Lectionary Text and Prayers for Brazil: John 15:1-8
O God of all creation, hear the pleas for justice of the millions of Brazilians who live in sub-human conditions in the rural areas and shanty towns of the cities with inadequate sanitary conditions or water for daily consumption, often with no schools or health facilities and jobs, and inadequate transportation; who suffer all kinds of violence including social and economic injustice.
Guide the leaders of this great country to make laws that will give these people the dignity they deserve as citizens. Help these politicians to understand that if the vine is not healthy, good quality fruit will not be produced. The nourishment to produce good fruit requires that all the things that are lacking for millions of Brazilians be provided so that this country may grow in production and fair distribution to the people as well as contribute to the world Brazil's diversity, natural resources and gifts.
We praise you for the community health educators who share with the families they visit daily, their lives, frustrations, concerns, fears as well as joys. These health educators are neighbors of these shanty town families and suffer the same anxieties. They suffer with their patients the lack of adequate hospitals, or doctors trained in specialties, such as cancer and cardiology as well as the lack of medicines or ability to purchase them. They live in the same community where poor sanitary conditions and violence affect them as well as their patients, yet they continue to show the love of Christ as they listen and try to do what is possible for them.
Guide them, merciful God, and give them the strength and patience to continue even though they are underpaid and overworked. Help them to know that they are showing the love of Christ in their daily work and are his missionaries. Help them to continue to have pride in their profession as health educators and see the positive results of their work.
Guide the leaders of this country so that they may make the laws necessary to benefit these millions of Brazilians; that they may put aside their individual political and financial gains to work in benefit of the people who elected them especially those who are the victims of social, economic injustice. Help them to understand that the corruption so apparent to these people is not the correct attitude of sisters and brothers in Christ.
Guide the middle and upper classes to understand that as long as one child goes to be hungry; as long as this class inequality exists, there will always be violence, drugs and corruption affecting all classes.
(Prayer written by Rev. Barb de Souza)
Global Ministries International Partners:
- Instituto de Estudos de Religião, ISER (Institute for Religions Studies) Involved in research and religious studies as they affect social/economic/racial/sexual policies. An ecumenical institution, which publishes books and articles about religion and religious issues, ISER is active in educational programs, such as health and sexuality, women's programs, special school programs for adolescents and action for the betterment in all these categories.
- Association of Community Health Educators (AECS) A non-profit (NGO) Association formed in 1996 by the Global Ministers Missionary, Barb de Souza, and students of the training course for Community Health Educators. In 1999, the City Health Dept. of Rio de Janeiro, signed a contract (renewable every 2 years) for the financial support of the Family Health Program in the Shantytown of Canal do Anil where these women had been working as volunteers since the founding of the Association. The family health program promotes health education and health care in economically poor areas. The Association's family health clinic has 3 doctors, 3 nurses and 6 nurses assistants, 18 health educators, a dentist and 2 assistants, a social worker and administrator. The city has not yet approved financial support for the Association's rehabiitation center, with the 3 physical therapists and teacher but we still hope the value of this program as part of a basic health program, will be recognized in an area where there is no such treatment for lower income famies. http://www:aecsprojetobrasil.com.br/
- Igreja Presbiteriana Unida do Brasil (United Presbyterian Church of Brazil)
- Ascociacion de Igrejas Metodistas do Brasil (Association of Methodist Churches of Brazil) http://www.metodista.org.br/
- Igreja Evangelica Congregacional do Brasil (Evangelical Congregational Church of Brazil) http://www.iecb.org.br/
Global Ministries Missionary:
Rev. Barb de Souza is a Global Ministries long-term volunteer with the Global Ministries and the Brasilian Partner, ISER, Institute of Relgious Studies, serving as an advisor and teacher of popular education in the areas of sexuality leading to women's empowerment. She retired in 2002 after 16 years as a health education missionary for Global Ministries and in 1996 became a long term volunteer of the Global Minstries´ new international partner, the Association of Community Health Educators. She is coordinator/director of the Family Health Program, a city financed program in contract with the Association of Community Educators which administers it in a 3 building clinic that was built and is maintained by the Association.