Many of the Brazilians in these remote areas feel forgotten, even by their own country, as if considered equivalent to the rats of Brazil. It is not uncommon for them to feel disconnected from society and therefore unproductive. They live in self-survival mode, always trying to find what they need for the day so that it becomes almost impossible to ever look ahead in life. They feel overwhelmed and trapped in the destitution of their villages. They may dream of escaping poverty and sickness but very few find their way beyond the villages to the city and wider opportunities. Even if they could afford to move, many remain helpless, too afraid of living beyond the village, of learning new job skills, and of facing the cost of living in the world outside their home villages. Instead, physical illness and disease continue to dominate entire villages as water-borne bacteria, parasites, viruses, and germs infect the people, the animals and other food sources that the villages depend on to survive. Even so, physical disease and poverty do not compare to the depth of spiritual emptiness these people feel. Few will admit it, but those who do may be radically transformed by the power of God.
We can instill value in these people by accepting them just as they are and believing that they are capable of doing the impossible. We can show them that they can be useful and productive right where they are. We can empower them to work at that which they are good at doing and to recognize what God has called each one to do. By believing in them, they will discover that they can change the world from one of the most remote locations in the world–right where they are. How does it happen? We must build loving relationships with those the rest of the world has forgotten or ignored. As we connect with these people one on one, we demonstrate what relationship should be–open, honest, transparent, and even vulnerable. By seeing our hearts and lives in action, these people can realize that Jesus is not a fake plastic icon. He is alive, He can touch and be touched. He can listen and be heard. And most of all, these broken people can see that He desires to intimately connect in relationship with each and every person on the face of the earth–even in the most hidden and forgotten areas of Brazil.