In the second week of January, the city of Guaíba, Rio Grande do Sul, witnessed a natural disaster that resulted in several losses. There was a lot of rain, and the wind reached the speed of 130 km (80+ miles) per hour. One of the most affected places was the Jardim Santa Rita neighborhood, where houses were stripped of their roofs, schools were flooded, and factories stopped working.
Mayor Marcelo Reinaldo and the deputy mayor, Claudia Jardim, already knew about the social work that the Seventh-day Adventist Church carries out for the benefit of the community. They needed a distribution center for food, clothing, tiles, and water, so they contacted the local church to support this cause.
The church readily accepted the challenge. And with the youth of Caleb Mission, the work started that same night. A generator was intended for the site, as the entire neighborhood was without electricity. The tasks were divided among the volunteers, who helped with distributing food, sorting clothes, and delivering tiles.
With the disaster, many people felt desolate and hopeless. With that in mind, Adventist youth handed out books and magazines that talked about this topic. The initiative generated union between those who worked and those who benefited.
According to Jader Rodrigues, one of the youths who was involved in the action, the residents themselves often helped by delivering water and juice to the volunteers who were delivering food and tiles.
Awakening to Solidarity
For Krysthiéllen Bittencourt, who led the Caleb Mission for the first time, this event made her rethink her conduct as a follower of Christ.
“I was used to going to church regularly, attending services every Sabbath. But last Sabbath was different: we spent the day helping in the mission. I stopped being a spectator and became a collaborator. My house was not affected, but church brothers, neighbors, and friends suffered material losses. There's no way not to take this as a lesson for life, me being a young Adventist”, emphasizes Krysthiéllen.
This article was originally published on the South American Division’s news site