Friday, December 2, 2016

CL Litergy

Our halfway house has a lot of programing that helps our friends form a new way of life. The “Programing” usually happens at night when most of our residents are back from work. I lead a weekly Bible study where we focus on redefining character and self analysis, our psychologist offers individual and group sessions, we have therapeutic music sessions, and we go to church together as a household. Beyond this I have been thinking of ways to use regular moments of the day to influence thought and direction. Without additional groups or “programing” how could I insert “food for thought” that will inspire further conversation and offer insights to new ways of thinking?

I decided to utilize our lunch and dinner prayer time, since they were pre-existing moments when we were already together as a household, to implement a practice that has not been much a part of my life experience: liturgy. We picked a topic for each day of the week and put together a text using Scripture and prayer focusing on that topic. Everyday before lunch and dinner we read the text together and say a prayer. It’s not much, and that's the idea. But in subtle ways and with repeating rhythms, we work to keep truth at the forefront of our minds and on the tip of our tongues. I have been pleased with the conversations that have been inspired by these mini liturgies, and moments when I have heard them quoted later in the day.

Here they are, translated to english -

Confession (Monday)
I confess to Almighty God, and to you brothers and sisters,
That I have sinned by my own will in thought and in action,
Through what I have done and what I have left undone.
I ask you, brothers and sisters
To pray for me to the Lord our God.
*silence (for confession to God)
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy,
Brothers and sisters, have mercy.

Humility (Tuesday)                                      Job 1:21
Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will go.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Glory to the Father, glory to the Son, glory to the Holy Spirit.
Who was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Forgiveness (Wednesday)                                           Eph. 1:7 and Mt 11:25
By the death of Christ on the cross
We are free and our sins are forgiven.
How wonderful is the grace of God that He has given with such generosity!
When you are praying, forgive those who have offended you,
So that your Father in heaven will also forgive your offenses.
Increase your grace in us, Lord
So that we can forgive all, even as we are forgiven all.
Make us truly free.

Identity (Thursday).                                             2 Cor 5:17-18
Whoever is in Christ is a new person,
The old has gone and the new has come.
All of this is the work of God, who in Christ transforms us from enemies into friends.
God gives us the task of bringing others who to also become friends with Him.

Father in heaven, help us to live this new identity.  
Help us to live as your friends.

Consecration.   (Friday).                                                 Romans 8:13-14
Whoever lives according to his human nature, dies spiritually;
Whoever by the Spirit of God puts to death sinful ways, lives spiritual life.
Whoever is guided by the Spirit of God lives as God’s child.
Surround us with your Spirit, Father.
Help us to be committed to Your path.

The beauty of liturgy is not that it is magical, but that it is rhythmic, historical, and physical. We have joined a tradition of God's gathered people to speak daily reminders of the ultimate direction we long for.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Our Housing Ministry gave birth to a Garden

As many of you may have known, one of our main projects in the last has been the building of our Crescimento Limpo Garden, as a place to compliment the triage process for men and women leaving homelessness. Many of you helped this dream come true and a year after kicking off the process we want to share with you some of the things we have seen God unfold in this place. 

What are your thoughts about the garden after a little more than a year?
It's a place that has generated and given life, in many different ways.             

How complete, how perfect a service for Casa CL: in the process of triage for new people, in the opportunity to work for the residents, and as an entry point for those on the streets with Café/Xic-Xou on Sundays. And even more so to expand our partnerships and opportunities in the city: with our pies, the kitchen space, and hosting the youth group and other events for our community. 

In what wonderful things have you made investments over the last year? 
- Construction: we built a wall; a building with a kitchen, bathroom, and storage area; a reception area, the aquaponics system [greenhouse, fish tanks, produce beds].
- 2 fixed workers from Casa CL to care for the garden and attend the public for sales.
- Hiring a manager to develop the Horta: construction, aquaponics system, and the integration of Casa CL residents into the work.

What are the results of these expenses/investments
that you are seeing?

The picture above represents so well what happens in the CL Garden as a result of these investments. The project of the day was laying a brick floor in the greenhouse to create a space apt to receive groups and host our church youth group. In this picture Zelão and Pedro, our house residents on permanent staff at the garden, are supplying the bricks to Rogerio, our evening house monitor, for him to lay the floor. Welington, homeless at the time but now a house resident, is laying the sand bed for the bricks and Luis, the most recent house resident at the time is leveling out the foundation. In sum, the garden gives us a place to work “shoulder to shoulder” with our residents. It deepens our relationships and allows us to direct our support to those who “put the work” into recovery. 
Smores at the CL Garden
What are the next steps/dreams/actions for the garden? 
At the end of November, we're looking forward to hosting a block party and inviting the neighborhood and church to join us. We also are looking forward to using our kitchen for different activities, including our Miss American Pies   as well as other local culinary specialists who are hoping  to employ CL residents as a part of their work making natural foods, juices, and coffee. We have recently been given access to additional land to begin raising chickens and other produce to sell at the garden as well. 

How do you see the Garden as an extension of the local church in Itu? The Garden has become a place of connection and life shared between church members, homeless individuals in Itu, and our CL House residents. Our Sunday morning breakfast, for example, has become a weekly meeting of food, life stories, and prayer together. The garden has received many individuals who witness the gospel in action, and the influence of a church who serves the community. 

Back to blogging

I have a confession to make as a missionary; I am a lousy reporter.  Its a professional handicap. I'm working on it and this is my new attempt at keeping our work in Brazil transparent and accessable to acompany. I'm also a lousy speller, and my spell check is set to portuguese (as long as I'm confessing, I thought I might as well throw that in there). With these confessions made that may affect your enjoyment of this page, we are reviving our blog! May it serve as a window into our world.
Peace to your home.
Mark and Ali Kaiser