In the coming few months a lot of things are changing for us as a family. We are welcoming a new family member in January, Levi’s curacy is coming to an end and we are joining Church Mission Society as Mission Partners, to work with those living on the streets in Goiania-Brazil. As you can imagine we feel a mixture of things. We are saddened that we are going to have to say goodbye to our family and friends in the UK, and particularly sad to leave St Andrew’s. However, we are also hugely excited for the next season in our journey with God. It is a season of change, but it is also a season of growing in faith, believing the impossible and learning to trust that the God who calls makes a way.
According to a UN-Habitat study (2012), Goiania is the 10th most unequal city in the world and the most unequal city in Latin America (in terms of income distribution). According to recent research, it is also considered the 29th most dangerous city in the world. All of this added to the oppression of the poor, lack of education and health care provision makes this “prosperous” city a horrible place to live if you are “invisible” and at the margins of society.
In January 2015, during a short visit to Goiania, we were struck by the huge number of people (many children) who were living on the streets of the city centre. In Goiania, formerly known as a sleepy city with a countryside atmosphere, people are now using and dealing drugs in broad day light. We talked to a local pastor about it all and he described the situation as a “crack epidemic” that was out of control. It was also clear that although there are many churches in the city centre, and in fact all over the city, very few organisations or churches are doing work to support people who are living on the streets or struggling with addiction.
Our aim is to reach out to the most marginalised living on the streets of the city centre (particularly crack-cocaine addicts and children), support and train local leadership, and equip the church for local mission. In partnership with a local church we hope to set up a food bank, and to form and train a team to work on the streets looking for ways to share the Gospel of Jesus with them (Street Church), as well as providing food, clothes and dignity through hair cuts and other small treatments (Social Bank).
What do we need?
We hope to move to Oxford in April 2017 (for 3 months) to go through the required training provided by Church Mission Society, then move to Goiania in July/August 2017. Hence, in the coming months a number of things need to happen ahead of the move:
- We are selling up, and giving most of our personal belongings and furniture away.
- We need to raise financial support as we move from paid work to living from gift income as missionaries – this needs to happen before our training starts in April 2017 (we have raised a fifth of what we need).
- We need to find a new school for Nicolas both in Oxford and Goiania.
- Oh yeah, and we need to have a baby in January!
How could you help us?
You can help us in at least two ways:
1 – Pray and sign-up to receive our Link Letters, with up to date prayer needs.
2 – Support us financially, making our ministry in Goiania possible.
To sign-up to receive Link Letters and to give towards our ministry please go to http://churchmissionsociety.org/people-in-mission/debora-and-levi-santana
If you have any question please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you!