May 23, 2004
Tall American athletes dribbling basketballs through the streets are all it takes to draw a crowd...no advertising, no internet, no mailout, no brochure. Just the simple sound of activity is the queue that something is going on, and that whatever it is, it needs to be checked out. Saturday was another day of steep hill climbs to get to a community court where soccer and basketball seem to co-exist. From the older youth who showed up wanting to play soccer, seeing a bunch of Americans surrounded by several hundred children had to be a shock. Even with all of the excitement and noise surrounding the games and the basketball drills, people heard the message of Christ's love and responded.
The ministry of Pastor Douglas in this favela of some 26,000 people is pretty amazing. Construction teams from the U.S. have assisted in many ways to convert and expand existing structures to make them suitable for use by the church. The picture of Betty Wiseman and Pastor Douglas was taken at the rear of the church where a concrete baptistry was installed but not completed. The temporary wooden steps have become dangerous to use and 26 people are awaiting replacement steps as well as a roof over the baptistry before it will go back into commission.
The beaded crosses that the team makes when there are slow moments (and those are few and far between) provide a simple method using the different colors of the beads to represent the message of the gospel. Angel Jones and Destri Bockey are pictured here with a group of neighborhood children working on the beaded crosses. Amy Elrod, wearing the light blue top pictured in the foreground acted as Angel and Destri's interpreter.
A full day of activity ended with a cookout, a lively worship service, and hugs (and tears) as the group headed back to the hotel, an hour+ drive.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at May 23, 2004 10:53 PM