BIG HUG at Maracanã Stadium: Brazilians and Others From Many Nations Gathered at Maracanã To Stand For Justice.
This peaceful protest of prayer, Bible reading and artistic presentations involved approximately 1.200 people. By Amanda Ribeiro
Since the end of May, the sounds ringing through Rio de Janeiro are akin to those of alien invaders, literally everywhere you go you hear people speaking a myriad of different languages...Spanish, English, French, Korean and many others. The sounds are non-stop, muddled and even a bit confusing. But on Saturday, June 21st, in the late afternoon, all this chaos was silenced and all these different languages in 1,200 different voices were in one accord as they lifted high the name that is above every name, Jesus. Why? All because of an initiative, called "Hug At Maracanã" (Abraço no Maracanã), spearheaded by the organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Its purpose? To gather around the stadium and pray, read the Bible and seek God's plans and purposes for the nation of Brazil.
One of the event planners. David Barreto, originally from Bahia, has lived and worked with his family with YWAM in the Rio communities of Parada de Lucas, Tuiuti and Borel for 20 years; commented, "I understand that The Church needs to be alert to society´s daily challenges" said Barreto. He stated that the main purpose of the event was to pray for the government, church, and for justice to be brought to bear in the areas of corruption and human trafficking,
After praying, each person was assigned a portion of scripture and then at the same time each person read aloud their assigned passage so that the entire Bible was read in twenty minutes, "The Word of God is the source of the life, joy and inspiration to see Nations transformed'", Barreto said.
Teams from Australia, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, and United States participated in the event and held banners and flags in different languages. According to Barreto, one of the positive points of this event was, "...to see Argentinians and Brazilians, praying together for the nation." (As an aside, Brazil and Argentina are intense soccer rivals.) Barreto believes that, "...everyone who participated will leave changed and will be more proactive in the daily life of their nations and society as a whole."
Yuri Xirimbimbi is from Angola and has lived in Brazil for almost a year. He said: "It was very nice to see people from different places gathered, praying for justice and for the principles and values of God´s Kingdom to be established in Rio de Janeiro and all of Brazil." Xirimbimbi was also surprised because, "I thought Brazil was a very well developed and culturally advanced country. I never thought the same needs that are in Angola are also here, like improved infrastructure... I understood there are needs everywhere, some places need more than others. And Brazil also needs the Gospel and discipleship training in God´s Word, just like any other nation."
Art And Awareness at Maracanã
One of the teams came to the event from Piratininga City (locates in the State of São Paulo) to present the show "Ninguemdade" (Everything and Nothing). The drama explains the roots of the Brazilian people.
To one of the team members, Rafael Pereira, the performance at Maracanã "....was a good way to explain human trafficking for those who are unaware of it happening around them. Artistic expression is generally a very good way to reach a wide variety of people. The drama was based on a Darcy Ribero´s book called "Povo Brasilero (Brazilian People)". The drama introduced our strong cultural roots and values to people from the different nations gathered for the event. We believe that cross-cultural understanding pleases God."
Carol Martin, is a Colombian actress, who lives in Argentina. She came to Brazil to attend the art school that developed the show "Ninguemdade". She had this to say. "We prayed against human trafficking and while we were praying I was shocked to discover how many kids are involved in child prostitution and the fact that Brazil is the major international destination for sex tourism. We know that lots of tourists think that exploiting a minor is 'culturally accepted' here and they do it. People from all over the world should know that this is not acceptable. We must make people aware because the government does not and these activities were a great way to inform the community about something that is unspoken, almost taboo."
Carol also said, "Brazil is more than "Selling Easy Sex". I have found that most Brazilians have great values, care for people who are suffering, and children who are/were abused and/or sold". The actress has vacationed in Brazil prior to this and said that "Almost everybody outside Brazil presumes that Brazilians are samba dancing all the time, everybody is happy and walks almost naked on the streets. But it is not so, it is a completely different reality. "
Kickoff RIO will continue working for 2 weeks after the end of The World Cup.
More information about Rio Kickoff project can be found on the websitewww.jocumkickoffrio.org.br or on the Facebook page, "YWAM Rio Kickoff".