Latin Link member Verna Langrell was recently part of a team that ran an Arts-based holiday Bible camp on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil.
Verna was joined by her friend Sharon (from DunLaoghaire Evangelical Church) and her sister Heather, plus members of the regular JEAME street team, to do a variety of Arts-based activities for some of the children and teenagers who are on glue/thinner and live on the streets in the centre of the city.
‘Heather and Sharon had flown in from Ireland laden down with 120kg of Art materials that Sharon had donated from her art business,’ says Verna. ‘This was on top of 32kg of donated materials that I brought to Brazil on my return from Ireland in May.’ The materials included lots of punches, stamps and inkpads, peel-offs (which the kids especially loved), embellishments, plus specialised papers, makers and tools.
‘We hit the streets with a selection of the materials during the three-day club. Among the activities that we got the kids involved in were making their own progressive book that each day built on their individual value, and the making of a leatherette wallet to keep it in.’
The participants were presented with the message of Christ in the form of an evangelistic play, with a narrator and team members acting out the creation-to-cross story that included plenty of entertaining impromptu moments. Each kid also made a bracelet that tells the story of Jesus.
‘It was great to see the kids interacting with each other and us and doing art on the streets,’ says Verna. ‘They responded well, and really engaged with the activities. To see these kids concentrating on a tiny detail when doing the Art really showed the benefits that can come from such activities. It’s rare for the kids to be that focused for so long. They even left off their glue-sniffing bags for a while to take part!’
For Verna, it’s been a tremendous opportunity to begin to use some different techniques and activities to reach the kids. But it’s just a start. She continues: ‘We only used a small selection of the arts materials during the camp. I hope to keep on using the materials to do events and activities with the children, teenagers and youth. Art is such an easy way to engage the kids and get a message of Jesus across at the same time.’
The street work is just one part of the picture, though. ‘We may be the ones actually on the streets, but prayer support back home is vital too,’ comments Verna. ‘So do please join with us to pray that the seeds sown in the kids during the camp will take root, that we continue to engage with the kids through these materials, and that the kids meet Jesus through on-going activities.’