One of our first days in Brazil was spent with an organization called Samaritan’s Feet. This organization devotes its time, resources, and energy into providing shoes for underprivileged youth. We traveled through some of the poorest parts of Sao Paulo in order to get to our destination, and while on the bus looking out the windows I can honestly say I have never seen such poverty in my life. There were hills with houses that were shaped like stacked boxes, covering up every single inch of ground possible. Families seemed to be literally living on top of each other, and most of the houses were a brownish-red color. There were also blue, green, and yellow houses mixed in, making for a unique landscape. This went on for miles and miles as we weaved in and around the bumpy roads. Abandoned shops lined the streets as little children ran around without any parents in sight. When we arrived at the center, it was easier to tell that these buildings were more taken care of than its surroundings. They were all around this main pathway and each building was home to different activities that children could come to during the daytime. This particular program takes in young children everyday from 7am to 7pm where they get to do fun activities, play sports, get meals, and take clean showers. It was amazing to witness this place and how much of a real difference that the workers and volunteers were making in these kids’ lives. After a quick orientation, we were all split up into different groups where we took turns getting to wash the feet of the children (just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples all those years ago) and then gave them a new pair of shoes. Seeing their eyes light up was something that I’ll never forget, and I am so glad I wrote all this down in a travel journal. I wrote about each child that my translator and I interacted with, and asked them about their families and ultimate dreams. Some wanted to become doctors, others wanted to be police officers or professional athletes. I was also able to tell each of them about Jesus, and how he came to save us from our sins all those years ago. I would wrap up each conversation by encouraging them to seek God in everything that they do, because He is always with them. It was a day that I can cherish forever – God has a special place in His heart for those children, and I am so glad that I was able to do the Lord’s work and directly feel and see the impact that we made!
To learn more about an opportunity to play in the 2020 FISU Pan-American Games in Mérida, Mexico, visit https://goaia.org/basketball/teams.
Written by: Megan Gustafson
3 Simple Joys:
- Peanut butter, also Starbucks!
- Writing, “but I do love to nap so maybe that one instead”
1 Favorite passage:
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
- Bonus: “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24