Patience rewarded

By Rob Barnett


‘Good things come to those who wait’ was famously a slogan for a well-known brand of Irish stout beer.


That black beer with a white head is normally served in pint glasses, and recently the ReVive girls enjoyed something of a similar size and colour that was as sweet to them as Guinness is to many Irish people.


No, the ReVive girls were of course not allowed alcohol! Ice cream was the treat in question, albeit some of them had to wait patiently for it. And not just any ice cream, but delicious sundaes from a fancy ice cream parlour here in Olinda.


Being the last week of the school holidays, most of the girls were able to enjoy the treat: eight of them altogether, including two sisters who arrived at the house earlier in the week. (The two girls who were not around were happily staying with family members for a few days, something to be joyful about).


The trip, supervised by four members of staff and volunteers, started with a bus ride through Olinda, perhaps something some of the girls had done many times before but not a frequent occurrence while at ReVive.


We arrived at the mystery destination to find enough space to sit together in this modern boutique shop, decorated with mainly lemon yellow wallpaper and in parts with some graffiti-style images just about related to ice cream.


Being a small shop that prides itself on selling carefully-prepared ice cream and sundaes, some of the girls had to wait patiently for theirs to arrive. Most of the girls, in fact, as the sundaes, served in containers of a similar size to a pint glass, were most in demand.


The girls’ patience was impressive, particularly as the first was served her ice cream around half an hour before the last. The ReVive staff and volunteers showed admirable patience too, waiting for their ice creams!


When everyone had enjoyed their ice cream we walked along the nearby seafront back towards the ReVive house in the pleasant late-afternoon sun, stopping at the beach for some games with the ‘parachute’ provided by Sheffield-based charity Kings Volunteer.


If you haven’t seen one of these parachutes before, it’s not something you would jump out of a plane with. It’s made of similar material but with no strings attached, so children can play a variety of games around, under and on top of it.


The ReVive girls love it, particularly playing ‘Washing Machine’ where one gets wrapped up in the middle of the parachute while sitting down, and then rapidly spun out.


After these games, it was time to walk back to the ReVive house as the sun set on another beautiful day in Brazil.


A big ‘thank you’ must go to those people in the UK who generously gave Roz, my wife, and I money to treat the girls like this.


Thank you also to Becky, ReVive’s Volunteer Coordinator, who took the girls’ ice cream orders, not a straightforward task when there were so many delicious items on the menu to choose from!

ReVive Christmas Special!

By Rob Barnett


During a season of Christmas parties and other festivities at ReVive International, it was important not to forget the most needy in Olinda.


Along with our primary work of looking after the girls living at the ReVive house, ReVive International also does outreach to those living on the streets of Olinda.


Every other Friday night a group of us go out in ReVive’s Combi van, offering sandwiches, coffee, clothes, conversation and prayer to the people we meet.


At Christmas we want to offer something more, like in this video from two years ago:


This time we set out late on the evening of Wednesday 30th December with 30 hot Christmas meals, prepared by ReVive’s fantastic cook Iracy on the same day she had produced a special New Year’s lunch for the girls and staff.


Having 12 volunteers that night meant we had to go in two vehicles: the Combi van and ReVive’s car. We started by praying together and with a team photo before heading out on our usual route.


Although we know likely areas to see those living on the streets, it’s important for the passengers to keep an eagle-eye out for those in other places, like dimly-lit doorways, while the driver goes at a slow pace with hazard lights on.


When we see someone or a group of people who look to be in need, we judge how many volunteers is appropriate to go to talk to them. We don’t want to overwhelm an individual with too large a group.


If they are fast asleep, we leave them food and drink. But if they are awake, we chat with them and offer prayer. Most are open to being prayed for!


It’s mainly men that we meet, but sometimes women too. That’s not forgetting the transvestite prostitutes who work on some of Olinda’s streets. They don’t normally need food or drink, but appreciate conversation and prayer.


This Christmas we met people living on the streets near the beach, by the two main roads that run through Olinda, and a group of around a dozen men living in an industrial area a little further inland.


This group always seems pleased to see us. This time one was fascinated by the blond hair and light skin of a certain Englishman, whom he couldn’t keeps his hands off! Movingly, we held hands with the men in a large circle and prayed together before moving on.


In all we handed out 26 meals during the hour or so that we were out on the streets. We trust the conversation and prayer were also valued, and that overall it offers the recipients hope and shows them something of God’s love for them.