January 12, 2017

Brazil's Seventh-day Adventists Meet Community Needs in Hard Times

Following recent tragic events in Brazil — a New Year's Day massacre at a prison — as well as flooding in the state of Rio Grande do Sul — Seventh-day Adventists in the nation are working to help meet human needs, and share an affirmation of faith in the process.

"WE'RE HERE TO PRAY WITH YOU ..." is wording on a banner behind Seventh-day Adventist volunteers in Manaus, Brazil, following a deadly prison riot on January 1, 2017. {ASN photo]

A a group of volunteers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church distributed water, food, and the outreach book In Search of Hope as a way of helping relatives of massacre victims from the prison riots that took place on January 1 in the city of Manaus. The volunteers also prayed with family members.

Many of the relatives present were trying to get information on their relatives, while others were there to identify the victims. A total of 56 inmates were killed in the Anísio Jobim Penentitiary Complex as well as four other inmates in the Puraquequara unit.

"Many people were unable to eat, in addition to their emotional breakdown. We went to the place to show our solidarity and share hope."

“Many people were unable to eat, in addition to their emotional breakdown. We went to the place to show our solidarity and share hope. We tried to provide an aid and spiritual support,” said Pastor Fabiano Denardi, regional publishing ministries director.

Tobson da Silva, a volunteer, said the mood for many of the relatives was of sadness, pain, and anguish, as some where uncertain whether their relatives were dead or had escaped.

“We were there to, in some way, bring comfort in a sad moment such as this,” Silva explained.

This is the second largest massacre in the history of Brazilian prisons, coming only behind the Carandiru prison massacre, when 111 inmates were killed on October 2, 1992.

Five days after the Manaus prison tragedy, thousands of people in and around Rolante, a city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, were affected as flooding caused major damage to roads, bridges and thousands of homes.

The Brazilian office of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, ADRA, brought a truck from São Paulo to Rolante as part of relief operations.

The truck contained a kitchen capable of preparing 15,000 meals a day, as well as a laundry that could process 88 pounds (20 kilos) of laundry an hour.

The truck also had an area where people could receive counseling.