I Can't Stop Thinking About this Wall

Sitio, Rio de Janeiro

This wall has a story.

Last month I traveled to Rio de Janeiro for the first Acts 29 church planting conference in Brazil. While there I visited Sitio, an adjoining community of the City of God (Cidade de Deus) slum. Think: absolute poverty. The paths are littered with clothes and feces. The air smells of rotting food and marijuana. One source of “fresh” water. Kids run barefoot, with open wounds, without supervision. Wild pigs gorge themselves on piles of garbage. Houses are constructed from trash. Few men are to be found.

While there I was told the story of this wall. Until a major police raid several months ago, drug lords ran Sitio. It was a major center for trafficking. These men had a simple way of enforcing their version of the law - execution. They did their work here, against this wall. The holes in the wall were left by bullets used to kill these offenders, whose bodies were then left in the garbage for the pigs to feed on.

Sitio, Rio de Janeiro

Disgusting. Heart-breaking. Horrifying. Humbling.

What is the Christian response to a community such as this? Plant a church there. That’s exactly what Ibarra Presbyterian did two months ago. This space is now used as the primary children’s ministry area for this newly formed church plant. This wall that used to bounce bullets, now bounces balls of children learning about Jesus. You can read more this church HERE.

Where is this wall in your city? How will you and your church redeem it?