Judo and Jesus

written by OM International

Northern Rio de Janeiro is where many ‘favelas’ – slums – and poorer neighbourhoods are found. Anderson Silva is part of the organisation Instituto S.O.S. Reviver: “Our project is a strategy to bring Christ’s love," he says. "Seventy percent of the children who come are non-Christian.” His groups provide judo classes, among other activities, for children from communities that are considered violent. The organisation also has a house to help drug addicts.

Receiving people from other countries who speak different languages showed the children how wide the world is and that there are a lot of possibilities in it. “It’ll probably impact them, because it is the first time in our 18 years here that they have seen people from other countries,” Anderson explains.

Rosalba Mendoza (Venezuela) realised that judo is a way the children and teenagers learn about discipline, as well as a way for them to hear about Jesus. A team of crewmembers told the young people about the Prodigal Son in the Bible, to show that even when people stray from God, He welcomes them back with open arms.

When they were invited to accept Jesus as their Saviour, many of the children stood and came to the front as an act of commitment, as crew and adults prayed for the steps of faith that were being taken. “I’d never imagined we could serve God through judo. It is also a way of serving the community and the children,” Rosalba says. “They are busy learning discipline which keeps them away from drugs. It is something admirable and to be imitated.”

Viviane Campos is volunteering on board while the ship is in Rio de Janeiro and was the team’s translator. “My son is in a judo competition today. When I was watching the kids here, I thought, ‘My son came to the competition just to practise but these kids got much more – they received the Word of God.” She adds, “It is going to change their lives, it’s a privilege to be part of it.”

"I know each one of these kids and I could see in their eyes how well they received the message you gave,” Anderson told the crew.

Finances permitting, Anderson hopes to bring the children from the judo club on an outing so they can see Logos Hope in their local port, meet more of her inspiring crewmembers and solidify the walk they have begun with Jesus.