Our Work

Our story was required as part of the application to the US government for Vá Livre’s tax-free status. It was written in 2009.


The Street Work

Food given to the hungry. Sandwiches and milk, baby formula, rice and beans, juice. Every week we feed 100 or more street kids lunch.We visit them one other time per week bringing rice and beans or juice and crackers.We always give baby formula, whole cans, for each of the babies.

Clothes given to the naked and/or semi naked. About three times a year, currently, but ideally once a month, we distribute clothes, underclothes, and sandals.These items have been given to us, goods donated from home and we pay to ship them here.Very seldom, but it has happened, we will have a need for clothes and we have none available, so we will go buy them here.This has happened 3 or 4 times only, thank God.

Medicine given. Most of these kids on the street are sick.They are living in awful conditions, among garbage. Many times we arrive to find them digging through garbage to find something to eat. Common illnesses are intestinal infection, eye infections, open cuts on feet or elsewhere that get infected, coughs that won’t go away and turn into infections. If very bad, we get them to a clinic to be attended by a doctor. Most of the time antibiotic drops for the eye, ointments for the skin and tablets for the infections, with the recommendation of the doctor, are all we need to buy.We also keep gauze, bandages, and anti bacterial spray to help on the spot. Sometimes, we are obliged to pay for a blood test for the doctor to determine what the problem is.Teenage girls who are pregnant, we bring for pre-natal care to the public hospital and pay the US$4 for an ultrasound.There are slight fees involved with all the tests and services at the public hospitals; very seldom do these fees exceed US$20. Only in one or two cases have we paid a bit more because the person we accompanied had no identification and no proof of Brazilian citizenship.

Rehabilitation. If any of the kids on the streets ask for help with their addiction, we will bring them to a Christian rehab center that we have visited and just started to work with and work in. It is located a little outside of the city of Natal and we brought our first street kid their, a 19 yr. old named Bruno, this week.We will be supporting them with food and soap and towels and sheets and clothes.We have commited to helping with Bruno’s keep during the time he is there; we will be giving US$150 month towards that.We are hoping to be able to bring more kids that need help as possible.


The Orphanage

Food. Every week we make a list, of the food and grocery items like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, shampoo and soap and deodorant, needed at the orphanage and we purchase it at a wholesale distributor in the city of Natal.

Clothes. Twice a year we give each child a new set of clothes and underclothes and shoes.These are used items that are donated by people at home that we know or that have heard of our work.At Christmas time we cook a special Christmas dinner and each child gets a couple of presents, wrapped and with their name on them.These presents are also items that have been donated to us, like small stuffed animals.

Activities. Each week we do an activity with the kids. Some examples are: crafts, coloring, “hairdos” giving all the kids a trim and a “do”; the girls get ribbons and bow and clips.We give shampoo and toothbrushes and toothpaste.We bake cakes and put together a party for any of the birthdays that come around.

Cleaning. We buy cleaning supplies and help clean and organize.We teach the kids to help keep things organized and the older kids help to clean.With 22 kids in the house, it is imperative that everything be maintained in order.

Repairs. Mark does the “handyman” work around the orphanage. Recently, the bunk beds were falling apart, the kids had no clothes storage and the kitchen things were stacked on top of the little counter space there is, so Mark bought plywood and made: Shelves for the kitchen, storage units with room for folded and hanging clothes for the bedrooms, shelves for the food pantry, he fixed the tables and chairs and the kids’ bunk beds. After that, we were determined to bring running water to the orphanage, so we bought toilets, sinks, faucets, and shower units and that project is in the works.The refrigerator was old and it was no surprise when it broke.We bought a large, new fridge about three months ago.

The Village of Aningas

Food. There is a constant need for food supplies.We supply: rice, beans, flour, sugar, coffee, oil, pasta, couscous.We deliver the food to those without any. Mark recently built a large food pantry so that we can buy things wholesale and have them available to distribute.

