Read Sam's blog here, listen to his interview on Premier Radio and find out why he has gone out to Brazil.
"Hey! I'm Sam. I like running, playing the guitar, the sun, chillin' with mates, food and anything that's random! I love God and He's the reason for my life and everything I do!"
This is how 23-year-old Sam Reynolds from Eltham, South London describes himself.
A graduate of Kings College London, like many students Sam spent his summers temping to help pay his way through his education and much of that time was spent with us at Premier.
Over the years, we have come to know a little more about Sam and in particular his love and vision for the country of Brazil and its underprivileged children. Having already spent some months in Brazil during his time at Uni testing the water, Sam began to seek God's will in earnest concerning how his future and the Brazilian people connected.
Finally after much soul-searching, a lot of prayer and even holding down numerous temping jobs after his graduation (sometimes 3 at a time), Sam cleared his student loan, made all the practical arrangements and even became fluent in Portuguese...and got ready to head off to the "the beautiful horizon" - the city of Belo Horizonte in south-eastern Brazil.
Sam will be working for the next few months alongside the charity Happy Child rescuing street and 'at risk' children in Belo Horizonte. Premier then decided that we wanted to invest something into Sam's venture to help make a difference to impoverished lives and so we teamed up with TAP Portugal, the number 1 European airline to Brazil, to send Sam on his way. TAP Portugal was all the more delighted to assist Sam as it has recently started a 5-flights a week service linking the UK with Belo Horizonte via Lisbon.
Hear Sam's interview on Premier Radio
Before Sam packed his bags, Premier's John Pantry caught up with him to find out more about his big adventure and also what part his Christian faith had to play in preparing him for the unknown road ahead. John began by asking Graham Irwin, Marketing Manager from TAP Portugal, to say exactly where they were flying Sam to...Sam's interview on Premier Radio
At last!! The day finally arrived for the inauguration of the Casa de Irmãos, so Monday morning was spent tidying, preparing food etc., and desperately praying that it wouldn´t be postponed again! The event ran really well and it was a good opportunity for people from the government and also from the rest of Happy Child to visit the house and meet the team. The children would supposedly be arriving any time from next week.......on Tuesday morning however, we were having our usual prayer meeting in the morning and I was just praying that the children would arrive as soon as possible when bang bang on the gate and the real work began! In burst four insanely hyperactive children, accompanied by the social services, and while our leader took care of the paperwork, we tried to show the kids the house before they showed themselves around, breaking everything on the way! Finally managed to calm them down a bit and took them to the park nearby. When we returned, another two girls had arrived! I had to travel back the Casa República, pack my bags in about 20 minutes and get back as soon as possible. The next day two other boys (brothers of the two girls) arrived and César moved into the house as well. From the original plan of three pairs of workers taking 8 hour shifts through day and night, the three of us, me, Sula and César were suddenly thrown into the deepest of deep ends - 24 hour parent role.
Nothing in the world could adequately prepare you for this kind of work! Nothing! Suddenly becoming a father to eight children who at least for the first few weeks, are at home 24 hours a day - especially with the younger four who arrived first - having to separate fights, impose limits on children who have no concept of rules, teach them how to interact without fighting, teach them to spit in the sink instead of the floor, brush their teeth, wash themselves, eat with cutlery instead of hands; you have to be 100% alert the whole day. From a 6am start to finally settling them down at 10pm, we often don´t sleep until 1 or 2am ourselves and I have the night watch on top of this - sleeping in the lounge to take the night watch as well! This first week in one sense passed by in a flash but in another sense it felt like a whole lifetime and every single second I´m learning so much, above all how to fall onto God´s strength in our weakness.
Well...as this is my last blog, I´ll let you know that the blog was in fact slightly behind live time and actually I´ve been in Brazil for over 3 months now. There are 15 children in the house - filled to capacity - between 2 and 14 years old. Every single day is a new struggle and we fall on God´s grace again in prayer every night. The mix of ages, the mix of genders, the different dynamics of sibling groups, and the small size of our team to work with them; all these factors are thrown against us every day but we can truly testify that in our weakness, the power and love of God has truly known no bounds. It is such a blessing to be a dad to these children, to love and accept them each day, give them opportunities to regain their childhood, let them see life completely differently, replacing the lies of the devil with the unconditional love and acceptance of our awesome heavenly Father. Despite ongoing struggles in each of their lives, we are seeing marked changes already as they receive His love and truth - eight of the children have also received Christ as their Saviour! Feeling at points that maybe I´m not cut out for this work, and some days almost packing my bags, but ultimately I´m loving every second of this challenge - being used by God to completely transform the lives of these incredible children.
Finally I'd just like to say a huge 'thank you' to TAP Portugal for their practical support in flying me out here to Belo Horizonte. Also, thank you all so much for your prayers, and your messages of support. Please do continue! Check out the work of Happy Child on the internet and find out how you can get involved as well. I don´t know how long I´ll be here with them but I know that walking in the will of God, it can only get better every day!