The last two years have been such a challenge for each of us. They have brought uncertainty and fear. We have lost loved ones and tried our best to support others facing similar loss and grief. It has been a time of trauma. As I share what it has been like in Brazil, I would like to move into a time of reflection and prayer with you – of looking ahead together with hope for the future…
Leading Tearfund’s work in Brazil during this time has required me to know God on a deeper level. It was this that sustained me – I knew God was in control, and therefore I was not lost. I had hope. I have constantly been asking God to grant me the capacity to love and be compassionate on a deeper level towards those around me. And the more time I spent with God meant I was more easily able to share with others some of his love and hope.
I learnt how to connect better with myself and those around me. Every staff member in our team has lost a relative or friend to coronavirus. It was important to find new ways we could share compassion and love and to support each other in our healing process.
It was also a time to ask God for creativity and to imagine new ways of doing things – so that we were able to meet the needs of so many people who were suffering in our teams and across Brazil.
Before I say more, I want to thank all Tearfund supporters and let you know that your prayers have sustained us in these difficult times. I'm also thankful for every resource invested in Brazil. They have been used well, and lives have been changed.
The church is a beacon of hope
The spread of Covid-19 in Brazil was terrifying. Through Tearfund’s network of church partners, we were able to quickly respond. But the need was great.
Food baskets, clean water, face masks and hand sanitizers were delivered to communities. We also set up online meetings with church leaders to equip them in how they could be salt and light in the places where they served, by sharing accurate information on the virus to slow the spread and meeting their communities’ practical needs.
As the pandemic raged on, we set up online pastoral meetings with church and community leaders as places where they could share their experiences with other leaders and be encouraged and listened to. As exhaustion and burnout crept in, these places became havens of prayer and support.
Since February, cases of Covid-19 have been decreasing in Brazil. Restrictions are easing, but Covid-19 has left a legacy of trauma and hurt. People are weary. Perhaps you feel this too?
Hope and purpose
One of the projects we are now implementing in Brazil is addressing the collective trauma that so many people are experiencing. We are working with our church partners to plan events and training that bring hope and healing to communities.
It is important to address the hurt and the grief that we are carrying – not to push it deep down inside of us. If we want to move forward – we must find a way of processing what we’ve felt, and what we continue to feel. To be honest with God about where we’re at. And – if it’s safe to do so – to share with loved ones too, so we’re connected to support.
This is what going deeper with God looks like for me. Handing over these daily burdens and finding hope and purpose to continue to do God’s work here on Earth.
Sharing a table together
I am excited to visit our local partners and the communities we work with; to sit around the table, pray, and envision what the next few years together will look like.
The church has an incredible message of hope that the world needs right now. As Christians, we can be agents of change as we proclaim the kingdom of God. We can play a part in healing our communities. In speaking up for and aiding a recovery that is fair and just for all.
I would love to encourage you to dream big about what this could look like for your local community, and also for our brothers and sisters around the world. I invite you to bring it to God who can do more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Please join me in praying for a world that is still hurting and for God to meet us where we are at so we can help bring restoration.
Pray with us
This prayer is written by Pastor Lindon Carlos Vieira dos Santos, who leads Ação Evangélica – Evangelical Action, a Tearfund partner in Brazil.
Heavenly Father, with confidence in Christ, we come to you.
Thank you for hearing our prayer. Thank you for staying with us in difficult times; through conflict, hunger and terrible illnesses, like coronavirus.
We pray for all peoples and governments. Before you, we place all refugees and our siblings in Christ who suffer persecution. We pray for your church around the world. Father, we ask for your protection, blessing, and mercy upon us here and in the most inhospitable places.
Lord, the pandemic has caused horrors to millions of families everywhere. Death, pain and grief have hit our homes, churches, and communities. The most vulnerable still carry physical, emotional and spiritual pains.
Amid the desolation caused by disease, conflict, and governments' instabilities, we ask you to strengthen the work of your church in favor of those in need. Bring water, food, hygiene kits, help and relief. Bring words and actions of comfort and peace. Bring signs of your kingdom, flashes of light that illuminate the dark days.
Lord, we need your presence. We need your church and Christian organizations to unite and not give up when facing such complex challenges. We need your provision, wisdom and grace so we can follow you. We wait for your return, Lord. In the meantime, help us, Lord, to support those in need or who are oppressed.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Story originally published on March 25, 2022 by Tearfund UK by Claudia Moreira. Main Image: Tom Price-Ecce Opus/Tearfund