Committed to the transformational power of the Gospel in Caju

7 Jun

One of the greatest privileges in my career is to meet, encourage, and partner with people who are doing the unimaginable in the most difficult locations. Caju is a large favela (think economically, socially, and spiritually destitute) area in Rio de Janeiro. Every year 6,000 people are murdered in the 800 favelas in Rio, a rate that eclypses many war zones around the world. Each favela is run by drug chiefs who openly manage not only the drug trade but also the very lives of all who live there. These are not places where those who can afford to do otherwise ever venture. Avoided by all but the most desperate, these favelas are not abandoned by God. He calls people to step into the chaos and bring light to the incredible darkness. Fabio and Leah grew up in middle-class backgrounds, yet knew they were being called to bring the transformational power of the Gospel into Caju. Starting with just a few people five years ago, their church now has over two hundred people whose lives have been retrieved from hopelessness and early death. There is no other explanation for how these two have been able to reach into one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Western hemisphere and find favor in the eyes of those who kill without remorse.
What an amazing sight to be present as heavily armed men allowed us to enter their territory and engage with them and the people they rule through terror. It may be a place angels fear to tread, but not for those who know that God has called them to bring a power greater than the AK-47s and Uzis that are regularly used against police, enemy gangs and their own residents. Pray for Fabio and Leah as they faithfully obey the call to bring the transformational message of the Gospel to a desperate and hopeless people.

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