The Liberdade project in Brazil has been an incredible experience for our family. The project runs for the 31 days of the Fifa world cup and we are half way through. As soccer teams from all over the world have gathered to play in one of the world’s largest sporting events, the Liberdade teams reach out to the countless victims in Brazil’s notorious red-light districts and pray for an end to sex trafficking in the nation.
We have been privileged as a family to serve and observe what God is doing through this movement. I personally have been a part of the night outreach teams to the women and men of the streets and have been impacted in such a powerful way.
A night on the streets
I leave our apartment around 8pm and catch a taxi close to the prayer room.
I walk across the bridge over a busy Rio road. I’m full of expectation as I pray and feel the Spirit stirring in me.I walk under the train bridge…
…and past the bbqs and the bars.
I have walked down this street many times. It’s full of bars, bikers and places that make me wonder. Who goes there? Where do they come from? God, how do you see this place?
I arrive at the building where the prayer room is running on the fifth floor. 24/7 this place is full of worship and prayer and is an unassuming beacon of hope and light in a dark place.
I join others and spend time in worship.
We take time to pray and prepare our hearts. I feel love and power stirring inside of me.
Then we head out as a team. We are ready and open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do.
As we pass streets of brothels my mind races and my emotions bubble. These places are so foreign to me, but the more I go out the more comfortable I feel in this environment. God is doing a work in me and I’m welcoming the change.
As we see girls on the roadside, three or four of our team members approach. With love in our hearts we engage with each girl and share the love of Jesus with them by telling them how special they are to Him. In many of the conversations the girls shed tears. Someone cares enough to say hi, to pray with them and give them words from their heavenly Father. We invite them to a weekly lunch held at the prayer room, give them gifts and say good night.
We continue to walk and find more ladies to talk to. Men in cars troll the roads staring at the women, consumed by their own lust. I am angered and saddened but I pray for them, I ask God to change their hearts too.
I take in the surroundings on a street where many ladies and transvestites work. It’s dark, sad and lonely. “I can’t feel hope anymore” describes one of the women in conversation. My heart breaks. Of the 20 women and men we saw on the streets we had conversations with about 10 of them. There are more tears, more gifts, more invitations. We feel a real openness tonight and our prayer is that light would shine through us and meet them where they are at.
After a couple of hours we return back to the prayer room. We debrief and pray and team members are brought to tears from the experience.
I make my way home and walk along the now empty street. Solemn, prayerful and changed.
I get back in a taxi and within 5 minutes I’m home. I wait and settle my thoughts before I go to bed.
It was a good night.