CHRIST LIGHT OF THE WORLD, a parish under my charge as Archdeacon, started an extension centre named, BREAD OF LIFE (see picture...Pan De Vida means Bread Of Life) about 5 years ago.
Here's the story: We started a breakfast programme with some of the poorer children from the neighbourhoods near the parish. The work began as an initiative by the lay people and grew rapidly.
It was only a matter of time before the parish saw the need to not only feed the children but to also meet their pastoral/spiritual needs. This got us involved with the families of the children; we saw first hand the destructive impact of poverty over families and neighbourhoods. Most of the children come from a neighbourhood called 2nd of April (in Bolivia, some of the streets and neighbourhoods are named after significant dates in the country's history).
2nd of April is a rough neighbourhood; children grow up in the midst of drunkeness, poverty and abandonment. Inspite of this we have seen the Lord move in wonderful ways; Jesus truly does heal the broken hearted; He gives hope to the downtrodden. We've had the priviledge of seeing lives change before our very eyes. Its takes time of course but the miracle of Christ's transforming power is not a gimmick but a reality! "Michael" (not the real name!) is the only male child in the family. He does not enjoy a good relationship with his mother nor does he go to school. He simply drifted in the neighbourhood; did some drugs and makes a buck or two cleaning cars. His sad and lost look used to make us feel impotent. The Lord however began to work in his life: he now attends church every Sunday and youth ministry; his infectious smile together with a changed atitude surprised many. "Michael" continues to struggle but we know that he is on the right path. Without Jesus he would have probably fallen into drug addiction and ruined his life. Praise The Lord!!
This is a first in a series of special posts concerning Bread Of Life (Pan De Vida).