We do an act where one of us wears the costume of a homeless man and walks about begging. I am in the back ground acting as an artist, drawing the homeless man. I watch as a man ignores him and won’t help (one of my brothers playing the part) and then finally a young man stops, gives him his coat and cares for him (another one of my siblings plays the part). At the end I, as the artist, show the picture that I have been “drawing” and it is of the face of Jesus, conveying what Jesus said, “whatever you do to the least of My brothers, you do to Me. (Mt.25:40)” This is always a very powerful theatrical act and encourages others to care about each other and to care for those less fortunate. When we did this act for the first time down town Brazil, as my brother was acting homeless and begging, people from the crowd came out to give him something and care! They wanted to show they got it. One of the guys that came up was actually homeless himself, and had a few extra coins. We also do a version of this in prisons where instead of conveying a homeless man, we convey a prisoner who is sad and another prisoner cares about him.
After a few phone calls, we were able to set up a meeting with the director of the main prison which is one of the worst in the nation. It was pouring the day we visited and rain poured through the roof and many areas of the prison were flooded. The director and his first and second in command were extremely kind and grateful that we would be willing to come there. They took us on a complete tour and showed us everything in the prison and how bad the conditions are (because of severe overcrowding).
There is a long history of abuse, gangs and violence in the Brazilian prison system. This particular prison had to be taken over by the military because the situation got so bad. It is now run by the army, verses the state prison system. The entire guard prisoner relationship seems to hang on a thin thread, compared to other prisons where there is somewhat of a chemistry.
Sincerity is clearly seen in a person, and it is our greatest weapon to counter the hypocrisy of the many churches that bombard these prisons and seek to take advantage of others. People often just cannot understand our motives to do what we do and to do it free of charge and are often skeptical that we have a hidden motive our unseen charge or something. They do not understand why we would give up everything and come here to them.The answer is simple, If Jesus gave all that He gave for us, giving Him our lives is the very least we can do.
As we had coffee with the director we organized events and he spoke of his desire that eventually, we could reach the whole prison (over 6,000). The patio where we were going to visit was flooded out the day we were set to perform and so they made an exception and allowed prisoners to visit the auditorium normally meant only for staff so they could see us perform from on stage.
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