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