Through countless hours of prayer and street outreach, heartwrenching challenges and astounding victories, Liberdade is finished! Many times, our tears of sorrow were replaced with tears of joy. Along with our partners from local Brazilian churches and organizations, we watched in amazement as the Lord moved powerfully in the lives of many, touching their hearts with love and revealing the truth about their value as God’s children and the grace offered by Jesus. Throughout our journey, we were encouraged by the love and prayers of supporters like you and more than 1,000 other intercessors who faithfully prayed with us and for us during Liberdade.
We are so grateful for your support and wanted to share just a few highlights from our journey. Over the next few weeks, we can’t wait to tell you more about the power of prayer at work in Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro:
- While on location in Rio De Janeiro, our team stayed in Vila Mimosa, the oldest red-light district in Brazil. Here, roughly 4,000 men visit each day for the purpose of buying sex. Our team members were able to meet a man who was an apparent boss over the entire sex trade in this district. Our team was amazed when this boss gave us his blessing to stay in Vila Mimosa and to minister to girls through outreach and our 24/7 prayer room.
- While hosting a luncheon for women in the red-light district, we befriended a young woman who was trying to break free from a life of drug addiction and sexual exploitation. We took her to our prayer room where she could be safe and cared for during her detox. She stayed with us for over 24 hours and experienced almost no pain during withdrawal. When there were moments of pain, our team members sang over her and prayed. Each time the pain subsided. Our team was amazed to see God’s healing power in action. She told us that she felt God’s peace and was committed to starting a new life, free from drugs and exploitation. Today she has made a courageous decision to enter into a rehab program where she is being cared for, discipled, and trained in life skills.
- As we participated in a prayer gathering in the red-light district with 30 pastors and worship leaders, a young man heard the music and stepped in to investigate. He was amazed to find a church open in the red-light district. The man reported that he had grown up in church but had since drifted away. That night, he confessed his sins and rededicated his life to Jesus. He joined with us in worship and prayer for two more hours.
- During an outreach, one of our team members who happens to know sign language, met a boy who was deaf. She quickly learned that the boy was caught in a web of sexual exploitation. She was able to speak with him about his worth and the love of God. That night she received a phone call from the boy’s mother. She had been praying every day that he might know the Lord. Later, he came to our prayer room and received ministry for hours.
- One night, we were ministering in a red-light district when we met a group of transgendered men who were being bought for sex. As we were talking with them, a young man passed by. We were told, “Don’t bother talking to him. He deserves to suffer. He takes drugs and has HIV. He isn’t worth your time.” Hearing this and realizing that the young man was an outcast in his own community provoked us to speak with him. He was delighted when we handed him a Liberdade Bag and shocked that we wanted to talk with him. He opened up about how unhappy he was and how he desired to change. As we prayed for him, using the female name he gave us, he stopped us and asked, “Actually, can you use my real name?” He felt that God had sent us to him, offering a way out of exploitation and into freedom. We exchanged contact information with the young man to continue to build a supportive relationship with him.
- One night, three team members were ministering to two girls who were on the street. A man on a motorcycle parked close by. He was obviously angry that we were talking to the girls, and he shouted, “You’re wasting their time!” The man on our team went over to meet the motorcycle rider and talked with him about Jesus. At the end of the twenty-minute conversation, our team member prayed with the man. The man began to cry and said that his attitude had changed. Before riding away, he said that he wasn’t going to purchase sex that night as he had originally planned. Instead, he had decided to go straight home, because he had “a lot to talk to God about.”
- After weeks of planning a beautiful banquet for the women we had been ministering to on the streets, not a single girl showed up. At first, our team was disappointed, but the Lord had a better plan. Instead of giving up, five different churches came together to bring the banquet to the streets. The dinner, flowers, and gifts were packed into five cars and delivered to a brothel where more than 30 women were on site. We invaded the inside and outside of the brothel with the love of Jesus. The church of Natal came alive by ministering to these women. Through this event, the Lord fanned a fire in Natal that no human, no scheme of the enemy, and no principality can extinguish. In our weakness and failure, He proves Himself strong and faithful, every time.
We have witnessed wonders as God has turned prayer into action and set the wheels of freedom in motion on the streets of Brazil. We have been truly blessed to serve as His hands and feet during Liberdade. We are motivated to continue praying and reaching out to those being exploited in Brazil. We are so thankful for the countless Brazilians who have partnered with us and will be continuing the fight against exploitation even after our teams depart. Your prayers have also been a blessing. We could not have done it without your intercession, encouragement, and support. We appreciate your continued prayers for freedom in Brazil, and we will have more inspiring stories to share in the coming weeks as our teams return home.