The news report gives the low-down here, but Randy shares details of how it all came about.
Our camp site, known as Maná do Senhor (Manna from the Lord), was getting to be costly and the Boa Vista church, which has always maintained it, floated the idea of selling it some 3+ years ago. They could no longer afford to keep it up and to some extent churches in the area had lost interest in using it.
They called a meeting of local church to discuss what to do. They said they would turn it over to whoever would like to try and make a go of it. No one offered until I finally did in the name of EBNESR ministry training school.
I did make some stipulations, like allowing outside groups to rent it. It was agreed to. I made some improvements in it like installing a pool that I thought would bring the brethren back. It did not. We did gain a bit of support from outside groups but I could not see myself running a camp for denominational groups!
Since taking over the camp we have worked in the poor community surrounding the camp site with a campaign from EBNESR and by placing a student to live there. Work started with the children of the area and continues.
Unfortunately, we were not able to make enough money to offset costs to run the camp. I approached Mike Pruitt after about 2 years and asked what Boa Vista would do if I turned it back to them. He said sell immediately as they were in a more difficult position financially now that when they turned it over to me.
I said it is a shame to lose such a valuable property to the Lord’s work. He agreed. We started brainstorming.
We have had the desire to have an orphanage for over 20 years, but no one took the bull by the horns. I mentioned turning it into an orphanage and Mike perked up. He thought it was a great idea.
Of course, as with most of our great ideas there is no money for that. I did start after that meeting asking around. I was aware of the deal worked out between the orphanage in the States and Lar Cristão (Christian home in São Paulo). I knew we would need a similar partnership in the beginning if this were to get off the ground.
I also remembered that Alvaro Melo had started working at a children’s home in Alabama. I contacted him by email. He is familiar with our camp facility so he started talking to people.
At the beginning of 2008 we started having regular meetings, calling brethren from local churches of Christ here in Recife to participate in planning an orphanage at the camp site. Interest mounted. The meetings were held at the Boa Vista congregation’s building as it is the most central and because Boa Vista is officially the owner of the property. Boa Vista’s elders agreed to donate the property to be used for this purpose.
Alvaro Mello wrote me again and asked if a medical clinic would work out there. I said yes. He had a doctor, a deacon at a local church who was interested in starting a medical clinic in another country. He had been working with one in Romania for years.
The doctor started talking to others at the Hartselle church of Christ about this possibility, and several expressed interest in working with an orphanage. It seems they have worked for years not only with the medical clinic in Romania, but also with an orphanage there, and the church was looking to expand their outreach in another country. They were interested in the possibilities and planned a trip to get first-hand information.
At ENOC/CRE (church workers’ meetings held in April) this year in São Paulo I had the opportunity to talk with Maciel Vieira who had recently resigned as the director of the Christian Home in Cabreuva, state of São Paulo. I thought it would be a good idea for Maciel to be present when the group from Hartselle came down to look over the possibilities. He agreed to be present.
On April 2-8, 2008, preacher Phillip Hines, deacon Andy Dukes, James Kifer, elder Tom Sneed and Alvaro Mello, former evangelist to Brazil, traveled here to check out the opportunity first-hand.
This committee was from the Hartselle Church Of Christ, 700 Sparkman St. SW, P.O. Box 741, Hartselle, AL 35640. Phone number: (256) 773-6124; Fax number: (256) 773-8339. Email addresses: Phillip Hines firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Sneed email@example.com
They seemed to be impressed with the work already being done there with poor children of the area and with the possibilities for a children’s home. They were also impressed with Maciel Vieira and asked him if he would be interested in moving to Recife to help start and run the children’s home, if indeed it was decided they would do that.
Upon return to the U.S., one of the committee members, James Kifer, immediately began to supply funds for the conversion of the camp into an orphanage. After deliberation the eldership at Hartselle accepted the challenge of overseeing this work. Maciel was hired as the director.
The committees that had been meeting in Recife organized into a directorship and papers have been drawn up for the non-profit organization called L.A.R. Maná. In July of this year Maciel moved to Recife with his family and work is continuing on a security wall and soon should start on renovations to prepare the property for use as a children’s home. The idea is to run it pretty much like the children home in Cabreuva is being run which includes separate units with house parents. The large dormitory building will be converted into 4 to 6 separate apartments capable of housing families with up to 12 children being cared for.
Maciel can be contacted in Recife at (81) 9907-7438.
Randy Short, president of EBNESR Ministry Training School
Randy & Kathy Short
Rua Capitão Zuzinha 381 Apt 602
Boa Viagem, Recife-PE 51030-420 Brasil
Randy (81) 9182-5409 Celular
Kathy (81) 9167-7700 Celular