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: https://vimeo.com/82837098
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.