“Bem-Vindo Brasil” or "Welcome, Brazil!" Helping Hands Foreign Missions would like to welcome and introduce the ministry of Vinde Meninos which means “come children.” This ministry was established in 1977 to serve and care for orphans. It is a children’s outreach of Word of Life in Atibaia, Brazil. This ministry shares our same heart and vision, “Discipling children to be followers of Christ by investing in their spiritual, physical, and educational development to establish community-focused families grounded in Biblical values.” Many lives have been changed through the program, one of which is Ana Paula.
Ana Paula is only 14 years old, and God is writing her story with His love. When she was 5, her parents looked for a place to leave her while they had to work. That’s how she came to be in Vinde Meninos, a place where she found safety, nourishment, and especially the care of the tios (caregivers) as well as contact with the Word of God.
However, when Ana Paula was 7, her father, an alcoholic, caused an automobile accident and died. Because of this, her mother fell into deep depression and started showing signs of psychiatric problems. Ana and her siblings were sent to a children’s shelter where they suffered considerably and where they could not remain. Those who cared for them were kind, but with so many other children, the conditions were precarious at best. They remained there for a few months until their aunt obtained custody over Ana and her siblings. What a relief for them!
Ana returned to Vinde Meninos. It has been six years, and she continues to attend. Ana is hard-working and gets good grades at school. Even though she lives with her aunt, she always tries to help her mother, accompanying her to the doctor and seeing that she gets her medication, as well as caring for her younger siblings.
Recently, she witnessed the arrest of her elder brother for drug possession and theft. It was a very sad day for this young and overburdened girl. But do you know what makes her smile? Singing and dancing to praise the Lord. Ana attends a Christian Church and tenderly remembers the first Bible lessons she learned at Vinde Meninos where she was discipled by one of the American tias who served there.
Today, she continues to study the Bible, and her favorite verse is Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” Indeed, dear Ana, the Lord is with you, and we at Vinde Meninos witness up close how you walk closely beside Him.