We are in the midst of a “Month of Missions and More” here at Grace. This afternoon via Andrew Comings blog comes a reminder of missions in the midst of spiritual darkness. Here is his post from yesterday. You can read more about his ministry by clicking the link above.
A Week of Bloodshed
Things have been somewhat exciting around our neighborhood of late. The week got started with a “bang” (literally) on Monday, when some hoodlums in the bairro next to ours started acting up near the home of a police officer. Some reports say they were even throwing stones at his house–something they had been known to do before. The officer ran out of his house brandishing his gun, and shooting every which-way. One of his bullets struck a 16 year-old girl and killed her.
The bairro (called, ironically, Bom Jesus, or Good Jesus) erupted in outrage. People were screaming (again, literally) for justice.
On Tuesday night things were just beginning to quiet down again when, in another neighboring bairro, another act of violence stirred everything up again. The unsaved husband of a member of one of our churches was trying to leave his home, and found his driveway blocked by another car. The owner of the car, a woman, was at that time patronizing the bar owned by the man’s mother in law. He sent his daughter to ask the woman to move the car. She refused, and began to heap abuse on the daughter. Upset, the man walked over to the bar and confronted the woman. Far from backing down, she slapped the man across the face. Enraged, he pulled a revolver out of his belt and shot her four times–killing her.
An already inflamed populace exploded once again. Rival gangs got involved, and the police had to show up in force to make sure there was not an all-out war.
The report in one of the local newspapers featured a photo from the funeral of the slain woman, and the word “stupidity”.
That night, some men broke into the sanctuary of theFirstRegularBaptistChurch(which is located a stone’s-throw from the bar where the second murder took place) and took everything of value–video projector, TV, sound equipment, among other things. Based on the way they were able to break in, it is assumed that they took advantage of a social-outreach the church held on Saturday (offering free medical treatment, food, and other services to the needy of the community) to case out the church.
Our own experience this week is far less tragic–some neighborhood boys managed to jump our wall and steal Mikey’s bike and a couple pairs of “crocks” from our back yard. In all, nothing compared to the mayhem around us. Nevertheless, the purchase of a dog is part of our immediate plan.
This chaotic context is a fact of life for all the members of our little congregation. We ask that you keep them (and, while you’re at it, us) in your prayers. And above all, please, please pray that the light of the Gospel will penetrate the intense darkness that surrounds us.