by Hope Owsley, Brazil
Mira da Silva had had a vast and very satisfying 20 years of ministry. She’d been a worship leader, a Bible teacher of a nationally-led ministry, Christian education instructor, seminary professor, pastor’s wife and more. Six years ago, she sensed God asking her to become involved in children’s ministry. She balked at the idea that someone with her gifts and training would be relegated to the children’s department. But as she prayed and asked God for confirmation, she had no doubt this was where He was leading her.
She felt Him asking her not only to minister to the children in her church, but to children who were living in the streets around the church in the midst of utter darkness. She heard Him say, “I want you to save them from drugs, prostitution and death.” She knew that if she answered this call, there would be no more children’s church based on cute little songs, pictures and stories. If she was going to enter into homes of children where Satan had a stronghold, she would need to do some serious praying and Bible teaching with the kids and their families.
She began with one small cell group. They did not play any games. They heard the Word preached and then they had opportunity for prayer requests – not your typical Sunday school requests: “Please pray my parents will get back together.” “Pray for my dad not to hit my mom.” “Pray my mom won’t get drunk.” Most of the kids come from broken families who don’t care if they are home or not.
Mira no longer sees her work with children as a misuse of her gifts. In the six years she’s been involved, many kids’ and parents’ lives have been transformed. One pre-teen boy was delivering drugs for his older sibling when he became a Christian. He told his group leader, Jessica, his brother would never consent to letting him go. Courageously she went to his house and said, “Your little brother got saved at one of our retreats and doesn’t want to live this kind of life anymore. I’m asking you to release him.”
“Don’t you know I could have you killed?” he replied. “But because you really care about him, I’ll let him go. And I’ll protect you and your house.”
The Cuiabá FMC has 10 kids’ cell groups now, each with 15 to 30 members. And they are growing! Thank the Lord that Mira stepped out of her comfort zone and listened to the heart of God for the children of her city.