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Exciting Plans for the Future

Here in Brazil, May 18th is the National Day of Combatting Child Abuse and the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Teenagers. ReVive has been in this fight for more than five years now.

Today seems to be a good day to announce our plans to open up a SECOND home in Olinda, PE. Most of you will know that this has been a dream for a long time and now, thanks to a generous donation, we’re able to do it (and more!). The house will probably be for new born babies and very young children, both boys and girls. Alongside this new home, we’re also going to open a prevention based project within a local community. This centre will provide a holistic work to entire families in the hope of strengthening them, providing kids work, professional training and a lot of other things in the hope of preventing families from falling into risk or abusive situations. We’ll be chatting with the local government and the judicial services over the next few months about how to implement these new services.

Another thing is that ReVive will have an even stronger focus on encouraging the sponsorship, fostering and adoption of children and teenagers in care. We hope to partner with the local churches to try and change the way fostering and adoption is viewed locally and facilitate churches in supporting and encouraging adoption and fostering in their congregations. We’ll also be involved at the local government level to help implement a foster family system with the hope that one day ReVive will have to close the doors to our homes (and all the other homes) because every child who needs to be brought into care is placed in a loving foster family.

However, until that day arrives, our homes will always offer a place of love, protection and full support so that children and teenagers may have their lives restored and hope renewed for a better future.

We’ll always count on the help and support of our friends, churches, colleagues in the child protection network and the professionals in the judicial and local government. We’re in this fight together!

USA Tour

For the past three weeks I (Andy) have been in the USA speaking about the work of ReVive in Brazil. The schedule has been pretty hectic; a total of 9 flights and many miles on the road speaking at a total of 11 events in the cities of Paradise, CA; San Diego, CA; Newport Beach, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Cincinatti, OH; Cleveland, OH and Orland, FL. A hectic but fantastic time of making new friends and connecting to various different churches.

The trip came round due to ReVive being opened as a non-profit in the US. I visited various friends and family throughout the states speaking at ‘home-made’ events as well as in various local churches. The trip was mainly to network, raise awareness of the work and to lay seeds for further relationships… and, of course, to encourage more prayerful and financial support of the work being done PLUS the EXCITING developments soon to happen – more about that soon!

 

 

Trustee’s Annual Report and Accounts

The ReVive financial year ends on the 30th of June. Each year the board of trustees submits its annual report, along with our audited accounts, to the UK Charity Commission. The report and the accounts are on public record for donors (and non-donors) to see. You can see ReVive’s page on the charity commission website by clicking here. You’ll be able to check the reports and accounts for previous years as well.

During the year ending June 30th 2017, ReVive received a total of £147,894 in donations and spent £109,410 in grants to Brazil.

Thanks to all for your support – we really do appreciate it.

 

British Ambassador visits ReVive Brazil

Once again we had the privilege of welcoming a British Ambassador to ReVive – this time it was Vijay who has just been appointed HM Ambassador to Brazil. It was a wonderful afternoon celebrating the best of both cultures with a special focus on the traditional ‘St John’ festivities at the end of June. This time, there was no cricket in the street, but the girls did teach Vijay the traditional ‘Forró’ dance!

Needless to say, Vijay was impressed and moved by the work that ReVive does and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with the British Diplomatic Mission to Brazil.

More pics can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/ReviveInternational/posts/1357319114346254

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A Christmas Thought

Christmas is fast approaching… At this time of year we usually take in one or two of the ReVive girls, who don’t have any where to go to spend Christmas, into our home to spend it with us. This always reminds me of something I wrote a long time ago (7 years!) about one of the boys who we worked with when we helped out at a project called My Father’s House. I’ll leave it with you…

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“Christmas Eve 2009 will be the first anniversary of the death of Jonathan Romario Alves da Santana, one of the ‘old’ boys of My Father’s House project, who at the age of 13 was brutally murdered by being shot 5 times in the head by a gang who had been after him for over a year.

Jonathan has never been far from my thoughts over the past year and his tragically short life encapsulates the lives that many of Brazil’s 25 million street children and many million more around the world share, in which a fair few will also share in a senseless violent death.

Jonathan grew up on one of the many ‘favelas’ or shanty towns in the greater Recife area and it just happened to be the favela by the side of Olinda’s rubbish dump where the Anglican Church of Living Waters and My Father’s House project reaches out to the poor and needy. Jonathan shared a childhood which isn’t unlike many of the other children on the favela; his Mother found a new man who was violent towards Jonathan and made his Mum choose between her son and himself. She chose him which effectively forced Jonathan out of the home. Out on the streets Jonathan became engrossed in the world of gangs, guns and drug trafficking and at the age of 11 became an ‘aviãozinho’ (little aeroplane) – a delivery boy for the gangs. He would be armed with a pistol as he delivered drugs and money around the favela. He was eventually caught by the police and naively gave up some names of his gang superiors – effectively a death sentence since he ‘talked’. My Father’s House found him and took him into the project to hide him from the gang.

This is where Jonathan entered into my life in March 2008 while I was a then worker in the project. He was very small for his age, very affectionate but had massive mood swings which could make him quite violent. During his stay in the project a change was beginning to take place in Jonathan; he wanted to leave gang life behind but remained quite troubled as we learned that the gangs hadn’t called off the death warrant. This led us to believe that Jonathan had done something else to anger the gang, we never found out exactly what it was but many for many nights he wouldn’t sleep until I had prayed with him sat on his bed.

