In Harmony with the creation
“Estância Fazendinha” (little farm): this is the name of the leisure park operated by Shepherd Rodolfo Mucha and his wife Analice in southwestern Brazil—and wherever possible, they do so in harmony with God’s creation, which is especially beautiful here.
The picturesque site stretches along the shores of the Moji-Guaçú River: visitors can admire ecological hiking trails through untouched forest, anglers can enjoy fish ponds, and there are swimming pools, boat tours, rides, and even organic fruit and vegetable gardens. To make it all complete, the resort also features a restaurant and various facilities for overnight accommodation. The leisure resort was built—and is still operated—by Shepherd Rodolfo Mucha (66) and his wife Analice (51). They are supported in their endeavours by their daughter Ana Paula (33), son Willy (28), and a number of employees.
The Mucha family has European roots. Rodolfo’s father came to the region from Hamburg at the end of the 1930s. Analice’s great grandparents were originally from Belgium and Italy. Rodolfo’s father became acquainted with the New Apostolic Church through an immigrant who testified of the New Apostolic Creed in Barrinha. Analice had moved to Barrinha with her parents, and had found her way to the New Apostolic faith there too. It was in the congregation there that Analice and Rodolfo met and fell in love. The two were married in the year 1984.
“Deficiencies” turn out to be a blessing
“We were just married when the opportunity arose to purchase the 14-hectare property on the shores of the river—which is also near to the city—for a very good price,” relates Shepherd Mucha, before going on to explain: “No one wanted it because there were once four earthenware kilns here, which produced bricks and roof tiles—leaving the property full of deep pits.” The young couple began by building their own house, and then forged plans to transform the property into a leisure and holiday resort over time.
“Slowly, and with a great deal of effort, courage, and willpower—as well as the help of God—the ‘Estância Fazendinha’ came into being,” summarises Rodolfo Mucha. When they came up with the right idea, the deep pits turned out to be a blessing. “Today we have seven ponds with different sorts of fish, which are kept under supervision,” relates Rodolfo Mucha. Over time, further pits were dug and turned into swimming pools for children and adults.
Self-produced and recycled
The special thing about the “Estância Fazendinha” is that the operators produce many things themselves. Sustainability is taken into account in the process, and the use of recyclable materials is preferred. Shepherd Mucha and his team have designed and handcrafted many of the things that can be found on the site: including the small train, paddle boats for the lakes, vehicles for tours around the site, a slide, a cable car, and so on.
“We even built a real boat in our workshop: it is 18 metres long and 4.2 metres wide, weighs 17 tonnes, and is designed for a maximum of 55 persons and two crew members,” says Rodolfo Mucha with pride. It is called “Pioneiro” (Pioneer). Rodolfo’s son has since acquired his qualification as a ship captain, and accompanies visitors on boat tours through the area’s enchanting seascapes.
While her husband takes care of the technical aspects, Analice is in charge of customer service, guest accommodations and catering, events, and social activities.
Opportunities to talk about faith
Naturally, the “Estância Fazendinha” also serves as a gathering place for the New Apostolic Christians of the region from time to time: divine services under the open sky and congregational celebrations have already taken place here. The members are also fond of organising private celebrations here.
“Living faith in practice” in daily life is the top priority for family Mucha. “Our daily contact with people at the ‘Estância Fazendinha’ very often allows us to talk about our faith,” says Rodolfo Mucha with delight.
Despite the many tasks there are to perform around the holiday resort, the couple actively contributes to congregational life. Shepherd Mucha is rector in his home congregation of Barrinha, and serves the congregation together with one other Priest and a Deacon. His family sings along in the choir and helps along wherever there is work to do in the congregation. “It is a joy for us to serve the Lord.”