Movement Beyond Brazil Joins Movement Within for Flood Relief and Restoration

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Disaster Relief, Global Strategy

By Carl Stagner

When disaster strikes, the people of God respond with the grace of God. To the glory of God, his church is active and vibrant on six continents; in South America, the country of Brazil is one of several nations where the kingdom of God is expanding rapidly as the body of Christ turns faith into action. Without delay, for example, the Church of God in Brazil responded decisively to the devastating flooding that ravaged the southern part of the country from late April into May. When the Church of God in the United States and Canada provided funding for flood relief, the Movement beyond Brazil effectively joined the Movement within for what determined disciples of Jesus were already doing to make a difference.

The vital ministry of Church of God missionaries to Brazil, Jonathan and Beth Todd, reflects a similar partnership approach to kingdom expansion. Like Church of God missionaries around the world, they’re not establishing a new way of doing things nor are they reinventing the wheel. Instead, they’re coming alongside what the Brazilian Church of God is doing so well to communicate Christ and love their neighbors. Recently, Jonathan was blessed with the opportunity to take a trip to the part of Brazil still suffering from weather’s wrath more than a couple months ago. His travels to Rio Grande do Sul gave him a glimpse of the degree of destruction and severity of suffering, but most incredibly, how the Church of God in Brazil is stewarding resources to render relief and restoration.

The name of Jesus remains…

The regional leader for the Church of God in Rio Grande do Sul, Pastor Alcione, served as host and guide for Jonathan’s survey of the situation. What Jonathan saw was staggering—both the damage and the magnitude of the efficient operation made possible by the local Church of God. His description of the donation center in Passo Fund, “a regional collection point for disaster relief,” is as follows:

“It’s in a warehouse,” he writes. “When we were there, it was short on volunteers, but the military is also staffing it. Donations come in during the day and volunteers and soldiers organize it. Then, throughout the night, semis are loaded with supplies and sent out to different cities.”

Jonathan Todd offers further details on what they did and what he saw.

Massive warehouse for distribution!

“Alcione and I left his house before 2:00 AM on Saturday [to meet] up with some brothers from another Church of God congregation,” he recounts. “We drove about six hours to meet a semi owned by a church member. It had two metric tons of donated food in the form of cesta basicas (basic food staples), several tons of water, blankets, donated toys, clothes, and other supplies. Everything but food, water, blankets, and toys were offloaded at a retreat center used by an Apostolic church that is pastored by a cousin of the truck driver. We then shifted the remaining donations to a smaller truck and drove them to the city of Eldorado do Sul. We were sent to a neighborhood [with an incredibly large] amount of destruction. 100 percent of the area of the city was under water during the worst of the flooding. We were joined by a doctor from Santa Catarina (state north of us) along with members of his church… He setup a grubby table and chair he found and proceeded to do checkups and hand out meds he brought. The remaining church members were either cleaning houses or giving away 600 meals. Only about 30 percent of all houses had insurance.”

Jonathan tells of the city of Estrela, where forty-seven families were living in tents because their neighborhood of 1,500 residents was totally destroyed as the river rose 30 meters. The government has declared it too dangerous to return home, so residents are pleading with officials to give them lots on which they can rebuild. Opportunities were afforded Jonathan to minister to locals, even as the local churches continue to persevere amid the challenges and offer hope to the hopeless.

Just a few of the local Church of God faces responsible for a great disaster relief effort!

“The churches are overwhelmed, but they are doing good work,” Jonathan reports. “…Alcione is gathering the information for the 47 displaced families and his goal is to get 47 Church of God congregations across Brazil to each adopt a family. One church member owns a house painting business. The German social ministry is donating funds for painting supplies, and that brother and some volunteers are going to help with painting houses. Others work in construction and are looking how they can help.”

To come alongside and further equip vital relief responses such as these, gifts can be made to Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief. 100 percent of your donation goes to assist Church of God communities affected by disaster globally. For current disaster information, click here. To learn more about the Church of God work in Brazil, click here.

Feature (top) photo: Neighborhood decimated by the floodwaters.

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