if all of us were American and when we replied that not all of us were, but that both of us were, he began to ask us what state we were from in America. When we replied that we were from Missouri, he replied – IN ENGLISH – “I lived in New York for 15 years!” We were astounded! This middle-aged man, who spoke Portuguese with us until that moment, was a terrific English-speaker! We immediately began speaking with him about where he had lived, about his family, his job, and why he was living on the streets.
After he and Jd met later that night, they formed a fast friendship. Our friend was thrilled each week when Jd would arrive and sit down to chat with him. They discussed his past, cried together over his challenges, and talked about how good the Father is in all of our journey through life. He even encouraged Jd about our work in that area saying, “It’s not about food or money. It really isn’t. It’s about the heart. You guys come here and talk to us each week, and for some people, it’s the only encouragement they get all week. You guys are sometimes the only people that tell these people they love them. It is all about the heart. God is so good to send you here. It isn’t safe, but you come anyways.”
We got to speak with our friend, “J,” several weeks in a row before he let us know that one of his friends had purchased a ticket for him to go home to his parents. He has lived on the streets for more than 6 years in many major cities in Brazil. Though we will be sad not to see him each week, we are SO thankful that God has provided a way for him to leave. He deserves so much more than sleeping on the sidewalk each night and we are hopeful that he will continue to walk with the Father no matter where he is living.
Written by Brittni Grant, missionary in Shores of Grace.