Among the volunteers, José Gregorio participates in the preparation of the meals of the Solidarity Refrigerator. [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

South America

Amid the pandemic, volunteers find ways to care for those in need

Young people from Espaço Novo Tempo de Imperatriz organized a week full of actions to share love and hope

Brazil | Érica Tavares

Determined to positively impact people's lives, young people from Espaço Novo Tempo in Imperatriz, in Maranhão, decided to dedicate a week to carry out actions that bring hope to people in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic.
To this end, they engaged in the celebration of World Adventist Youth Day , celebrated on March 20. This year, the proposal was that each day of the week preceding the date, participants would meet action challenges for the next.

Youth leader of Espaço Novo Tempo, Justice Officer Shirleia Cabral explains the reason for the group's engagement in this movement. “The motto of the celebration is 'Be the Sermon'. So, we have to be the message through the attitudes and values ​​that we want to spread. Our motivation is to show that even in the pandemic it is possible, in person or remotely, to act like a Christian in fact should. Thus, we divided into teams and decided to adopt the challenges ”, she details.

She says that even with the day-to-day commitments, all members of the community were involved in the week's activities, including collaborating financially. “We all work all week, we do a lot for our own benefit. So, having the opportunity to do something for others, demonstrating the love of Jesus is a privilege. It is tiring, but the pleasure of serving is incomparable ”, he says.

Intense Care

To combat loneliness and offer a word of encouragement, they held the Call Center of Hope on Saturday, March 13. With phone calls, they set aside time to talk and pray with friends from the community. The next day, the Complete Connection challenge suggested to everyone that they reduce the use of cell phones and replace that time with habits that contribute to physical and mental health. The action on Monday, March 15, was the Correio da Esperança. They took decorated boxes to hospitals in the city, inviting people to place their prayer requests in them. After collecting the boxes, the young people organized a prayer time for the requests and got in touch with the people who made them.

Following the activities, Tuesday was the day of the Solidarity Refrigerator. The volunteers spent the afternoon preparing a meal to distribute to homeless people. Then, with the food ready and packaged, they went out in the evening to deliver 50 meals. On Wednesday the 17th, the young people set up Varal da Esperança at the bus terminal and in a shopping center in the city. This action included the installation of a real clothesline at the site, but instead of clothes, there were books that spoke of love and hope hanging on the clothesline. Inside each book, there was a handwritten letter. With biblical verses, the content reminded people that even in difficult times it is important to keep faith in Jesus. In addition, they made their contact information available in case anyone wanted to chat or had another special request.

The Donors of Life campaign was also held through Saturday, with blood donations in the city's blood center and the delivery of feed and cleaning products to the animal protection nonprofit, Recanto dos Peludos.

Give and Receive

Travel agent Dantas Amorim received one of the books at the bus station and really liked the initiative. “There are times when a word, an incentive, to hear about Jesus, is everything a person wants. Certainly, everyone needs hope today. A person without hope is a person without life, without a [purpose] ...”, points out Dantas.

Participating in the actions throughout the week, Jose Gregorio is a Venezuelan immigrant who has been in Imperatriz for just over a year. When he arrived in the city, he received emotional and material support, especially from friends at Espaço Novo Tempo. According to him, it made a lot of difference in his life. Today, working in a textile factory, he has the opportunity to do the same for other people. “I always think about how I can return everything I received here; helping people who need it in the same way that I also needed it, be it food, a word of support or anything else ”, says Jose.

New Time-Space

Headquartered in Imperatriz for almost six years, Espaço Novo Tempo is a Seventh-day Adventist community that seeks to lead people to have a personal relationship with Jesus. With varied content, its programming caters to all age groups. Focused on biblical principles, relationships and service, the place is ready to welcome everyone who is interested in meeting and participating. You can follow the programs and learn more about the community on its official Facebook page.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site