In the twelve years I’ve been involved in working with the poor, homeless and chemically dependent I’ve had contact with a number of government and NGO organizations whose objective was to help the needy. All had good intentions, some did a lot of good, but none have been nearly as effective as Christland in both understanding and meeting the needs of this very special group of people.
Foremost is the fact that Christland is focused on leading men and women to Christ. That is Christland’s primary objective. They don’t have “treatment” or “recovery” centers but “Centers for Christian Transformation”. It’s not just because in Christ men and women are more likely to succeed in staying off drugs. It’s because outside of Christ it won’t really matter if they do! They’ll still be lost in the end. But in Christ and with Christ’s help they will not only overcome they’ll go on to the abundant life they were always destined for.
As you saw in the interviews with André, the second most important goal Christland has is bringing healing and restoration to familial relationships. Husbands and wives, mothers and fathers who were lost in addiction have a role the Lord wants them to be restored to. They have a future, not only for themselves, but also for the sake of their loved ones, their spouses, their children. Wives need a husband, sons and daughters need a father.
André heard the Gospel message in the Derby Park church, found transformation in Christland, put on the Lord in baptism, and was restored to his family. But that’s not the end of his story. A third and truly essential goal of Christland in helping men and women find transformation in Christ is helping them get back on their feet and stay there with career preparation and solid employment.
In a society and culture like ours, especially among the needy, one of the most powerful forces driving men to drugs and alcohol is the shame and embarrassment of simply not being able to pay rent and put food on the table for their families. Determined to break that cycle, Christland offers courses in industrial painting, computer repair, serigraph screen printing, auto electrical work and residential electrical work. We even have a bakery school where men take an apprentice course to prepare them to work in the many “padarias” in our region. (We’ll have a video of the bakery school in the near future).
André had taken the residential electrical work course and could see how valuable it would be as a trade. As you might have noticed in the third interview, André is a dreamer and a planner. When André discovered the teacher of his electrical course could not continue after that semester, he came up with a plan. If we would help him take a trade course in electrical work, he would become the new teacher for the students at Christland. And with help from support like yours, that’s just what he did, completing a rigorous three month, 60 hour trade school course.
André went on to become the electrical work teacher at Christland and with his help a number of men achieved certificates in electrical work so they too could find employment when leaving Christland.
Please pray for an International Leadership Institute (ILI) course we are hosting this weekend especially for Christland missionaries and workers. Pray also for André and all the other students and teachers in the Christland Center for Christian Transformation.
And please continue to pray for our church in Derby Park that we may continue to kindle a flame of hope in the hearts of the men and women who begin their walk with Christ in our little church under the trees in downtown Recife. Thank you so much for all your prayers.
Grace and peace to all,