My name is Suelem and I would like to share with you how the work of the Godlywood group began here, in Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira – Brazil, where I currently am.
Sao Gabriel is in the rural area of the Amazon, it is very secluded, you can only reach this part of the Amazon by boat or plane (which we call ‘teco-teco’ when we see the small, old airplanes fly above…). It is the biggest indigenous city in Brazil: 90% of the population is indigenous. The native Indians live in communities, and are socialized, but not all of them speak Portuguese.
When we got here, one of the things that bothered me the most was knowing how happy these women could be, however, the reality of the girls in this region was completely different. I found out that many of the young indigenous girls were rape victims, and others didn’t even have the right to choose their husbands, because it was up to their parents to do that. They would hand them over to their new husbands without even asking if that was what their daughters wanted.
These girls would then be taken to small villages and never get an opportunity to have a proper education. They were so young, yet already had so many children. They would never experience the childhood they deserved. It was a sad reality…
What we learned in Church and in the group was so different! I knew the recipe that could change their life and I couldn’t just keep it to myself. We have to pass on what we get, wherever we may be. I wanted to bring them the solution and for that I had to get to know them, so that was my aim.
I started speaking to the women who attended the Church meetings and showed them the importance of saving souls.
Our first initiative was to help others. We knew that the greatest need of the indigenous people in the nearby villages was food. I found that food baskets was the only way to approach them, because they were very suspicious and would not accept us any other way. This would be the way for us to take the Word of God to them: first, we would bring physical food, and then spiritual food. We would not arrive empty handed.
I must confess that it was very difficult to gather nonperishable foods, because the townspeople do not accept the gospel due to their traditions. We suffered great prejudice, and we were even cussed at on the streets by merchants. I didn’t really pay much mind to them because we are used to being discriminated. However, my biggest concern was with the group who accompanied me.
This experience was a trial of fire. My only solution was to pray for them and, as we walked past them, I would explain that nothing could stop us from reaching our goal, not even these obstacles.
After a month of collecting food, we were able to put together 37 baskets. Notice that it took us a month, which in other places, I would of gotten in one day! But it was a blessing. Difficulties make us stronger to face everything with our head held high.
Mission accomplished, we had the baskets. Now, we would have to distribute them. I put together a group of women that knew the villages, we also brought an assistant that would be our translator, in case we had problems communicating, since they speak three different languages: Baniwa, Nhengatu and Tucano, and we entered their village.
We chose the Good Hope community, or as it is known, “the dump” because it is in front of the city landfill and many children die of cholera.
We asked the community’s captain (leader) for permission. He allowed us to come in and that day we brought everyone clothes and food. The clothes we managed to get from some city women we met and knew of our work and our goal of helping the indigenous people.
Our group consisted of indigenous girls who were members of our Church, assistants and evangelists. We distributed the donations together. We were a total of 45 people.
We prepared a surprise for the women: we brought nail polish! And if there is one thing us women have in common: we like to get pampered, we like to look beautiful. And they enjoyed getting their nails done. I was their manicurist!
We had lots of fun. Seeing them happy made us happy too. This was our first contact with the tribe. Today many are members of the Universal Church. We have some of the girls doing the Godllywood Challenge, which is exciting, because they have seen results. They got rid of past traumas and discovered their true worth.
Before, they had no hope. Most of them had attempted suicide or been abused. One girl was even brought to us by another girl, who found her lying in the street, at night, waiting for a car to run her over. Today she helps us help others.
The suicide rate among the indigenous people in this area was very high. We have strived to bring life to those who seek death and make them understand that, in fact, death is not what they want, but to live that life. And that’s what we offer: a new life.
And it is this new life that we have been seeing grow in these girls, who we take care of. We are gradually winning over their trust and seeing the fruits of that work.
Suelem Daniel, pastor’s wife in Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira – Brazil
Text from: http://www.bispomacedo.com.br/en/2013/05/08/a-new-life/