If I had to sum the common theme of this month I would say the word children. The reason that I say that is because we had two events that stressed the importance of caring for our children. First, CDR did an outreach called "safe touch", and we had our annual March for Jesus and one of the strong messages of the march was a quote by Dietrich Bonheoffer which states "The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children."
CDR had an outreach to the local schools presented to one school each semester and the message we came to give was about "safe touch". Sexual and physical abuse is a major problem here in Altamira, Brazil, and the whole world. The implications of abuse on a child's life can be catastrophic. Child abuse and neglect can affect all domains of development - physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral and social - which are often interrelated. It is our hope that we could make children aware of abuse, and give them a better understanding of what is abuse. We used different mediums to teach the children the rights and wrongs of appropriate touch. The CDR students played games with the kids, the teachers performed a theatrical play about safe touching, and then Elba taught the children about safe touching. We also opened the door for students that may have or are experiencing abuse to come and talk with us or to talk with their teachers. The director of the school was so appreciative to CDR for taking the time and effort to share about safe touching. It is our great hope that through this time of interaction these children will be in a better position to ask for help and recognize when they are being abused.
In addition, we also had our March for Jesus. It is an annual event that is not only here in Altamira but throughout Brazil. We had thousands of people come out to publicly testify to their faith and to walk around the city and pray. It was a huge success and people were dancing in the streets in celebration. I always love it when multiple churches from a variety of denominations can come together under the banner of Jesus Christ and give Him praise. We hear so many times why one church is different from another and we can get fixated upon our differences instead of embracing our similarities. The body of Christ united together as one whole body is a wonderful and magnificent thing, and one that I will always be proud to be a part.
On July 4th Alyssa celebrated her 7th birthday. She had a great time and she had a bunch of friends come over to celebrate. I say this often, but time sure goes by quickly. Even knowing that and trying to enjoy the moments, it continues to fly by so quickly. I guess this is just the way life is in regards to time. Let's continue to enjoy the moments and be grateful to the Lord for His grace and mercy in our lives. Also pictured are Camilly, Alyssa and their friends on the stage at the March for Jesus. As the man worshipped the Lord, they danced in celebration. It was great to watch.
Please continue to pray for spiritual, physical, and emotional health for us.
Love and blessings, Steve, Elba, Camilly and Alyssa
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