Feijoada, Rice, Farofa and Juice on the Streets!

Rita, Layane, Natalia and I before we head out.



Ponta Negra stop. “We were so hungry,” they told us.



Everyone gets a Bible.



“Hey! Your feijoada is pretty good, for a gringa!”


“Can we have more?” (Yes!)



Waiting in line. Rita dishes out the beans, I scoop the rice, Natalia sprinkles the farofa and puts the spoon in the bowl. Mark gives out the Bibles.

So many happy faces, lots of hugs and everyone had plenty to eat.

Knowing His Provision and Protection

On Friday morning, we set out for the clinic again, at 6am with Lizandra, Dona Geralda and Natalia & Layane. We dropped them off at the clinic and ran some errands in the meantime – bank, bills, Nordestão (the major grocery store here). Lori picked out 60 fresh rolls from the bakery, planning to make ham & cheese sandwiches for a young group of street kids that appeared at a street corner in Natal a few weeks ago.

Why only 60 sandwiches, you ask? We usually take 500, yes. Unfortunately, last Wednesday morning, Mark’s truck wouldn’t go into gear. Welcome to Brazil. The mechanic told us it would take 20-30 business days for them to get all the necessary parts to fix the truck. So, street feedings like we normally do won’t be possibly for the next month (or more). Please pray for a speedy repair job for Mark’s truck! Thankfully, the day after we arrived here, we rented a little four-door Ford car for me to use for the month, so we still have two operational vehicles.




After our errands, we drove back to the clinic and picked up the ladies. Dona Geralda got a good report from the cardiologist; he wants to see her back in two months to ensure the lower doses of medications he prescribed continue to work. Now, back to Dona Geralda’s house to drop off her and Liz, and then back to our house with Natalia & Layane. After lunch, Lori, Nonna and the girls put together the ham & cheese sandwiches (I was napping in the hammock 😳😴). At 4pm, we set out for the city with the sandwiches, looking for the kids on the street corner that Lori had seen them. It was still light out when we got there, and the stores on the corners were open – the kids wouldn’t be coming until the shops were closed up for the night and it was dark. So we sat in the car at the corner for about 20min (sunset here is around 5:30pm, so we weren’t waiting too long). The shops closed up, but still no kids. Determined to find them, we drove around the city for a half hour or so, looking. Just as we were about to give up, a family showed up at the corner – parents with two young girls, sitting against the wall, packing up peanuts in little bags to sell at the traffic light.




We hopped out and started handing out the sandwiches, chocolate milk and tracts. Natalia immediately hit it off with the two little girls, and played peekaboo with them using their cardboard mat. It didn’t take long for some other people across the street to come over – adults, but homeless nonetheless. They told us that usually the kids hang out here at night, and that they should be coming soon. We stayed out there for awhile, chatting with the people and offering refills on the chocolate milk.

Coincidentally, one of the ladies from the favela Leningrado walked by, with her husband and 5-month old baby, Anna Luisa. They were on their way home from the city, walking to the bus stop. Lori talked with Sabrina while Natalia held sweet Anna Luisa.




Unfortunately, only two more little boys showed up – not the usual 20-30 kids that Lori had been seeing. But, we made new contacts, and handed out the Word. God had in mind some different mouths to feed than we had intended. His ways are higher than ours.




Leaving the city, we headed straight to Aningas to bring home Natalia and Layane. Nonna & Papa had come with us for the street feeding, so it was a full car- them, the girls, me and Lori. We crossed the bridge out of the city, and made it onto the BR-101, which is the main road to Aningas. All of a sudden, we heard a very strange, loud noise at the back of the SUV, like a whirring, whistling sound of a wire vibrating in the air. Haha, sorry for the bad description… but was very strange. And less than a minute later, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk – we had a flat tire! Dead flat.




We pulled over to side of the BR, and put on the fourways. Let me take a quick detour to tell you a few things about the BR…it’s a one-lane highway, speed limit 80km/hr, with ZERO lights, and about 8″ worth of space for a “breakdown lane.” And the cell phone service on the BR is next to none. Yeah. And our back right tire was flat.

