Our church supports our current missionary plus another person who will be added soon. We take an offering each year to support the missionaries and hope to raise $2,500 per missionary. Please click on Gordon Greathouse to read more about his work in the field.
Our most recent correspondence with Gordon is:
Greetings from Brazil. Well, it has happened! I am now in my final year of service with Global Ministries. It is hard to believe that I am reaching retirement age and no longer the 29-year-old that came to serve in Brazil in 1978. My enthusiasm is no less nor is my desire to work for a world where every child has the opportunity to know God and develop the gifts and talents He has given them. But we all know that life moves on and soon I will retire.
These 39 years were incredibly productive years. Both Teca and I are constantly rewarded by the kind words from people who thank us for being part of their lives. We want to thank each of you for the role you have played in this fantastic journey.
Last year Teca retired but after one day off to celebrate she returned to the work we both enjoy. We hope to contribute for years to come and are profoundly grateful that the Brazilian church continues to receive us with open arms. We will use the energy we have in our retirement years to further the lives of Brazilian children and only regret that our relationship to so many wonderful people in our supporting churches will formally change next summer.
Next Spring we hope to visit some of our supporting churches before I retire. We would like to visit them all to thank you for the prayers and support. If it is convenient to visit your church, we would like to know your interest so we can plan our trip. There are dozens of churches that have supported our work for more than 25 years. We would not like to leave out any church that would be interested in our visit.
There is something new! Global Ministries has chosen a missionary to come to work with Shade and Fresh Water. This new missionary will be trained and arrive here later this year or early next year. As soon as Global Ministries announces their name, we will share it with you so that if you are interested in supporting her you can.
We can say that the new missionary is a US pastor, speaks Portuguese, has already worked with Brazilian street children and studied theology in Brazil. She has visited Shade and Fresh Water projects and currently works with youth in the States. We are truly excited about her willingness to take on this new and we hope rewarding challenge.
It would not be proper to talk about the past and the future without talking about the present. Shade and Fresh Water has been working with Global Health (of the Board of Global Ministries) to expand the work with teenagers at risk. Up until now Shade and Fresh Water has worked with 6- to 14-year-old children. Now we are helping them with kids up to 18.
In the past when kids turned 15 they could no longer stay in our projects except as volunteers. This has concerned us because Brazil is the second-largest consumer of drugs after the United States, and drug gangs are rampant in many of our communities. We did not want our kids to be without a strong support community.
Through the partnership with Global Health we are now helping projects to include older teens. Global Ministries has funded eight training events and provided seed money to local Methodist churches. We now have twenty-seven churches 2ith an expanded project. Several churches in the States have expressed interest in being “sister churches” to these projects and offered small donations to enable Brazilian churches to reach teenagers in their neighborhoods.
Some of you have heard of the Brazilian movie, “The City of God,” which received four Academy Award nominations in 2004. It depicts the growth of drug gangs in a Rio suburb in the 1980’s and had a famous line, “If you run the beast catches you. If you stay the beast eats you.” Last month Shade and Fresh Water decided to work with the Methodist Youth in Rio de Janiero to mark a different alternative for children and teenagers there. Over 600 Methodist youth went to the neighborhood depicted in the movie. In the City of God neighborhood, the Methodist youth held and [sic] event for neighborhood kids and marched for a better society. We hope that in the near future the Methodist church in the City of God will be part of the Shade and Fresh Water network. The following picture shows the Methodist youth with T-shirts calling for “Justice” in their communities.
We close with a note of optimism – a new future is possible! God opens doors we often do not use. Thank you for being part of this journey.
In His service,