Dear friends of
Horses for Orphans
We are at the end of our second year with the Horses for Orphans project in Brazil and it has been an amazing journey. We had the privilege to see many miracles and experience God showing Himself strong on our behalf.
In this newsletter we would like to share with you a little bit about our last trip to Betel children’s home near Cocalzinho in the State of Goias.
We wish you a wonderful Christmas season and a healthy, joyful and peaceful New Year.
Richard & Ingela Larsson Smith
October 2011 Brazil Trip
October saw the latest team, lead by Richard & Ingela Larsson Smith visit Betel Children’s Home in Brazil, for the fifth time since the start of the project in 2009.
Currently 30 out of 85 Betel children are taking part in the horse project and there are 19 horses roaming the 2500 acres of grassland. Before travelling we knew one of the horses was sick and we arrived to find that Travao had died at 3am that morning. He died from Rabies, which the other horses have now been vaccinated against. It was very sad, especially for Rogerio, 14yrs, who is an excellent horseman and had trained Travao to a high level over the past year.
On a happier note, the team was also greeted by ‘Espirito’ (Spirit), a foal that was born 3 days prior to arrival.
Reginaldo, 21yrs, grew up at the children’s home and has been the leader of the horse project at Betel for the past two years. He has grown much, and with our help and encouragement, he has become a wonderful leader and is fullfilling his responsibilities. Each trip we leave him with lists and a teaching plan for the following 3 months until we return again. Reginaldo teaches the younger boys in the mornings and the advanced boys in the afternoon. There are also three girls taking part, who play with the horses on Fridays and Saturdays.
In the advanced group there are nine boys (14-17yrs) and the level of skill they have acquired with horses over the last 18 months is outstanding. At the end of October four of them, plus Reginaldo, were presented with a certificate for passing the H-Factor Horse Handling Foundation Level. All of the advanced group had worked toward this qualification the last couple of years. To pass they are not only required to show fluency in the 30 tasks, but they must also demonstrate the qualities of a horseman; such as kindness, patience, being a team player, having a good attitude, be solution based, etc.
Even more special than to see their improving horsemanship skills, is to see the change happening in their hearts. Most of the boys have lived on the streets and they are very streetwise. Some boys witnessed their families being shot by bandits before they came to Betel. Stealing and bullying have been a normal part of life for the majority of their years. Betel faces huge challenges when it comes to the transformation of the children’s hearts. Through wounding at an early age, they display a range of undesireable behaviours that seem impossible to change. Betel has experienced a low success rate in helping the children stay off the streets once they leave the children’s home.
Through the horse project, the children are coming into a deeper relationship with their Father in heaven and their hearts are healing. Throughout the years, we have learned that giving the underprivileged skills for a future is not enough. They need to catch a vision for their lives and become motivated. Now we are seeing this happen right before our eyes as the children become passionate about communicating with horses and becoming the best horseman they can be.
The team began everyday with worship and prayer, dedicating their time and abilities to God. This project belongs to Him and we feel very privileged to get to take part in what He does.
Fabio (a Brasilian English teacher from Sao Paulo), Fernando (the projects veterinarian, who is one of the only natural horsemen in Brazil) and Maria (Fernando’s business partner) joined the team for 3 days, in which many miracles happened. Saulo, a director of Betel took most of the team, including Reginaldo, on a trip to Brasilia where they met with the owner of a feed company. A deal was arranged and we are now able to buy horse feed directly from the company, which turns out much cheeper than from the local store. When the owner heard about the Horses for Orphans project, he promptly offered to donate R3000 worth of seed for planting the new grass (one of the current projects to improve the nutrition the horses receive). Maria also paid for 1-month worth of horse feed, and is donating the money to build a roof over the 6 pens.
Whilst in Brasilia the team had the opportunity to visit other farms and a large riding stable/equine therapy centre. Seeing what will be expected from the boys in future workplaces helps us prepare them better for what awaits them.
The leadership at Betel is thrilled with the horse project. Pastor Ernesto has been there 36yrs and seen many 100ds of children go back to the streets. It is incredibly hard for the children to break out of the cycle of poverty, but with the ongoing transformation of their hearts and their growing horsemanship abilities, they will have a much better chance.
The transition from living at Betel into the real world is tough. Despite the children’s amazing skills, their attitude and work ethic may not be strong enough for them to survive in a job ‘out there’ yet. This is a challenge the team is still praying about. It was often a topic of discussion on this trip since especially the advanced boys are extremely close to our hearts and have become like sons to Richard and Ingela. Solution-based ideas include finding opportunities for the boys to spend 3-6 months with horse people known by Ingela and Richard to work as apprentices, in order to learn to work, yet in a place where they will receive grace and not be run down if they happen to make a mistakes. Another thought is to buy a property in Brazil, so that the boys would always have a place to go. A farm where they could train horses and also produce natural horsemanship equipment.
Two of the advanced boys, Patrick and Fabricio have already started to make natural rope halters. This is a skill they have taught themselves over the past 6 months. We provided the rope, they created the equipment. These halters are currently for sale in the UK and Canada. If you are interested please contact us. The money from the sales will go into an account for the boys for their future and a percentage will go to support Horses for Orphans.
For Richard and Ingela the project continues to be a work priority even when they are not in Brazil. On this trip they handed out ‘Horse Handling Journals’ and H-Factor Certificates, as well as the H-Factor Horse Handling Assessment Task book and the H-Factor Concepts 1 DVD, which they have produced. Both the book and the DVD are now in production, see www.theh-factor.com.
The H-Factor programme was originally created for orphans and the underprivileged to gain training in three areas: Horse Skills, Life Skills, and English Skills. Applying the keys they learn to their lives will help them leave a poverty mindset behind.
For more information on Horses for Orphans you can view a 20min documentary (1yr old now) on www.horsesfororphans.com or on YouTube, and you can see more photos on the Horses for Orphans Facebook page.
We appreciate your continual outpouring of prayers for the Horses for Orphans projects. The hearts of many are being reached, touched and healed.
Thank you so much for your support and God bless you!
Prayer Points for the Brazil Project:
– spiritual, mental, and physical health of the children, leadership and teams
– health and weight gain of the 19 horses (we have one new colt, two yearlings, two 2 year olds and 14 adult horses)
– problems/concerns we have: bats biting the horses, grass quality poor
Drainage for the arena
Concrete patch in the wash area
Tack and Feed Room