One such family is Everton and Daiana. You can read more about them here.
Last year, Everton and Daiana were living in Canoas - a suburb of Porto Alegre. They don't have a car, and the distance from their friends, family, and Everton's work in Porto Alegre was getting to be really difficult - especially for Daiana who was home alone taking care of the kids and who is now expecting another baby in March.
They wanted to move closer to Porto Alegre, and the church helped them buy a new place to live. Here is what the house that they bought looked like when they bought it.
At the end of last year, they moved in their new house. Everton, with some help of some of our church members, had fixed up the place and added on a bedroom for the kids.
Recently, I took Daiana to do some exams in downtown Porto Alegre. One of the exams was the glucose tolerance test where you have to wait a few hours, so we had some time to talk. One of the things that she shared with me was how her relatives that live near her are having problems in their marriage. She said she was seeing again in her relatives the same problems that she and Everton used to have but because of meeting "us" (our church family) they had learned to talk things out and their marriage was so much stronger. She also talked about the neighborhood kids and how she teaches her sons to be careful who they hang around with. She said that her sons recognize that their true friends are my sons, Garrett and Anderson, because they have fun together but encourage each other to do the right thing.
I was so happy to hear that. Our church family had made, and is making, a difference in this family's life.
This past Sunday, during our worship time, Everton shared that he had a new neighbor buy the house next door. A man in his 50's with physical problems had bought it for his daughter. The house was full of trash and rotted wood. Everton asked the man if he could help him. The man resisted. He resisted because it is not normal for people to just help complete strangers do something like that. Everton shared with him that his church had done the same thing for him. (Well, his church and the Aggies for Christ). He insisted upon helping the guy and spent 5 hours hauling out trash and wood to clean out the house so the man could begin fixing it up. Because of what was done for Everton, he now has a new "normal". It was important for him to help this guy, and we know that it was just a seed planted for a growing friendship and brotherhood with his neighbor.
If you don't know it already, we work with house churches here in Porto Alegre. Small, sometimes very small, groups. You may be wondering why. We used to have a traditional church, but we changed. One of the reasons is that our goal is not how many people attend on Sunday morning, but transformed lives. We believe that life transformation happens, not in large Sunday services, but in relationships. Relationships that are born from working together, supporting one another, phone calls here and there, trips to the doctor, small group Bible studies, hugs, prayers, and visits to new houses.
And so we put the emphasis on those things.
We love this family and look forward to serving with them for many years to come.