While athletes from all over the world compete for ephemeral glory in the ongoing Rio Olympics, a woman missionary is doing something even more glorious and definitely more long lasting—sharing the love of Christ to the people living in the drug and crime-infested slums of the Brazilian capital.
Edmeia Williams told CBN News that 26 years ago, she started her missionary work in Rio de Janeiro's most violent section, a neighbourhood known as a "centre of witchcraft" where even the police did not dare enter. She said human sacrifices used to take place in that area.
Despite the difficulty and dangers involved in establishing a mission in such a forbidding place, Williams succeeded in founding the House of Mary and Martha in the Santa Marta Favela, which is located under the arms of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.
The evangelism mission offers physical, material, and spiritual support to the impoverished children in the area.
Now she walks the streets of Santa Marta Favela receiving the hugs and affection of grateful children and other residents. But at first, the residents were not so welcoming of her as they viewed her mission with suspicion.
"The main problem here is that the majority of the mothers are single mothers because most of their husbands are in prison, and even some of the mothers are in prison," Williams said.
"They bring the kids to a crèche (daycare centre), but when they are five years old they cannot go to the crèche anymore and then these kids would be free in the favela" where "they begin looking to the bandits as heroes."
Williams is receiving financial support from several churches and ministries in Brazil, including the Assemblies of God Victory in Christ Church which sends her an offering every month.
"She is a woman that was carved for this job. God calls people with a vocation. Edemeia's work is highly respected here," Victory in Christ Church Pastor Silas Malafaia said.
Williams believes that God is supernaturally providing support to her mission.
But she has one special request to fellow Christians.
"My need, first of everything, is prayer because I work under threat and in danger, all the time," she said. "I know I have an adversary that wants to stop me."