My name is Daniele Faria and I’m from São Paulo, Brazil. When I was invited to write for this blog I felt really honoured, so I would like to take this opportunity and share with you something that’s been really changing my life since I arrived here in Dublin.
It’s been almost 10 months that I’m here. I came with a few dreams: to improve my English, to meet new people, to know more about the Irish culture, to travel around Europe, etc. I can say I’ve already accomplished many of those things; however, none of them could be compared to the opportunity that I’ve been given to be a part of a volunteer group that helps people around the world and brings hope to hopeless people.
How did it all start?
I was doing my best to make all my dreams come true when I met a Christian group of young people who spent their holidays, every single year, helping people around the world. That really impressed me. In that moment, I started to feel something changing in my heart and, suddenly, my greatest desire was to be able to do the same thing. So I began to pray and prepare myself for the next trip (or what we like to call, “missionary work”).
Finally, in August 2016, they invited me to go to Portugal with them. I could barely believe it was true. I was so excited. Then I asked for holidays from my job. I thought I would have a problem with my boss, but everything went perfectly well. So, at the end of the month, we were travelling to Portugal.
Once there, I was able to get to know a little bit more about the project and it didn’t take me much longer to realize I had made one of the best decisions of my life. We did a lot of social work with children and teenagers, but the most significant one was, for me, to see what they did with homeless people. They rented a big place, like a restaurant, with a kitchen, tables and chairs. During the morning, we would serve a delicious breakfast for them and they could stay there until lunch time. In the meanwhile, they were able to share their life experiences with all of us. I heard so many sad stories, but on the other hand, we always had a word of hope to give them. It was not a fake message, but a true message about God’s love for us. We believe that Jesus is the son of God and he was sent to die for us on the cross of calvary. That’s what the gospel is about. That’s what the bible calls “good news”. So it didn’t matter what they had gone through or how horrible their stories were, we had “good news” to encourage them.
It was amazing to see how they were able to feel God’s love in their lives. We could see that, after that moment, their faces were different. Something had changed. For those who wanted, we had a place where they could sleep at night and they could also be there during the day working as a volunteer, serving other homeless and hopeless people. After only 10 days, more than 30 people weren’t sleeping on the streets anymore. Can you imagine what we could do if we were willing to spend a little more time helping others?
This was the first time that I’ve been a part of something like this and it’s just the beginning. Now I am happy to spend my free time getting involved with these projects, because I have no words to express what and how i felt when i realized we were bringing hope to people who were suffering.
You feel like your life is worthwhile!