This is just flat-out cool, so please indulge me a bit here and read along. Yeah, and I am proud, really proud of this young lady.
But before I get to the pride part, a bit of a back-story in abbreviated form. Patricia’s parents met in the brothel where her mother worked. Marriage and several children came in the years to follow. But old habits, especially dark ones, die hard, and her mother returned to the sex trade. A violent argument, father attempts to stab the mother, and mother flees the home. Patricia and her siblings were left with an abusive, alcoholic father who forced Patricia to masquerade in the streets as a deaf child, signing to passersby, asking for spare change. Eventually, local authorities brought Patricia to the City of Youth where she blossomed into an extraordinary young woman.
Fast forward a dozen years. Patricia is married to a young man whose life was also transformed at the City of Youth. They have a beautiful 5-year-old daughter, and Patricia leads worship music at our graduate church.
Then last week…
Patricia and husband, Bruno, traveled to Chicago to join us for the Christian Alliance for Orphans annual Summit. Twenty-five hundred people gathered; a group absolutely sold out for the cause of the voiceless, the peripheral children of our world. Representatives present from thirty-five countries. Passionate activists, making a difference for kids.
And our Patricia was right in the middle of it.
Friday morning at the plenary session, a short video of Patricia’s life story was shown followed by an on-stage interview with Roy Patterson of Moody radio. And then, one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed: Patricia led worship for the packed house at Willow Creek Community Church.
Think about it. A former street child from Brazil. As I looked around the auditorium, Patricia singing in Portuguese and the audience in English, strains of “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest,” rang in my ears. I saw wonder, brokenness. I saw hope. But most of all, I saw all barriers melt as the family of Christ lifted voices of praise and caring together.
Like I said, flat-out cool.