Next week I'm headed to the Instituto Central do Povo (People's Central Institute in English) with a group of 12 volunteers from my church. Known as ICP, the institute was founded in 1906 by an American Methodist missionary, so they are now celebrating 104 years of service to the residents of Rio de Janeiro's oldest hillside slum.
ICP is a pretty large complex with at least six or seven main buildings, which are all fairly old. So, there is usually a ton of work for us to do -- painting, cleaning and just generally fixing things up.
Here are Elyse and Ellen working away during our 2007 trip.
One of the highlights of the trip is our host, Marion Way. He is a retired Methodist missionary who has been at ICP since the 1950s. Marion is more like Jesus than anyone I have ever encountered.
He is patient, gentle and soft-spoken, and his capacity to forgive and give people second chances seems boundless.
To meet Marion and experience his grace-filled spirit is one of the highlights of the trip.
ICP started the first kindergarten in Rio, and the preschool and daycare now serve about 350 kids, ages 6 months to 7 years. Many of the children's parents have to commute to other parts of the city to work, so they drop off their kids early in the morning and pick them up late in the evening.