Hellhole part I: A trip to hell

I’m made at hell.

Not mad as hell, but mad at it.

Perhaps you saw some of my tweets this past weekend and wondered, “What is wrong with that dude?” In the event you didn’t, I expressed an immediate reaction to walking into the worst slum I’ve ever been in while in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Understand that I’m not new to favelas (slums) in Brazil. I’ve worked in them for years. I’ve been in places where I feared for my life and have seen the quality, or lack thereof, of life there. Most dogs in the U.S. live better than the inhabitants of these undesirable plots of real estate.

I ventured into this hellhole in order to see a friend who has made some very bad decisions about his life and has landed here as a result of them. Before going, I did a lot of second guessing if I really wanted to go. In all honesty, I didn’t and almost talked myself out of it.

Because he doesn’t know Jesus and could easily see his life end living where he does, I chose to go.

I immediately thought I’d made a bad decision when I drove in.

I visited there five years ago and had been threatened. In broad daylight. It has gotten incredibly worse with time. Again, I’ll confess, my heart began to beat a little faster. White boy, obviously American, in the only car visible. Heads turned immediately and several clusters of “unsavory characters” began to form on the corners, pointing at me.

“Jesus! What am I doing here?”

The response was so loud I was convinced that everyone heard it, “Exactly! You’re here because of me.”


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