Andy and Kati Walsh, Brazil
Working with churches and NGOs in Florianopolis towards social justice for the marginalised, helping people find hope in Jesus.
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Inequalities in Brazil are among the worst in the world. Florianopolis, in the south, has many favelas (slums), which are controlled by drugs and gangs and house much of the city’s population. Brazil is also home to some of the world’s most dangerous prisons.
It is to these subcultures and “hidden voices”, where the Church struggles to be, that we feel called by God.
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Andy and Kati’s story
We know this city well and that it is home to unreached and diverse marginalised communities. Over time, we will concentrate on engaging subcultures on the fringes including impoverished migrant communities and people that get caught in the cycle of crime just to survive.
Our outreach focus will be integrated with Vineyard Floripa, a church planted by fellow CMS mission partners. We will assume a training role at Vineyard Floripa’s discipleship programme, with our activity centred on equipping and releasing its members to live out their mission focus – to make new disciples of Jesus.
Andy is a dual British/Argentine citizen fluent in Portuguese, and Kati is from Brazil, so Latin America has always been part of our lives and close to our hearts. Before we were married in Florianopolis in 2014, we had a profound sense based on our experiences that we were called to serve among the socially excluded and disadvantaged sectors of Brazil.
We are really up for the new challenges that lie ahead and we will of course be drawing on our personal experience. Kati, who is trained as a lawyer, has enjoyed mentoring young people in the past – particularly teenage girls who are susceptible to abuse and exploitation. Andy has over 20 years’ experience leading mercy ministries through the church coupled with managing UK government-funded projects to help tackle homelessness and drug-related crime and initiatives to rehabilitate people caught up in the cycle of re-offending. In Leeds, Andy presently works in a senior management position for a national housing association that provides housing solutions and specialist services for young people and adults who are socially excluded due to disabilities, mental health issues and homelessness.
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