One of my jobs at Laget is to apply devotionals in high schools in Sandnes and Stavanger. Our devotionals, in this case, are a lil bit different. The Devotionals are made in an interview model. Sigvart Smith Eide and I developed a very interesting method: we invited the students to sit in a half-circle and we began the interview by reading a Bible verse. And we ended the interview with another Bible verse.
The interview and the questions are based on my life history and the violent daily life of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Yes, I am from Rio de Janeiro and live there. Let me explain: The Favela is a kind of poor community. Rio is divided in a rick part and a poor part with a lot of distance between each other. There are many Favelas and I live in one of them. In the Favela, we don’t have a clean water, security, or safe houses. In this part of city, we don’t have a good schools or good hospitals. Our houses are very small. And it’s a violent place. It’s common that there are a many criminality groups in the Favela, fighting for controlling the traffic of drugs. The favela is like a State inside the official State. Its look alike one place without institutional law but we have a many unwritten, unofficial law inside the favela. It’s gonna be dangerous to drive or walk there if you are foreign or if you we don’t live there.
We believe it is very important to make this interview dynamic because, in this way, we bring a different perspective of what it is to be a Christian in a context of violence, insecurity, where the state cannot solve the problems of society. Where people are treated by the state in a different way, where the laws benefit the rich more than the poor, where black people do not have the same treatments as white people. In these interviews, we talk about how important it is for the church of Christ to make a difference in these spaces.
In a context of violence and social and economic vulnerability, the church must act to preach the gospel of Christ and promote a social welfare for the people. In this context, the people don’t become a Christian just because it’s cool or fancy. It’s not about to have a philosophy to believe. It’s not just to go to the church because you can make some friends and hang out. It’s not about to be a good person and make a some kindness. The real reason for becoming a Christian is because just Christ have a new perspective for your life. Only Jesus Christ can save you and give opportunities for survive.
In Brazil, social and economic vulnerability causes people to have problems with chemical dependence and alcoholism. Many children grow up without parents or many of them often see their mothers being victims of domestic violence. Many young people become involved in crime and drug trafficking and end up dying in conflicts between criminal factions and the police. If you live in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, you can wake up with a bullet in your window or on your wall. In the favelas, unfortunately, it is not possible to trust the police, the state, or the criminal groups. In the favelas of Brazil, it is only possible to believe in Christ to survive.