Welcome for life

When looking at divine creation, it is possible to verify that God created human relationships in such a way that the family is the healthy place where a child must be in order to be nurtured and educated so that he can grow and develop as a human being. The human family is not something random, but a reflection of what is the image and likeness of God himself. All the references in the Bible that illustrate God as Father and Jesus as Son are evidence that God created humanity in a way that mirrored his person.

As a reflection of this reality, it is possible to perceive in motherhood and fatherhood one of the most beautiful ways of seeing the image and likeness of God. However, being a father and mother to those who are our flesh and blood is not exactly what God did for humanity. God became Father to those who are not as he is, just as Jesus was, but adopted them to become like his true Son (Romans 8:29).

A principle in biblical writings, whether in the Old or New Testaments, is that God includes in his family people who were previously orphaned, abandoned, lonely, and even mad at him. A clear example of God identifying with orphans and widows is in Psalm 68:5-6, which says that God is the Father who places the lonely in a family. It is worth reflecting that to be saved is to be adopted by God and enter into the ultimate and intimate relationship existing in the Trinity itself.

The orphan suffers many injustices because he is outside the family context, but God himself “justifies the orphan and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him clothing and food” (Deuteronomy 10.18). So he instructs us: “Learn to do good! Seek justice, end oppression. Fight for the rights of the orphan, plead the cause of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

Living as a family is God’s plan and, therefore, the right of every child and adolescent on this earth. Yet millions of children grow up without the benefit of permanent relationships with loving, caring adults. Their families were torn apart due to poverty, illness, death, wars, marginalization, violence, abuse, and neglect.

Christians committed to the Kingdom of God, consistent with the gospel, who ardently desire to be relevant in this generation, have the privilege and opportunity to be the incarnation of God’s love in transforming tragic stories into love stories through foster care, adoption, volunteering, support, offering, and other interventions.

Easy life on the street?

What makes someone prefer to be on the street than at home or even in a shelter?

“They want the easy life”, some people who turn up their noses at the homeless say, as we heard recently from the first lady of São Paulo, in a video that went viral. But how easy is it to be totally exposed and vulnerable?

This judgment is even more emphatic when those who think this way see people sleeping on the street during the day. “Bums”, many think. But they don’t consider that without a safe place to sleep, you can’t rest when the fear of being robbed, stabbed, or burned alive at night is not an exaggeration but a real concern.

Under an overpass, in central São Paulo, a group of homeless people takes shelter. As a way to serve and alleviate this situation, we do cleaning efforts. Last week, when attending to the group that was there, we discovered that many of them had scabies. We bought their medication, cleaned the place, changed their blankets and clothes.

“I am tired. I used drugs all night to make the pain go away.” That’s not comfort. The boys tell us that they don’t like hospitals because they are often mistreated when they seek help alone. Some even report being tied up when they were hospitalized.

When the system itself seems to do everything to end your existence because it doesn’t see you as a citizen but as a problem, who do you turn to?

This is where we seek to place ourselves: as a safe place, with people who want to be close to them in times of need and also in times of joy. Be people up close.

We live with a lack of mercy in this world. The practice of empathy, such a trendy word on social media, is still lacking.

We want to be those who see these “zombies” for what they really are: people with stories we don’t know individually, but whose ending God wants to change for the better.

We heard from a kid recently that she considers herself trash. And it is quite clear that this thought is not the result of a fertile imagination, but a reflection of the treatment given to her constantly. Invisibility, fear, and aggression are responsible for this. And it is precisely this thought that we want to change.

As Edmund Burke said, “For evil to triumph, it is enough for good people to do nothing”. Therefore, we need to be light in this world. Each of these people is precious to God. And they must be for us too.

When we publish on social media about the situation of children on the street, we receive not only comments asking what to do, but also people who say they are already following ABBA’s work, outraged at the reality of children on the street that they did not know about. Many people soon want to mobilize, militate, and awaken society or the authorities. This all has value and place, but not before a commitment of empathy that puts itself on the side of these people, becoming people up close. So, here’s an invitation to take the first step: get to know ABBA’s work and get involved!

ABBA-PAI: Our little brains in (de)formation

This is the second part of a series of three studies we are producing on the relationship between neurological development and society, or between our minds and our world. Our accelerated neurological development in the first fifteen months after birth is a gift that has given humans greater abilities to survive.

We saw in the last ABBA-PAI (read here) that this gift is what makes our neurological development happen to form good socio-affective relationships and live well in society, becoming cooperative, productive, supportive, and empathetic members in the communities we are in. Thus, a safe, just, and culturally and economically vibrant society is formed. However, our neurological plasticity to conform to the environment in this early period of development has a side effect. Negative and even traumatic experiences of neglect and violence can determine a baby’s neurological development for the rest of his life.

If you want to know the consequences of this, both individually and socially, take the time to read this study. The information presented here should be considered in depth by anyone interested in the good of children at risk and social vulnerability. Read here.

ABBA-PAI: Our little brains in formation

For some years now, ABBA has been producing an information letter called ABBA-PAI. Since last year, we have decided to use this vehicle to prepare studies relevant to ABBA’s area of activity, that is, social assistance. From this issue, we will use this blog space to publish ABBA-PAI.

We started with this edition, as it is the first part of a series of three studies on the formation of our minds and the formation of our society.

“There is no more accurate way of revealing the soul of a society than the way it treats its children” (Nelson Mandela).

The formation of our minds depends on the world around us, and our minds shape the world around us. This is a very broad and complex subject. So, we want to spend a lot of time thinking about it. In the next three issues of ABBA-PAI, we will talk about the formation, (de)formation, and (re)formation of our mind. Like it or not, the future of our society, even of humanity, depends on how we treat our children. Read in this ABBA-PAI about the formation of our minds during the first years of life, the importance of the family environment and affective bonds, and what kind of society results from this.

Click here to read!

Children at War

In this issue of ABBA-PAI, we talk about how the life experience of most Brazilian children living in favelas is comparable to the war environment. The comparison is not forced. Brazilian children exposed to both domestic violence and gun violence in the communities in which they live have developed trauma similar to the trauma of war veterans. It is a trauma generated by experiences that threaten their very existence. Unfortunately, in the face of this, all that is left for these children is to fight or to make war. If you want to better understand this cycle of violence and how to fight it, we invite you to read this new edition of ABBA-PAI, which you can read here.

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