When Love Arrives (written by a recent visitor to our ministry in Recife, Brazil)
Recently I was in Recife, Brazil with Shores of Grace Ministry. We were visiting one of the “favelas” (slums) that the ministry had been focusing on for the past 3 years.
I got out of the car, a little hesitant at the unknown that was ahead of me. I had never been anywhere quite like this – and I didn’t know what to expect. But before I could figure out how to proceed, a little 8-year-old girl (Luke and Alisan Billman’s daughter, Ada) who had been doing this ministry with her parents since she was 3 grabbed my hand and said, “Come on! You’re going with me.”
As soon as we walked down the dirt road about 50 steps, we were greeted by more little girls from the community. They came to our team with smiling faces and held their arms up to me for me to pick them up. They had never seen me before but were expectant of me to show affection and kindness to them.
We spent the next couple of hours in this housing area checking on different people, finding out how they were doing: listening to their stories, playing house with the young children, spending time looking into their eyes, laughing and smiling. The little girls from the community followed us around and interacted with me the whole time.
Later on, when I was reflecting on this time, I wondered at their willingness to snuggle up next to a stranger and share their toys and their stories. Then I realized, because of who I was with, (people that have spent time developing relationships with them, listening to them and loving them in very practical ways, for a long time) I was received as “LOVE.” They recognized LOVE. And I was with LOVE. Love had arrived – and they came running to it with their arms held up and their hearts ready to receive.
Thinking about this has been very meaningful to me. I am beginning to realize that everywhere I go – I’m bringing Love with me. We are a package deal. How am I helping people that I come into contact with recognize His ways? When I show up – do people see that Love has arrived?