Through the end of 2023, we’ll share stories from the past 15 years of ministry. It’s our way of remembering all God has done and encouraging us for what’s ahead. We invite you to read, watch, and pray about how you could be involved in investing in the future of our work.
Written by: Sarah Rodrigues | JMA National Director
Back in 2014, our Brazil team docked our boat at a village called Igarapé Açú on the Negro River. At this point, only a few of JMI’s friends had been there before. We went straight to the school where we gathered with the children and parents from the village, and it was there I met Marcos. He was around two years old at the time.
Marcos was born with a special condition called Ichthyosis, which is a rare genetic skin disorder characterized by dry, thickened, scaly skin. I had never met someone like Marcos before. He was very scared and started to cry around all the new people. His family began to share his life story with us.
After understanding a little about his past, we were able to respond to Marcos’ needs. We added him to our special needs kids program and began to look for a sponsor. God always knows and meets the needs, and we quickly found him a sponsor.
Marcos had never seen a specialist before, and we knew that was our first step. God opened a door for us a few weeks later, and we took Marcos to a pediatric dermatologist in one of the federal university hospitals. His family spent an hour with a doctor learning about his condition. I will never forget their expression, as the doctors showed the family pictures of other people like Marcos. They were so happy to know that he would live a normal life. The doctors themselves were amazed and very interested in his case. It was definitely a remarkable morning for us all!
Not long after that appointment, Marcos began his treatment with different shampoos, moisturizers, and pills that would help thin his skin. With a lot of love and affirmation, Marcos overcame all his fear and showed such strength and courage. We celebrated every improvement he had.
Three months later, we went to see him again to take him to a second appointment and he was already much better. His skin was not as dry, his face was clearer, and he had so much confidence. God gave Marcos and his family so much favor at the public hospital. They were connected directly to the specialists, and he was so well cared for.
After years of pills, shampoos, lotions, food, and lots of love and care, Marcos has grown into a strong and handsome 12-year-old. He is absolutely loved in the village where they live, and he has learned to be comfortable in his own skin. He is still dealing with his condition, but with a big smile and hope in his heart. He enjoys playing ball, riding his bike in the community, and much more. Throughout the years, Marcos has seen God’s care and protection over him.
At Justice and Mercy International, we consider it a privilege to serve Marcos and his family. We look for every opportunity to remind him how special he is and how much God loves him. We treasure every improvement and are honored to walk this journey with him and his family. Watch Sarah’s update video about Marcos.
We believe the future of our ministry will bring us to many more children and adults with special needs like Marcos who need to know they aren’t forgotten. We pray that God will always find us faithful to answer His call to care for the poor, the orphaned, and the vulnerable. Will you come along for this next chapter of our work?