Brazil Marin’s Missionary Changes Lives One Orphanage at a Time
November 9, 2017
Behind the counter at Brazil Marin, home to the best açaí bowls in San Rafael, stands 25-year old, Pedro Alves Da Cunha. Located in an unfortunate nook of San Rafael just off of Fourth Street, Brazil Marin is easy to miss. But the lucky ones that come across this little store are fortunate enough to meet an amazing South African evangelist who has already accomplished so much in his lifetime and is continuing to perform unimaginable work by helping impoverished children in both Mozambique and South Africa.
Alves Da Cunha grew up in South Africa and moved to the United States when he was 20 years old to further his studies in both Business Management and Theology. Before emigrating to the United States, Alves Da Cunha invested his time in helping his local church in South Africa, in which he worked for nearly 15 years. Given that both of his parents are missionaries, Alves Da Cunha has always been connected to the Christian faith. His father’s connection began when he was saved from substance dependency by Teen Challenge in Portugal –– a network of Christian faith-based corporations intended to help teenagers, adults, and families with problems such as substance abuse –– and was able to create a special relationship with Jesus and the Christian faith as a whole. After living in Portugal, where he met his wife, Alves Da Cunha’s Family moved to Mozambique during the war and began their work as missionaries.
“They could not live in Mozambique for long because it wasn’t humanly possible. People were dying of starvation and were being killed by both armies. So they moved to South Africa where they got offered a job at a church there and they stayed there for 25 years,” he said.
He began working with the church from a young age and continued his work for nearly 15 years until he moved to the United States five years ago. In the United States, he continues to pursue his passion for community service and he involves himself in a lot of church work. His love for Christianity transcends the church and carries into his job at Brazil Marin. He is constantly promoting the church and his faith as he converses and even seeks to convert some to Christianity in the little Brazilian store. He states, “The best part of the job is that I can evangelize and talk about Jesus [to customers], so when people come here it’s a great way to talk to immigrants.” He further discusses that when immigrants first arrive in America, most are lonely, so he finds it important to support them and offer any assistance, as he encountered the same struggles as an immigrant. “So that’s what I enjoy doing and what is rewarding to me. Giving people information or offering them help to find a job, or to find a place to live, finding a place where they can actually get a tax ID number. I enjoy helping people who are struggling and need assistance,” he said. Alves Da Cunha is not your typical checkout clerk; he is someone that is always willing to start a conversation and help all those in need. The humility and genuine care for all can be seen instantly within first interactions. He is planning on bringing these incredible qualities back to South Africa within a few years.
“My plan, as far as missionary work, is to continue work with the programs set up for those in need because of where [our church is] in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a place full of poverty, where people earn less than $20 a month, so it’s something that our church looks to do. We try and feed children before school so that they don’t go to school hungry and don’t go home hungry. One of the things we do is to have a safe haven for children with AIDS in Mozambique, so my plan is to get people here to support us there.” Alves Da Cunha believes that his time in America is meant for him to build a network of people that want to “bless children’s lives, and bless widows, and orphans, because that is what our church does.”
Along with these programs, Alves Da Cunha plans to start his own project and build an orphanage in both South Africa and Mozambique: “The generation of fatherless children is rising and it’s not necessarily because parents are putting kids up for adoption, but because fathers are dead. My main goal is to go back and help the children there.”
Alves Da Cunha is a true inspiration to all and the work he plans on accomplishing in the near future is truly remarkable. His love and special connection to Christianity will bring about many wonders for all the people that are blessed by his work. Those who are fortunate enough to encounter the charming little Brazilian store tucked away in the nook off Fourth Street will have the pleasure to meet the wonderful and life-changingPedro Alves Da Cunha.