Clothes. Only twice have we had enough to distribute clothes and shoes to the whole town, but we do bring clothes in medium sized quantities all year, as we receive used clothes donations from home.

Orphans. There are twin babies that were born last September and orphaned the next day.We took on the responsibility of clothing them, keeping them in diapers and formula and spent several months transporting and caring for the girl twin,Vitoria Elisabetta, when she failed to thrive. (She’s doing great now, thank God)

Medicine. The Gov’t appointed doctor used to arrive once a month, for 1 hour in the morning, and attend to 10-15 people, of the 2,500 inhabitants of Aningas. He would write prescriptions and leave the village. Needless to say, the village is in the middle of the bush; there is no pharmacy.We would collect the prescriptions, drive to the city, and get the prescriptions filled.Then, we would deliver them.The doctor no longer comes at all because he was never paid by the gov’t. Our current job is to try to find a doctor in the city who will volunteer his/her time. Baby Michel needs a heart operation and his fingers and toes and tongue are purplish blue. He is entitled to the operation free, but needed blood tests, all his identification papers and several rides into Natal to get all these things. For parents that do not have the money for food, a US $20.79 blood test, a US$3 for an ID photo and US$40 for his RG (ID card with photo and fingerprint) and CPF (like a social security number) along with the 4 two hour round trip excursions to the city (we took mom and baby and auntie and cousin with us!) this would have been impossible for the family to even dream of. US$63.79 and a couple tanks of gas; for the life of this precious child.

Work training, lessons in woodworking and crafts. The people here are longing for work, but have no jobs. Often, they stop school after the 5th grade.We are working with 60 women in the village to set up a craft-based cooperative.There are several Federal Government programs that offer help to start a cooperative, so we help them learn a trade or craft, set up a place for them to work, and go with them on the arduous task of asking for help from their gov’t. Once this has been done, they start their work.We help them to sell their product; often we go to stores in the city, at the airport, in tourist spots and on the beaches.Their gov’t registers the cooperative as owned by the women and gives them an ID# and tax free status.We help them by buying raw materials, supplies and teaching them how to organize their business, how to price their products, how to sell their goods.We work alongside of them and encourage them, often the biggest thing we do for them is to help them build their self-esteem. Note: there are 2 such cooperatives that we have established.This one mentioned is in the village of Aningas; the other is in the slum or favela called the Planalto. Neither is independent yet, but the women are working hard towards being able to say,“Bye” to us.

The Schools.

We teach in the the elementary school in Aningas and in the middle school in the town of Coqueiros, about 6 miles away from Aningas.We give notebooks, pencils, and pens to each child. Each child gets a toothbrush and toothpaste and we teach them how to brush their teeth properly.The school itself we supply with paper.We teach English and Art and Music.We have lessons that have included Geography and Photography. Each school year we do a school photograph for each student.We matte them and deliver them, to the joy and wonder of the teachers, the children themselves and their parents.We have given one used computer to the school in Aningas and a copier/printer. Mark made desks and we bought chairs for the kids and Mark made tables and benches for a place to sit while eating.We put lights in the school in Aningas because there was only one light per room and the school is in seesion from 7 am to 10 pm.We brought drinking water to the school and bought a drinking bubbler so, in this hot climate the kids have water to drink.

The Service

Our motive and our heart. While we give a lot of food to the hungry, a lot of clothes to the ill clothed and various other things that we have listed above, the motive of our service is the one commodity that’s worth cannot be estimated.We believe that God Himself saw each of these people’s needs.We believe that God Himself heard their cries for help.And we know that God Himself took us from our comfortable life and sent us to serve and to minister to each of the people that we meet.Through us, the very God of heaven is reaching out to answer the prayer of these people. God does answer prayer.We get to see it happen every day. So, if you’re reading this, talk to Him, go ahead, ask Him to prove Himself to you. He cannot fail.