While out in Brazil last year, I was privileged to have the opportunity to visit Project ‘Cristo Rei’ (English: Christ the King) and be taken around the area by Guilherme and some other friends who volunteer at the project.
‘Cidade Cristo Rei’ is a neighborhood of Montes Claros, MG, Brazil. It has a population of around 2,000. ‘Cidade Cristo Rei’ grew without strategic planning and gradually became a place of high population density in a small area. This resulted in narrow streets inaccessible to cars and crowded houses. Drug trafficking and youth prostitution market, have become the largest source of income for a many of the residents.
In 2014, a new project began when God moved in the heart of a group of Christians. In order to initiate contact with people in the neighbourhood, the project sought partnerships with various institutions.
In the second half of 2014 the project partnered with FEMC – Educational Foundation of Montes Claros which is located within the neighbourhood. and taught workshops within the FEMC to the children and teenagers as volunteers.
They also partnered with the Health department with a project called “Leisure Street”, where they offer toys and games free for children and adolescents while doing a monthly weighing of babies in the Health Centre.
Before long, they saw the need to work more closely with the children, so began teaching the Bible to children on Saturday afternoon and have a great time socializing with them at a time snack. The Presbyterian Church embraced the idea and gave the space needed (This included several classrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and a football court) and offered to pay for the transport of children up to the church (which is close to the neighborhood). The project had 50 volunteers who worked shifts every 15 days, to meet the 80 children and adolescents every Saturday.
Craft classes take place every Thursday from 14hs ace 15: 30h in the neighbourhood health centre. The classes are available for mothers and grandmothers of children who participate in the activity on Saturday. Through this workshop they can identify family problems and refer mothers to agents of the Conflict Mediation Program. Another important part of the project is visiting families in their homes and giving much needed support.
The New House:
God has recently blessed the project by giving them an opportunity to rent a house in the neighbourhood. They have already managed to partner with local projects that will also use the house and help build relationships with the residents. The goal is to start more workshops in arts, football, judo, dance and literacy during the week. On weekends they will continue to carry out the biblical classes for children and for family members.
The idea is to concentrate all activities in one location so that it becomes part of the neighbourhood. The plan is they will soon be able to hold services there and plant a church.
1) Please pray for Guilherme and the team of volunteers who faithfully serve in ‘Cristo Rei’ each week
2) Pray for the new work starting in the house and for the new expensive to be met 1500 Brazilian reais per month ($414 US / £269)
3) For the families and community to be impacted by God’s grace
4) For the local churches who support the project
5) For the partner organization