Dancing With Thieves by Cally Magalhães

ICN’s heart and purpose is to come alongside people that have been internationally displaced and help them in the practical, social, legal and more areas of life encountered as a result of their international migration. People from other nations have come to our nation and we seek to help.

In contrast, ‘Dancing With Thieves’ tells the story of people internally displaced in their own country (in this case Brazil) and how God led a British missionary to travel to that country to help them!

‘Dancing With Thieves’ is a riveting and compassionately written autobiography of a missionary called Cally Magalhães. Through professional and personal highs (getting into a top British ballet school) and lows (her dream of becoming a ballet dancer ended due to curvature of the spine, a marriage ending in divorce) she found Jesus, became a Christian and her life’s direction was changed.

God put the plight of street children on her heart and after several years of training and wonderful confirmations of God’s call, in 1999 she set off in faith to begin a new chapter of her life helping the street children of Brazil!

It was not easy! But God was with her protecting and helping her as she began working in the ‘favelas’ (groups of shacks or houses illegally built on unused land. They are often in dangerous conditions around rivers, sewage, exposed electricity wires, rubbish heaps & all sorts of flies, rats, and rodents. Just like a hotel they are rated on a star system 1 to 5!)

Cally’s heart breaks for the children and families that she meets. The deprivation that they live in and the trauma of their lives. She lovingly comes alongside, befriends, and helps them practically with food and where possible new accommodation. She sees the miraculous provision of finance by God in all of these initiatives.

Cally goes on to work in youth prisons, devise a pioneering program called ‘psychodrama’ (utilising all of the singing, dancing and ballet training from her youth!) that enabled offenders to feel and grasp the emotions of those affected by their crimes in role playing various different characters impacted by their crimes. Eyes are opened, lives are transformed and reoffending rates plummet!

‘Dancing With Thieves’ is a book that stirred my heart and eyes of faith! It reminds, challenges and confirms the truth to those of us involved in ICN that regardless of the cause of a person’s displacement God is a lover of people & sends His people to help restore lives. As we participate in that call we find, like Cally, that it feels, ‘ like [we] were born to do what [we] do. It isn’t a job. It’s a privilege’.

Daniel Wilkinson; SCSA Support Worker

04 March 2021

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