After a few months, things got too much for Jonathan and he ran away from the project. I got a call one morning telling me that the gangs had tried to kill Jonathan; he had been shot in the shoulder but had survived and was now in hospital. I went to visit him along with another project worker to see what we could do. I met his Mum and his uncle who I drove to the bus station and paid for Jonathan and his uncle to get a bus to his Grandma’s house who lived in the countryside – a place where he would be safe.

He stayed there for a few months and was apparently doing well, studying and working to get a little bit of money. A few weeks later I heard that the gangs had killed Jonathan’s uncle after trying to find out where he had gone. I still remember the day when my phone rang and Jonathan’s Mum told me that she had gone to get Jonathan and had brought him back to the city. ‘Why would you do such a thing!?’ I asked, ‘Because I was jealous of his Grandma having custody of my son’ she replied. Sometimes the family needs more help than the actual boy.

Four days later, Christmas Eve 2008, Jonathan was ambushed around the corner from his home and at just 13 years old was shot and killed.

My faith is constantly challenged by those short months that I knew Jonathan and by the many other lives of children which I am involved in. What is my role, our role, the Church’s role in a world like this?
Christmas time is a time when the Church proudly proclaims the birth of Jesus Christ, ‘the King has come’, ‘Emmanuel – God with us’. Can the poor and needy of this world truly say that God’s representatives in this world, i.e. the Church – the body of Christ, are ‘with us’?

At Christmas time the Church celebrates the birth of a child, but do we show day by day the same life transforming power that Jesus Christ showed or do we merely talk about it?

Thirty odd years after his birth, this ‘Servant King’, would rebuke the religious leaders of the day for talking too much and being too legalistic and hypocritical. Whereas Jesus sought out those shunned by society and those looked down upon by the religious leaders – a prostitute who was set free from her demons; an adulteress who was held at the point of death by the ‘church’ of the day but who found forgiveness at the feet of Jesus; a cripple healed on the Sabbath; and an ‘easy’ woman who came face to face with ‘a man who told me everything that I had ever done’ – the messiah, by a well in the midday sun. The gospel, perhaps in its full form. Sometimes I see that same attitude of the Pharisees in me and within the Church as I struggle to find my role and think about the Church’s role in the world – perhaps we need to follow more of the example that Jesus set; proclamation and demonstration of the gospel.

I don’t think I will forget the last words that Jonathan ever said to me as he climbed out the back of my car at the bus station – ‘Andy, you and the project, are the only ones who ever believed in me.’ I believed in Jonathan because I believe in Him – Jesus Christ and his power to change and restore lives. Can our non-Christian friends, the poor, the needy, the sick, the shunned, the downtrodden, can they really say that we, the church through Jesus Christ, are the only ones who truly believe in them, who by God Emmanuel are ever ‘with’ them? As Bill Hybels said, ‘the local Church is the hope of the world’, I believe that.

Rose and I have been challenged by this thought and so this Christmas, our first as a married couple, we’ll be receiving Emerson for four days, one of the boys in the project who can’t go home for Christmas as his Mum is an alcoholic and drug addict who lives on the street. It’s a bit of a challenge and a few sacrifices have to be made but it’s also a tremendous privilege and a pleasure to be able to give someone something that he has never had before – Christmas in a loving family.

If I may, I’d like to leave you all with a Christmas thought – that during this very busy Christmas time amongst the presents, food (for many kids here Christmas lunch will just be whatever they manage to find on the rubbish dump), drink, left-overs, carol services, midnight communion services, wrapping paper, mince pies, mulled wine, please find some time to think – not just about the real reason for Christmas i.e. Jesus’ birth, which is quite easy to remember, but rather – what does Jesus’ birth mean to me and what effect, if any, does that have on my life?

Christmas Eve, here in Brazil, is the traditional time to meet with family, exchange presents and to have the Christmas meal. This year, however, there will also be a time found and a glass raised to Jonathan, the effects and challenges of whose short life still resound in mine and, I’m certain, will continue to do so throughout 2010.

To all of you, our dear friends and family, we wish you all a very happy Christmas and hope to see some of you in this coming year.”

With love,
Andy and Rose

Christmas Fund 2016

As usual we’re trying to raise a little extra money to put on a special Christmas for the current and past girls at ReVive. We’ll be throwing them a party along with buying them all some presents.

Would you be able to help out by contributing something? You can do so online by clicking on the relevant link:

From the UK: https://my.give.net/revivexmas16

From the USA: https://www.generosity.com/celebration-fundraising/revive-international-christmas-fund

Thanks everyone!

Olympic Swimmer visits ReVive

We were thrilled to welcome Brazilian Olympic swimmer Joanna Maranhão to ReVive last week. She came to talk to our girls about how she was sexually abused as a nine year old… and how, despite still living with the effects of that abuse, was able to overcome it to become a very successful athlete.

Her talk was challenging and inspiring.

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ReVive USA is Open!

ReVive USA has been open for a few months now… If you are currently based in the US and would like to financially support our work in Brazil then you can do so in the following way:

Send a cheque made payable to ‘Revive International’ to

ReVive International, 4926 Malibu dr, paradise, ca, 95969

To receive your tax break for non-profit donations then please do include your details with the cheque. If in doubt send an email to info@revive-international.org

Extension Complete!

We’re sorry for not putting this news up sooner here (it’s been up for a while on our social media sites) but the extension is ready! Yay! The space is amazing and it’s already being used by two groups to run dance sessions with the girls. We’ve also used the space for staff meetings, training sessions and even cinema nights for the girls. Our Technical Team – psychologist, social worker along with a few others – have moved into their new office and they’re also making the most of the other room – a private meeting room – to speak with the girls and their families.

Thanks to all who made this extension possible!

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