Hannah Abbott, 21, and her father Ken, 54, are on a second mission trip to Lar Efrata Orphanage near Sao Paulo, Brazil.They are members of Covenant Baptist Church on Elm Lane, and last year they went with a large group from the church to help with the children and make repairs. “We completed everything on the list, except the roof on a new building,” Ken said.Ken owns a construction business in Charlotte, but he found it difficult to get materials quickly in Brazil.“It bothered my husband all year long that he didn’t finish that roof,” said Beverly Abbott, Ken’s wife and Hananh’s mom. The roof is on a building that will house a young couple who work at the orphanage. The couple has one son. The director of the orphanage, Marcos, hired them to help with the children because his own wife passed away a few years ago. With 20 children living there, meals and laundry take many hours. The couple and their son are sleeping on a concrete floor in a building with the other workers, so when the new roof is finished, they will have a place of their own. For the second mission trip set for June 5-14, Covenant Baptist Church paid for the supplies, and Ken and Hannah paid for their plane tickets. Going with them is Hannah’s friend, Joy Dotson and her dad, Rick. The Dotsons went last year as well. In Brazil, the four of them will join forces with another group from a Baptist church in Indiana. For Hannah and Joy, it was difficult to leave last year. “It was not anything like I expected it to be,” Hannah said. “The moment we got there, we just fell in love with the kids. It was the kind of love I have never felt before. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life to leave them. I wasn’t expecting that.” Hannah is an elementary education major and junior at Piedmont International University in Winston Salem. “You could tell the children had a bond with each other, but they had never felt the love of a parent,” Hannah said. “There were three little girls who were 6 or 7, and whenever they got hurt, they would go sit down and cry. They didn’t even think about going to someone. We would pick them up and hold them, and they would not let go. It was heartbreaking.” The children speak Portuguese, but Hannah said that didn’t make any difference. “You know how people say that smiling is a universal language,” she said. “I feel like love is the universal language. We didn’t have any trouble interacting with them because they knew we loved them.” Hannah recalls a woman trying to leave her son and baby at the orphanage, because she couldn’t feed them. She remembers two teenage girls who had seen their brother murder their parents. The children come from Sao Paulo, the largest city in the southern hemisphere. Chad Gullion, the pastor of Covenant Baptist Church, is trying to establish a means of adoption between the U.S. and the orphanage, but that is a difficult process. The church’s preschool raised $750 in a “penny wars” contest, which they use to buy supplies for the children. Bedding is also a great need, so the women from the church’s Quilting Ministry made blankets. “We are there to help,” Ken said. “Our prayer is also that they will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our main purpose is to spread the gospel, and we hope they see the gospel through our works. Sometimes that is the only way.”
Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2013
Father, daughter go on second mission to Brazil
Want to help? To contact Covenant Baptist about the mission trip, go to: http://welcometocovenant.com/
Emily Mathias is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Emily? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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