It’s said of gospel ministry that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Craig and Mary Delille are showing how much they care about at-risk families in Recife, Brazil and earning the right to speak truth into their lives. In 2 ½ years they have built homes for 24 families, and they’re busy planning the next 6 homes that they hope to complete before the end of the year.
The Delilles have been working in Recife since 2004 and joined SAM in 2008. Their home-building projects are just part of the larger holistic ministry utilizing a youth center, food bank and recording studio as well.
In October 2006, the Delilles built their first home in response to the specific need of a family of 7 connected to their existing ministry. In the process they uncovered a hidden community of people living in sub-human conditions and determined to expand their ministry to address these high-risk situations for the sake of Christ.
Through prayer and careful research, the Delilles choose home recipients who most need the help, people living in houses that are unlikely to survive the next rainy season and are literally crumbling down around them. With funding from US supporters, they buy the materials needed and hire 3 Brazilian laborers who also value this ministry. Each home costs around $3,000 to build. The construction takes from 3 weeks to 3 months, depending on weather and access to materials.
Upon completion of each project, the family receives the keys, a Bible, and a prayer. The home is entirely free to the family. Further spiritual support is offered by those involved in the various ministries in Recife. Because of their presence and ministry in the community, the Delilles see and speak to most of the families on a regular basis. Many receive other support from the local food bank and soup kitchen. Some participate in worship services, and others have opened their homes for weekly Bible studies.
With plans and funding to continue building homes at least through 2010, the Delilles aren’t stopping for a breath in their race to reach physically and spiritually needy people with the love of Jesus. In their own words,
Meeting the physical needs of hurting people is a very real way to express God’s love…. When you go out of your way to reach out to a forgotten community and provide for their needs with no strings attached, you stir their curiosity to know what it is (or Who) that would motivate someone to invest their time and money in them. It is from this perspective that we develop very real relationships with the people and earn the right to speak to them about our faith, what it has done in our lives, and what it can do in theirs. They begin to want to know more about this God who could motivate someone from so far away to “give up” everything and follow Him.
If you would like to learn more about their ministry, you can contact Craig and Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contribute to this ministry, please contact Sarah Kerns, Donor Relations for South America Mission, at email@example.com.