Six years ago, Eduardo de Mello Ribeiro was released after serving 18 months in a juvenile detention facility in Brazil. He was saved by Jesus from a life of violence and crime. Shortly after his release, he began volunteering with Open Arms in his town. Open Arms Worldwide is an RBC-supported organization that mobilizes, prepares, equips and aids Christian leaders and volunteers in implementing transformational, faith-based, children and youth outreach projects among the world’s poor.
Today, Eduardo is a full-time missionary with Open Arms in Brazil. He has started three outreach projects, has led countless young people to faith in Christ and also works as a counselor with men struggling with chemical dependency. In 2011 Eduardo, after years of stubborn perseverance, succeeded in opening a door for Open Arms back into the facility where he served his time. He put together an “A-Team” of Open Arms volunteers and began ministering to the boys (between 12 and 18 years old) in that facility.
It is my great joy to have walked with Eduardo over the years and I anxiously look forward to his reports. Last month was a special joy. Let me share with you some details from a recent correspondence with Open Arms:
“In early July, twenty-nine (29) new inmates arrived at the facility. On Saturday, July 15, during a visit from the Open Arms team, Eduardo was blessed to lead twenty (20) of those young boys to faith in Jesus Christ! He and his team are now actively discipling them in the Word. This is what we all are laboring for, friends. This is what our prayers and gifts each month mean in the lives of real children. God is using you to change the future of these young people. Praise God! I give thanks to Him for each of you and your faithfulness. May we all never tire of doing good!”