Vila Feliz is a favela (slum community) of about 5,000 people that our partner church, in Joao Pesso, Brazil, MIRR, adopted as their community in 2004. MIRR started with identifying the immediate needs of the community by surveying those who had lived there for years. At the onset of MIRR's involvement with Vila Feliz, they discovered the most pressing needs were proper shelter and illiteracy. MIRR worked closely with the local government, other non-profits, and churches throughout northeast Brazil and the United States to address those needs.
In 2004, The Father's House gave a generous financial gift which aided the purchase of a plot of land in the northeast area of Vila Feliz. Over the next few years, MIRR was able to build a community center which has served a variety of purposes including a site for literacy programs for both children and adults. Additionally, the center provides on-going counseling and therapy through volunteer counselors and psychologists. In 2008, MIRR established a separate non-profit entity called Instituto um27 or Institute 27, taken from James 1:27. The contextual purpose of um27 is to provide a place of rescue, rehabilitation, and restoration to families needing help. Since 2010, The Father's House has been supporting um27 both financially as well as sending short-term missions teams to serve in areas most needed.
We believe when people engage in service, it leads to life change. Our short-term trips provide opportunities for people to serve together in various locations around the world. Our belief is that as people chose to serve, whether in one of our churches, in the local community, or around the world, the impact of that service will change lives—for those serving, for the people they serve, and even for those that see them choosing to give their time to help someone else.
For those of you who have not gotten involved, we hope this will be the year you choose to begin a lifestyle of service. And to those who are serving, we just want to say thank you. You are the reason the mission is being accomplished.