May 2020

EMAF: young lives changed by the Gospel

Children at Little Fish

Context

Our ministry partner in Brazil, The Evangelical Mission for Assistance to Fishermen (EMAF), is planting the Kingdom among fishermen and their families based along Brazil’s coastline. These communities live in remote, water-accessed villages. The water sustains them, but just barely and their isolated existence insulates them from the help they need to improve their lives.

Many of the children in these fishing communities live in fear of domestic violence that they witness every day. The father beats the mother, the screams and beatings block the children’s minds from learning, thus leading young people to drugs and prostitution. The fear which comes with poverty stops people from taking steps to help themselves. And this generates a cycle of abandonment, more fear and poverty.

EMAF runs several children’s centres which offer daily programmes where the children receive meals, clothing, shoes and healthcare, as well as spiritual outreach and support for the entire family. The following encouraging stories show us just how big an impact their ministry has on vulnerable young lives.

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’(Matthew 19:14)
Jaine and Ray

Jaíne and Ray’s Story

Jaíne (12) and Ray (8) are siblings who attend one of EMAF’s children’s centres. They would arrive very timid, in dirty uniform, smelling of urine. They would often need to be bathed and have their uniform changed so that their friends could come near to them. Jaíne and Ray’s parents have problems with drugs and alcohol. The family lives in two very tiny rooms with rubbish spread everywhere, causing a terrible smell. Incredibly, thanks to the witness of EMAF and the grace of God, Jaíne put her trust in Jesus last year! EMAF are now helping to free her from fear so that she can live a new life in Christ. They are also working with her brother, Ray, and all the family. They believe that the Word of God, ministered to them daily, will bring hope and security so that, free of fear, they can have a better future.

Kevellyn’s Story

When Kevellyn arrived at one of EMAF’s children’s centres, she was 7 years old (she is now 12). Her parents are not Christians and have a troubled marriage. She goes to church, even without their support, and has been an amazing witness in her home. Her mother often speaks of her obedience and her care of her sisters.

This year, she decided that she wanted to be baptised. Her parents reluctantly allowed it, but her mother did try to convince her not to, arguing that her daughter “would not be able to have fun”. However, Kevellyn was firm and said that she wanted to affirm her commitment with God, through baptism, and wanted everyone to see that she has chosen the Lord Jesus. Her grandmother on her mother’s side is a Christian, and was very happy with the choice her grandchild has made. Praise the Lord for the immense courage of Kevellyn and for EMAF’s witness to her and many other children.

ChildAid Brazil children
My Little Fish team
ChildAid Brazil - Raissa

EMAF see the gradual changes in the lives of the children when God works in their hearts. Many parents haved started coming to church to hear the Word, as they have seen transformation in their children. This brilliant quote is from Josy Evangelista, one of EMAF’s staff members:

How wonderful it is to be a part of a group that leads little ones to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. When I watch the children praying and praising Him, my heart fills with gratitude to Him for allowing us to be a part of His redeeming work. You also are part of this when you pray for, donate to and share with others this wonderful and challenging mission.

The Impact of Covid-19

Having read about the important and life-changing ministry of EMAF, we are sure you can imagine the consequences that the Covid-19 pandemic brings. The current death toll in Brazil is the highest in Latin America. There is strong criticism of how the government has responded to the pandemic. Although there are physical distancing and isolation measures in place, President Bolsonaro has downplayed the virus calling it a “little flu” and has stressed in his televised remarks the need for resuming business in Brazil.

People living in remote coastal and riverside communities in Brazil are facing starvation. Disruptions to regular trade due to Covid-19 are interfering with their access to necessary food supplies. Vessel traffic to these regions has stopped, and food is no longer available. Shortages have doubled and tripled the prices of basic kitchen staples. Families are struggling to survive with the loss of income. The lack of hygiene items also poses a problem. Without access to things like soap, people are more exposed to propagating the virus. EMAF has already identified more than 1,000 families who need assistance. They are waiting on resources to respond with food rations. Please pray that God would provide them with all they need to be able to give urgent support to their beneficiaries.