Sensitive to emotional and spiritual needs during the most challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sobradinho Seventh-day Adventist Church near Brazil’s capital held a prayer drive on April 3, 2021. The initiative moved many residents to tears, organizers said. The initiative was part of the closing activities at the end of Holy Week, as the days around Easter weekend are known, and was accompanied by a drive-in service.
The Prayer Caravan drove around several neighborhoods of that working-class community, part of Brasilia’s Federal District. The caravan and volunteers stopped at 12 specific spots to reach out and pray with people while following social distancing recommendations.
Local church pastor Sandro Costa said the goal was to pray for every resident in the area, and people responded. People waved to the caravan and made prayer gestures, visibly moved. “You could see how touched they were that someone was praying for them,” Costa said.
In a partnership with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) regional offices, church members also donated thousands of gloves and gowns to health-care workers at the Sobradinho Regional Hospital. The caravan stopped by the hospital and by a local Emergency Care Unit to pray specifically for those working on the frontlines during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil.
During the prayer drive, church volunteers also distributed copies of the book Hope Beyond the Crisis, by Mark Finley.
At the end of the prayer drive, the caravan returned to the local church, where they made the official delivery of the personal protective equipment (PPE) to local hospital officials. Together with the donation, church members gave them dozens of letters written by the congregation’s children and teenagers, expressing thanks for their selfless service at this challenging time.
“These were moments of great emotion for the community, for church members, and health professionals of the Sobradinho hospital,” Costa said.
Hospital general director Juliana Queiroz reflected on the Adventist congregation’s initiative. “This is an extraordinary moment,” Queiroz said. “I want to thank you for everything you have given us. Not just the material items but especially for your emotional and spiritual support.”
For Costa, the 2021 prayer drive initiative was unique for two reasons — the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to combine prayers with a substantial donation to the local hospital. It made the moment memorable, he emphasized. “Community and church together, taking care of each other. Church members and residents sharing tears, placing their trust in our Savior,” Costa said. “The emotion was palpable.”