My first view of Novō was through a lens. I saw the video on their website that was filmed in Tarija, and I was moved by the honest words of the elderly addict at the end. When asked what he needed in order to change his life, he replied, “Kindness. Love. Companionship. Understanding. Nothing more.”
I recently had the pleasure of seeing Novō up close when I attended the graduation of Diego and Vladimir. I was able to witness first hand the reality of what happens when broken people are given kindness, love, companionship and understanding. God moves in and through His people to bring healing, wholeness, and hope, and lives are truly transformed.
On graduation night, the men told beautiful stories of that transformation to a patio full of supportive friends and family. They gave all the glory to God. They sincerely thanked the staff and encouraged their friends still in the programme. And they were real and emotional about the difficult road to recovery.
When Vladimir motivated his friends by saying, “Let’s not lower our arms, brothers!”, I thought of Moses and his companions on Mount Horeb. Joseph would only gain victory over the enemy if Moses kept his arms raised in the air. When Moses grew tired, as we all do, Aaron and Hur stood beside him and held up his arms. This way, the enemy was conquered. Love and companionship. Let’s not lower our arms, brothers!
While we were celebrating the graduates, every so often I’d hear a laugh or an “Amen” louder than all the others. Joel is a newly arrived resident who I recognized from the traffic intersections where he typically begs. Like the man in the video, what he really needs isn’t spare change for food or a place to live. He needs people who will stand with him to hold up his weary arms. He needs to recognize and receive grace at intersections of kindness and understanding. I think he came to just the right place.
Kindness. Love. Companionship. Understanding. They aren’t just words. They’re transformative acts of service we can offer and receive by way of God’s grace via each other. They are a call to arms!
I pray that we hear the call to hold up Novō’s arms just as they’re doing for Diego, Vladimir, Joel, and so many others. And I really hope that call moves us from just watching behind a screen to being an active participant in God’s vision through Novō.
POLITICAL UNREST IN BOLIVIAFollowing last Sunday’s elections, things are very tense in Bolivia at present. This article from Reuters is a decent summary of where things sit at the time of writing: www.reuters.com
All Novō staff and residents are safe but life does have a very different feel to normal. A general strike in Santa Cruz, now into a 6th day, means movement around the city is on foot or by bicycle, shops are open for limited hours with limited stock, and schools & businesses are closed. The eerie quietness of a now traffic-free city is punctuated by the sirens of emergency service vehicles and the fireworks of those manning roadblocks.
All of that places significant strain on the programme, with key staff unable to get to work and the residents and live-in staff unable to leave the property, other than to buy supplies or play football in the local park.
How can you pray?
That there will be a swift, just and enduring resolution to the political situation. It appears that democracy itself is under threat.
That the residents at the Quinta would know God’s peace and strength in the midst of both the political instability and the boredom of these days.
That Lincoln and the live-in staff who are holding the fort would feel encouraged and see the fruit of their sacrifice in the lives of the residents.
That the general strike would be managed well, such that essential services are maintained and the needs of the most vulnerable met.
WANT TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT?
Novō is dedicated to creating transformational communities in developing nations where hurting and broken people — like Vladimir, Diego & Joel – can find healing from addiction, wholeness and hope. But we can’t do it without your prayer and financial support!
Novō is a charity which is dedicated to pursuing a singular vision – the vision of creating transformational communities in developing nations where hurting and broken people can find healing, wholeness and hope.