By the grace of God, we were in a spot with just enough cell service to call the house and inform Mark & William of our state of emergency, who immediately came to our rescue (which was 20min later). Luckily, this wasn’t Mark’s first rodeo, and with William’s help, they had the tire changed in less than 15 minutes! Lori, William, and Nonna & Papa drove home in the SUV, and Mark and I took the girls home to Aningas. We got home around 8:45pm. Not too shabby, considering the day’s events!




We take His provisions for granted far too often. How great, and gracious is our God. We are so thankful for His protection. There are so many other scenarios that could have played out last night. The fact that we got the flat tire in a spot on the highway WITH cell service is a miracle itself. Changing a flat on the BR is exceptionally dangerous, but we all made it home safely, thanks to His preserving hand. We’ll see what tomorrow brings for adventures!

Caring for the Animals



Every horse and donkey here has a burn on its nose from the heat and pressure of the metal noseband it wears, working all day. Here are the first 3, of hopefully many more, that I’ve been able to fit with a cotton piece that velcros over the metal, to protect the animals’ noses.




And of course, this lends the opportunity to send them on their way with a Bible in hand!



A Day in the Life of Mark & Lori Procopio- A Special Christmas meal!

A Day in the Life of Mark & Lori Procopio: A special Christmas meal, through the eyes of a visitor.

By Sandra Livingstone



THE STREETS OF NATAL– Christmas Meal Delivered

It all starts with two massive pots of baked beans (with lots of other tasty things added in!)  These cook all night and someone has to stay up to stir them every 30-45 minutes




There are also large pots of rice cooked early in the morning.  They are then dumped into two large plastic bins that have a special space on the back of Mark’s truck.





Bags of farofa are emptied into another large plastic bin.




Mark has built a wooden compartmentalized piece for the back of his truck that holds the large pots of beans, container of rice, and juice coolers.   Straps are tightened to hold everything in place.  The food can be served right from the back of the truck.




Our first stop of the day (second day of serving this special meal), we stopped at a favela called Cambuim.  We developed a system with Mark scooping the beans and Layane holding the dish for Natalie to scoop up the rice.  Then I added a scoop of farofa on top and put a spoon in the dish.  Lori then handed the dish to the next person in the line.  Meanwhile, Antonia Bednarik made sure every person received a gospel tract.  There were at least 150-200 people served in this area.





The second stop for the day was at Km 6 of Felipe Camarao where the rest of the food was distributed.  Children came running from all directions, and many adults joined the line also.  The food distribution team:  Layane, Sandra, Lori, Natalia and Mark.  Antonia was busy distributing gospel tracts again at this location.






This is what it’s all about:  touching a life, showing love and compassion, being the hands of Jesus in a world filled with alcohol, drugs, abuse, and lack of the basic necessities.  Mark and Lori are not afraid to get their hands dirty, and they open their hands, hearts, and home so willingly.




This young boy finds it very hard to walk because his feet are so infested by bugs that they are swollen and painful.  He probably doesn’t even own a pair of shoes!




Did you stop today to thank God for a home in which to live? decent clothing to cover your body? a pair of shoes on your feet? a safe environment in which your children can live and grow?  Please take a moment to thank God for so many basic needs that we take for granted but which are not part of the lives of these children.  Also remember in prayer Mark and Lori and the young people who help them when they are visiting these very poor areas and taking food or helping with their medical needs




Even though Lori doesn’t have a medical background, she is often called on to administer first aid for these people.  It might be as simple as cleaning and dressing a wound, as repulsive as digging bugs and eggs out of a child’s foot, or as severe as dressing a stab wound.






Another special event that happens over the Christmas holidays is a fun day for the children in the town of Aningas where the orphanage will be built.  Children wait in anticipation for the afternoon when fun and laughter and color brightens their little world!  A variety of equipment is set up and the children line up and wait patiently for their turn to slide or jump or play.
















After the kids have played for a while, they are all given a corn snack and even the adults come looking for a treat.  There were lots for everyone, and no one was turned away if they came back a second time.

