Our project “Itapecerica”, founded in 1996, is located about 500 km north of São Paulo at an altitude of 800m.
Until 2014 it offered a home to about 30 orphans and still maintains on our 118 ha a teaching farm with garden and fruit cultivation, forest, beekeeping as well as dairy cattle and cattle breeding. Due to the fact that the authorities recently used our home as a transitional home for young people, we could no longer realize our goals, so we had to close our orphanage.
In 2016 we opened Apostle Paul’s School for self-supporting missionaries. Mission, agriculture, health and administration are on the curriculum. This gives young people an education that will allow them to start similar projects throughout the country that will be a blessing to the population.
Unfortunately, terrible child distress exists in many countries. This is also the case in Brazil. Newspapers, radio and television reported about children and teenagers shot dead in the night streets of the big cities, hunted and gunned down according to plan.
As a small relief organization, we unfortunately do not have the means to help everywhere. The main question for us is not: do we have the money? We never had it when we started work in a country and we always fall short. The question is: do we have the people? People to whom it is a God-given mission in life to give his love to poor children who have experienced mostly selfishness, violence and hatred – such leaders are hard to find. For Brazil, we had them. This was the decisive factor.
The search for a suitable plot of land is also a miracle every time. It has to be large enough to cover the running costs for 100 children and young people. It must have good soil. We need enough water to be able to grow fruit and vegetables during the often long dry periods. It must not be too far from a larger city, so that what is produced also finds a market and: We must be able to pay for it. To find these criteria met anywhere in the world seems almost impossible.
In Brazil, it happened again: 118 hectares, fertile, with streams, ponds, forest and pasture, two houses and stables on it, with electricity and water supply, only one kilometer from the road and only 33 km to the city of Divinópolis with 200,000 inhabitants.
The first children were taken in just a few weeks later, and gradually an exemplary children’s village emerged that was soon known far and wide. Visitors came almost daily, we received requests from courts to take in new children.
However, in 2014 the law changed and the government used our village as a transitional home. The children did not stay long enough to integrate them socially and form stable family groups. The overall situation made a sustainable Christian education impossible and caused us to terminate our help as a children’s home to the authorities in early 2014. At the end of 2014, the last young people left our village.
As a result, the L’ESPERANCE Paul School for self-sustaining missionaries was founded. On March 13, 2015 the training started with 15 students. Under the energetic leadership of Alek Sandra and Rozelito Croscop, the school developed into a small paradise.
Young men and women are empowered through the training to help people to stay or become well, to improve their standard of living and to live a hopeful Christian life. Like the apostle Paul, they should be able to earn their own living without relying on employment or permanent financial support. The health seminars and missionary courses bring physical, mental and spiritual recovery to people.
The school also works among the population in the nearby town of Itapecerica, distributing literature, giving health advice, courses and classes. Students who cannot afford the school fees have the opportunity to earn them on the farm.
Alek Sandra wrote to us: “We are convinced that the name of God will be honored through the L’ESPERANCE Apostle Paul School in Brazil. Many evangelists will go out from here, who will not only proclaim the good news, but exemplify it.”
In 2018, Alek Sandra and Rozelito took over the leadership of our Children’s Village in Bolivia. Their son Artur Croscop and his wife Raquel continue the work in Brazil.
Many volunteers and orphan parents in the San Mateo Children’s Village in Bolivia have since come from this mission school.