Pastor Gustavo Balzami is a man of great vision, according to Mar Rutgers (Aruba). He has built three churches; the most recent being located in a severely underprivileged neighbourhood. In an environment where the majority go down the path of drugs and violence, Pastor Gustavo wants to make a difference among the next generation. The three churches work together to give food and the Word of God to around 350 children every week, in eight different communities. Members of Logos Hope's crew went along to help.
Working together in the kitchen, the ship team and the church volunteers prepared food. Later, they separated; with some finishing the preparation while others walked through 'the villas,’ which crew learnt was another term for a slum area. They invited the children living there to come to the church for a meal.
Dan Bryer (United Kingdom) was part of the expedition. “They really don’t live in great conditions,” he says. As they were waiting for children to get ready, he and other crewmembers played football with some of the local kids. After they had eaten, the children had lots of questions about the countries the ship's volunteers come from.
The church members who chatted with crew were impacted by their lives. “There was a spiritual connection,” says Pastor Gustavo. Dan was impressed by the church and the pastor’s involvement. “A lot of their money goes into helping those in need rather than making things nice for themselves. It is humbling and inspirational,” he explains. “We went to places where there is real poverty and we could see it first-hand.”
“Jesus would always go out and spend time with sinners and neglected people; humbling Himself and making other people feel valued. As Christians, we follow His example and seek out those who are hurting and have little, to be good examples of His love to them. That’s what this pastor is doing,” Dan adds.
The pastor was delighted by the time spent with different teams of crewmembers. “Despite the differences in language and culture, we established a strong relationship," he says. "God showed me once again that with the Holy Spirit in us, differences don’t exist.”
The churches’ vision is to be able to feed the children every day, but the ultimate hope is that donations will no longer be needed when the children are able to leave their current situations and live better lives. Pastor Gustavo aspires to afford the building beside the newest church he built, in order to start a school there and enable the young people to work towards their future.