Later in the afternoon when it was hot, we gave out popsicles to everyone.  They are a nice fruit-flavored creamy popsicle that really hit the spot on a hot day!







Please pray for Mark and Lori as they continue their work in Natal and look forward to starting building the orphanage in Aningas.  Pray for their safety and wisdom as they move forward when God opens doors.




There are a number of nice young people who have gotten saved, but during the Christmas holidays while we were there to help the Procopios, we spent quite a bit of time with two young ladies.  Please pray for their spiritual growth and preservation.


Natália and her cousin Layane




Mark and Lori Proopio with four of the young Christians.  Back left to right:  Geovane (age 23), Lori, Natália (age 21), Joab (age 20).  Front:  Layane (age 21) and Mark.



Christmas on the Streets

Two huge pots of beans are simmering on the stovetop and we just finished cutting up the meats and onion and for the feijoada. The farofa is ready to go. Tonight I’ll stir the beans from time to time and in the morning we’ll make the rice and the juice and pack up the truck.
We’ll be on the streets and in the favelas, tomorrow and Thursday with this hot meal and God’s Word.
I love serving Christmas dinner on the streets. I love the way the kids see the truck, whoop it up and start running alongside us. I love the hugs I get all day long and the surprised faces when I tell them that–yes!–the American gringa made the feijoada, and I’m glad it tastes like the real thing.
Best of all, I love the sweet, sweet message we get to bring: Jesus the Christ was born and He came to live among us. He came as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. He died for me and you. The best present this season and any season is God’s glorious salvation. I’m praying that this Christmas someone I meet accepts God’s gift and is set free.

For you are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God’s gift.
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭DARBY‬‬

Let Your Light Shine

Today we head out to the streets with sandwiches, juice and the Word. We’re really excited to have Geovane with us. He came this morning with Natalia and Layane, and helped us make the sandwiches and juice.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 NASB


Thank you for your prayer yesterday. We waited to see if there were any warnings on the news, heard that things were under control, prayed and went out to Cambuim and Kilometer 6. All went well and we had a great day with the kids in both favelas. It’s always a thrill when they see us and start running alongside the truck.

The situation here on the streets is being controlled by troops that were sent in yesterday, with more promised for today and tomorrow. Lord willing, we go out this afternoon to the 8 de Março and Leningrado favelas, with 500 more sandwiches, 60 liters of juice and the Word.

Here are some photos from yesterday. David and Hannah Prins are here. We are loving their company and are so thankful for the fellowship and the help.







A Hug from Heaven

Yesterday was great. We get used to our trips out to the streets and sometimes it can just be a routine we go through. Yesterday God reminded us why we’re here.
We pulled up to our last stop and there was a crowd of kids. We handed out the sandwiches and the ice cold lemonade, along with the Word, greeting and chatting with them all. One of the boys grabbed me and said, “There’s two kids over there, but they’re too ashamed to come get food.” So, I grabbed some sandwiches and juice and went to them.

“You don’t have to be shy or ashamed,” I said. “This food is from God and there is plenty. Eat all you want.”
The two boys just stared at me for a bit. Finally, one said, “We’ve been out since early this morning and we haven’t eaten. We just said, “God, if You care, please send us some food.”
In one quick second, our focus got readjusted, our resolve was strengthened and we felt heaven’s arms embracing us and reassuring us. He is here. He is real. And He can use us in all our weakness.

… I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be). (‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭20‬ AMP)


20130819_untitled_0108kaitlyn, renato and eric

The stories, sometimes, are sad ones. Stories of men who have come hoping for freedom, praying for strength, that leave and fall back into drugs and drink and life on the street. Those stories can pile up and make us wonder if there’s any hope for any of them and then along comes a Clessio.

And our eyes are opened again to the greatness of our God and the wonder of a life completely transformed by the Gospel of Grace. When he’s taken home to heaven, we think too early, but we do not know the end from the beginning. So we wait again, lead these broken men to the door of the rehab and pray long and hard that they will make it.

