Corenne and Phil minister to children who are part of a residential program that rescues homeless street children and youth ranging in age from 8 to 18. The program provides guidance, education, and training for future employment. All students have completed a paid internship and are employed before they leave the program. Corenne works mainly with the older children, working with them on life skills so that they can eventually transition away from a boarding school to independent living. Corenne also serves as a surrogate mother to many of the children, sharing with them the love of Jesus. After experiencing day-to-day living in a safe, caring Christian environment, most of these children make decisions to follow Christ. Philip Smith is the president and CEO of the residential program, Hope Unlimited for Children, which was founded in 1991. Philip is an associate missionary serving in Brazil in a joint appointment by International Ministries and Hope Unlimited International.
Corenne writes – Greetings as I am back on Brazilian soil! Many thanks for your dedicated prayers and support in getting me here. The problem is, only ¼ of our family is here in Vitoria, Brazil – me! Though I am thrilled to be here, part of me is feeling so strange with the rest of the family not around. Philip, Marc and Bella are trapped stateside in Indiana as travel restrictions are prohibiting us from being together. Marc is putting his free time to good use. He has put away his video games and he is trying to get an old 1994 Ford Mustang back on the road.
Even though we are apart, I can still feel God’s hand in having me here during this rough time on Hope Mountain. Many issues that people are struggling with are interpersonal ones. That is an area that aligns with my skill set. Much of the staff and house parents are still struggling with a leadership void that occurred when our beloved coordinator Fernando tragically passed away in a car accident. The boys are having a difficult time as well. They are searching for leadership as well, amongst themselves. Many have run away. Some have come back. Others are dealing with drug rehabilitation, and a few have some health concerns. All of this is topped off by what you are dealing with as well: The Corona virus and having to shelter in place. As of Thursday, March 19th, we’ve been in lockdown with our front gates completely locked. It’s difficult running this place normally, much less, when most of our staff is away in their homes, to stop the spread of the virus. Our cooking staff is also leaving and only our maintenance coordinator Marcone, is left, because of the many roof repairs that he is working on.
We are blessed that the Lord provided a month’s worth of food for us to stock up on. Since then, there are now shortages everywhere. With the lack of staff, each of us has had to do double or triple duty, in caring for all of the boys, cooking and cleaning up after them.
Could you please uplift our prayer requests?
The Corona virus – because we’re isolated, it’s a good thing. Still, we live in close proximity to each other. Also, with some of our kids running away and returning as well as our staff being away, but eventually coming back, there’s always the threat of infection. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will protect us.
Health – Our house parent Anderson has been fighting a bad illness. One of our boys has pneumonia and is in isolation. Others are sick. We have some masks but they are of poor quality.
Crime – Outside of our gates, there is a lot of lawlessness going on. Street people are dying and it’s not the police who are doing it. Our cook Rosalena was recently robbed on the bus and her cell phone was taken. Please pray for protection.
Drugs – Most of the boys that are given to us are drug addicted and are detoxing now.
Discernment – Our office staff is not here but will be re-evaluated within two weeks. Should they come back? Should they stay away? With the Corona virus, it makes every decision so crucial.
Future – With the food shortages now, will we be able to acquire what we need a month from now? Will we be able to prevent the Corona virus from infecting our campus?
Family – Bella, our daughter has asthma attacks. Getting her to a Brazilian hospital in this current Corona environment is really hard. Please pray for her health to stabilize before they return to Brazil. We had planned for Marc, our son, to return to the U.S. in May to start at a new school. With the outbreak, everything is up in the air. Marc’s schooling is of huge importance to us, and finding the exact school to meet his needs (spiritual, educational, life skills, etc) is crucial. It is a heavy burden for us.
Thank you for your support and many heartfelt prayers. We need them! The Lord has provided each of you to be a blessing to us as we try to bless the youth of Brazil. To God be the glory!