When American Brandon McCallister first travels to a favela church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, he isn't just another American Christian hoping to make a difference in a region of poverty. He is running from something. He is running from a trauma too terrible to talk about, but too fresh to forget. But this place to which he has fled has traumas of its own, a struggling people seeking faith, but suffering under drug lords who rule by violence. He learns to love the people. He learns to love a 12-year old boy caught up in violence which ages him far beyond his years, but who loves the music Brandon teaches him. And Brandon learns to love a beautiful Brazilian woman, Aline, who becomes the pastor of the church when the regular pastor is brutally murdered. This romance is strained as Brandon and Aline have different ideas of how to fight the violence. Still, faith grows in the one who came to suffer violence on a cross. Will that faith pull them through, and will it help Brandon himself deal with his past, so that his future and the future of the favela will find a belo horizonte, a beautiful horizon?
This work of fiction is based on experiences I had while visiting a missionary training school (JAMI) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 2005. We visited a favela church where a devoted pastor worked to free people from the slavery of drugs and violence. The place I worked with while visiting Brazil was Junta Administrativa de Missoes (JAMI), a training school for Brazilian Baptists going out on mission work. Our hosts were Bruce and Ann Borquist, who had been sent to help with this work by the American Baptist Churches, USA (see www.internationalministries.org). Ann graciously read through the rough draft of my book and corrected phrases that are in Portuguese. I will be dedicating 20% of the procedes from this book to the work of JAMI.