And Renato does.

We visit him at work. He’s smiling when he sees us, genuine joy as he watches us make our way across the street to the shop. He’s wearing a bright orange shirt and he shyly shows off his sweet smile, teeth all fixed after his visit to the dentist.

When Lori took him, he sat outside in the waiting room with Stephanie. A little girl, bored and waiting too, started pestering, asking questions:

“Why are you here?”

“To get my teeth fixed.”

“Who brought you?”

“My mom.”

He’s 25, an addict with teeth rotted from crack, and the people that love him, the lady who brought him to the dentist, he calls her mom because that’s who she is to him.

Renato works for a christian family who owns a clothing and accessories store. Taking care of the pet store, complete with guinea pig and dog food, was Renato’s first job. They closed the pet store, expanded the other half of their business, and decided to keep Renato on. He’s a hard worker and they want to help him as he puts his life back together. Having a boss who lives for Christ keeps him accountable. It means he’s got someone there who can help, can keep an eye on him– someone who doesn’t mind seeing Renato’s bible sitting on the counter where he reads when business is slow.


He stands under bags and shirts hanging for sale in front of the store and talks to us about his struggle to get to this point in the war against his addictions.

What can he do now? How can it be more than just a constant struggle on his own?

He’s not alone and it’s not just him– he’s got a family, he’s got a Savior who will never leave him or forsake him. And there’s a lot of other men struggling right beside him.


Do you think you can be a help?

He looks at us and nods. Yes. “I can, I can help. I can give them the Word.”

The Word that is life. That can cure. That’s real victory. No one’s telling them it’ll be easy. This isn’t a one and done, come and go and your cured. It’ll be an all your life, all the time kind of battle, but isn’t that the flesh? We all fight. Only Christ wins.

Renato says it plain: “The first time you come you’re not going to want it. You have to want it. Not for your family, but for yourself. You have to really want it. Not to show anyone else.”

And there we are, all of us sinners, tripping and falling so long on how to get past the loving our sin, trying so hard to live Christian-like without the Light and it never works. We have to really want it, His free gift, or we’ll never get it.

Renato smiles again, peaceful. This crack-addicted, shell of man has been set free.

And he knows this: “It wasn’t by my own strength, it was from Him.”

For by grace.


Reflection: Elizabeth Robbins-Wright

I didn’t choose Brazil…I wasn’t looking for an opportunity to do missions work or to serve. I didn’t even know about the work Mark and Lori were doing in Brazil until about two weeks before I committed to going. God brought the opportunity right to me, and then, in amazing ways, He made every provision. God brought me here, and He brought me here for a reason.

My perception of what my time in Brazil would look like before I arrived was entirely one-dimensional.  I thought I would be a practical help in the work in feeding the hungry, distributing clothes and other necessities to the needy, and of course speaking of God’s love. I was entirely unprepared for the profound effect it would have on me…how completely I would fall in love with what God is doing here, how complete I would feel in fully surrendering to God using me to convey His love, and how thoroughly my life would be changed by it all.

When I try to convey what I experienced in Brazil and the profound effect it had on me, my words seem so terribly inadequate. This area of Brazil is like no place I have ever been. It is a land of breathtaking beauty and abhorrent squalor; towering and exorbitant residential skyscrapers and rudimentary mud huts. The types of needs vary so greatly and yet they are the same. From the gospel meetings in the poor village of Aningas, to providing medical care within the favelas, to feeding the homeless, to seeing drug addicts through rehab–the underlying need is the same. There is an exceedingly great need for hope and love; their need for a Savior.


Showing God’s love and mercy to people who have lost all hope is a humbling and incredible feeling. To be God’s hands and feet took on a new meaning for me here in Brazil. It used to be about doing what God would want me to do. As I stepped back and humbled myself, God used me to do His will. It’s not really about what we do, but what God accomplishes through us–His love displayed. And there is no feeling like it, to be right where God wants you and to be used to proclaim Jesus’ love and mercy…to be used to bless others extravagantly.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest”  (Matthew 9:37-8).