How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?… As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15 NIV)
Valmir is about 6 feet 2. Could be a football player. With the help of another brother he can lift a 25 gallon drum full of soup onto the cart they and a group of brethren haul through the streets of downtown Recife two nights a week. They serve juice and water and a cup of soup or a bowl of cuscuz cornmeal and frankfurters to somewhere between 150-200 people over a three mile route.
Some of the people who ask for soup are clerks and sales people just getting off work from the few shoe stores and pharmacies open in downtown Recife. Their goal is the homeless, further downtown. But along the way whoever is hungry, whoever asks is served.
Like Jurandir, who collects cardboard boxes he flattens and folds to stack on his cart. Between 3:30 in the afternoon and 7 at night when we meet he’s already filled his cart with about 150 kilos of cardboard which he’ll take to a recycling center for maybe twenty to thirty dollars. That’s how he feeds his family. Every night. Hungry and thirsty he gladly accepted a big cup of soup and a cup of juice.
Further along we cross the yellow iron bridge of Empress Street. The team will push their cart and stop and serve wherever anyone his hungry. They’ll walk three to four miles before the soup runs out. Then haul the cart back to the church building.
Valmir and his partners know the names of many of these folks. They stop and pray with them. Everyone who is served is offered a Bible tract with a verse and information on how to contact someone from the church. Valmir and the brethren know the soul needs nourishment just like the body.
In the next block we meet Paulo. He’s homeless, shirtless, and trying to sleep on his piece of cardboard. He gladly accepts a cup of soup but doesn’t want his picture taken. So I take a picture of the soup and Valmir’s sandled feet. Make you think of anybody else who wore sandals and fed hungry people?
Further along behind an old cathedral we stop and a long line forms. They serve probably fifty to sixty people at that one stop. A couple waiting for the bus, poor shop workers getting off work, people out of work, people sleeping on the sidewalk. The goal is the needy. And there’s plenty of them on the streets of Recife.
Thanks for all you do to support our ministry and through us other vital and merciful ministries like “Igreja na Rua” (Church in the Street). That’s exactly what it is. The Church in the street. Right where it belongs. Right where Jesus wants it.