||Club Lighthouse Publishing
The Shard Fence
Keith Madsen, author
The Shard Fence is the story of a North American young man and a Brazilian young woman who teach a church in Belo Horizonte to tap faith in God to fight violence and drugs in their Brazilian favela. Together they learn the truth of Christ's words, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."
This work of fiction is based on experiences the author had while visiting JAMI (a Baptist missionary training school) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 2005. With other members of First Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon, he visited a favela church where a devoted pastor worked to free people from slavery to drugs and alcohol. His church had 200 former drug lords in attendance. Because of the help of Ann Borquist, the author is dedicating 20% of his profits to the work of JAMI in Brazil.
Aline’s eyes were drawn to look out her window again, not by a sudden noise or movement, but rather by the sudden quiet. As she looked, she found all movement had stopped, and the eyes of everyone around now focused on two figures on the corner opposite
the church. One was a young boy not more than twelve whom Aline recognized as having been coming to their church service. The other figure made her heart stop with a lurch,before jolting into a gallop. It was Oscar Santoro. She had seen him in the neighbourhood
only twice before and both times someone had died.
Aline bolted from her seat, but even as she did she heard the shot ring out. She didn’t want to take the split second it would have taken to look out the window, and before the
sound of the shot had stopped reverberating in the air, she had already made her way to the
stairs to begin her rapid descent. She took two and three stairs at a time, and the face of the innocent young twelve year old boy was so burned into her mind’s vision, that she found
herself running into people at every turn, each one oblivious to the crisis at hand.
“Aline! Open your eyes for heaven’s sake!,” shouted her friend Eliana. “Or is the building burning down and I don’t know it?”
“Shot! Someone’s shot!” She didn’t have time to ask why Eliana hadn’t heard it, or to explain that the victim was a twelve year old boy; and she didn’t even think to ask Eliana to
call for help. All her mind could think of was she needed to get down there on the street and kneel next to the child, to hold his hand in what were probably the waning moments of his
life. Every life deserved at least that much.
As she burst forth from the church door, the glare of the sunlight partially obscured her vision of the street corner she knew to be the site of the traumatic event. But even so she
moved quickly into the street, not even looking for what traffic there might be. And then she saw. Standing on the corner, looking down at a quivering body in a still-growing pool of blood was the boy.
Aline stopped in the middle of the street and screamed. The boy turned and looked at her, and then tucked the gun into his belt, and began to casually walk down the street. Tires
slid across the gravel to her left as a vehicle stopped, but Aline didn’t even turn to look in that direction. She just stared at the departing figure.
“Stop!” Aline cried out in what was more of a gasp than a command. “Stop! You can’t just … stop!”
But the boy didn’t stop. Without even looking back, he just waved in her direction, as if they were old friends parting company for a short while.
Aline looked down at the wounded man, the dreaded Oscar Santoro. The blood oozed forth from a black hole in his chest. His eyes stared up at the sky with an expression of shock and confusion, while his lips tried to form words. Aline trembled herself as she dropped to her hands and knees and drug herself forward into the gruesome red pool. She gently took his hand, and his eyes shifted ever so slightly in her direction. His hand, which even from the first was cold, stiffened; and his facial expression froze.
“He’s dead, Aline. You can do no more.”
The young woman looked up, bleary-eyed at the face of Pastor Ronald Fernandes, the one who had spoken, and who now stood beside her. Next to him stood one she knew to be the young man the pastor had gone to pick up, the one she had been looking forward to
seeing. Even through her tear-filled eyes, she could see the stunned look and the blanched face. This was not the welcome she had hoped to give him. She refocused her attention on the pastor.
“He was just a boy … the shooter. I’ve seen him in church.”
The pastor arched a brow. “A boy? A boy shot Oscar Santoro?”
Aline knew she nodded her head, even though the world around her seemed to be spinning around.
Pastor Fernandes was trembling as he turned to face the young American.
“Mister McCallister, have you ever been in a war?” he asked, speaking in English.
The young man, with his eyes wide and focused on the pastor, slowly shook his head.
“Well, you’re in one now,” Pastor Fernandes said in a near-whisper. “We must all go into the sanctuary now and pray. And then, Mister McCallister, I will give you just one minute to decide if you want one of us to drive you back to the airport, and a flight to the safety of your home."
The Shard Fence
A shard Fence is a barricade made from broken glass and bits of sharp objects placed on the top of a wall intending to keep people out. But, as all young men know, a fence is always a challenge to see if you can get over it unharmed. It is this fence that sets the tone for The Shard Fence.
Brandon McCallister, an American youth who is running away from a few of his own demons responds to a request through a Facebook connection to help Brazilian children at a church in Belo Horizonte learn English and piano. Shortly after he arrives, however, he is exposed to murders committed in the name of drug lords. The pastor of the church is one of those killed in the senseless violence. Instead of running back to the safety of the United States, Brandon stays in Brazil working with the woman, Aline who had originally invited him to help the community reject the violence and use faith and encouragement to create a positive from where before was only negative.
Keith Madsen is an American Baptist Minister who has served churches in Kansas, Washington, Oregon and New Jersey.
Presently he is the Associate Pastor of Wilson Memorial Union Church in Watching, New Jersey. In his pastoral capacity he has counseled many families who have lost teenagers and children, a central part of the story in his book: Searching for Eden. He has also had an intense personal interest not only in the biblical stories about human origins, but also in historical and archaeological research into that subject. He has long thought that had he not become a minister, he would have liked to have become an archaeologist.
The Shard Fence is based on Madsen's short-term mission trip to Belo Horizonte, Brazil where he worked at the Junta Administrativa de Missões, called JAMI, a training school for Brazilian Baptists going out on mission work. Madsen is dedicating 20% of his book's proceeds to the work of JAMI.
Well written with true, compelling dialogue, a pace that never gives up and a few good twists, The Shard Fence is an inspirational story of how faith in the goodness of others ultimately wins over violence and disillusionment. I give this book an Above Average rating.
Highly Recommended by Reviewer: Wendy Thomas, Allbooks Reviews. www.allbookreviews.com
Title: The Shard Fence
Author: Keith Madsen
Publisher: Club Lighthouse Publishing E-book
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