The Maranatha Christian International Mission (MCIM) assists the riverside communities in the municipalities of Bagre, Breves, Melgaço and São Sebastião da Boa Vista, located on the island of Marajó, in the state of Pará. In addition to evangelistic and social assistance through the semiannual editions of the Amazon Mission, the region is also attended monthly by pastors of the Maranatha Christian Church (MCC). However, since March of this year, services and presential assistance have been suspended in response to social isolation measures that were implemented. Currently, pastors Danilo Israel, Antonino Magno and Edvan Ferreira de Oliveira are helping at a distance, sending resources and praying with families over the phone.
Reception of services in Melgaço, Bagre and Breves
According to information provided by Pastor Antonino Magno, regarding the churches in the municipalities of Melgaço, Bagre and Breves, MCC has approximately 130 members. In Melgaço and Bagre the internet signal is extremely low for accessing daily services. However, the pastor sends the links to families. Brethren who cannot gain access are assisted by telephone. In Melgaço there were no members infected with COVID-19. Only a young man in Bagre who has already recovered.
In Breves, members have participated in the services in their homes via the Internet, as they have a favorable signal. The brothers have lived countless experiences of evangelization. “The members have sent the links to an average of 200 residents and those who have attended the services have shown interest in visiting the MCC after this moment that we are living,” said Pastor Antonino, also saying that he has already received several calls from these visitors asking for a prayer.
Even with Breves having the highest proportion of COVID-19 cases in the state of Pará, according to a survey by the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), no MCC member was diagnosed. However, four families of visitors lost loved ones, but had the opportunity to hear the message of salvation through digital services.
A young woman who attended the church before the pandemic, with difficulties to participate in services and the Amazon Mission, is having a new experience at her home. At a Thursday service that she attended, her parents were touched by a pastor’s prayer for the lives of healthcare professionals. They were impressed by the church’s concern for doctors.
Another young woman, in turn, had an experience of evangelization with her family who lives in a place of difficult access in the interior of Breves, in the riverside community of the Caruaca River. By taking, through a rabeta (boat used for locomotion in the rivers of the region), a recorded service to watch with her family members who also have no internet signal.
Because of the social isolation measures, Melgaço, Breves and Bagre were left without means of transport to request government assistance in locations that have access to the internet. During this period, MCC distributed 20 basic food baskets and protective equipment such as masks and hygiene guidelines against coronavirus. They are currently receiving aid in their communities.
Find out how members of São Sebastião da Boa Vista are being assisted
ICM assists about 200 members in the municipality of São Sebastião da Boa Vista (SSBV) and riverside communities, which also includes the church on the Umarituba river, the Flexal river and Furo Grande do Umarituba. As for the reception of services during social isolation, in the municipality of SSBV the internet is of low speed. Thus, the antenna of the hall was installed at Brother Everaldo’s house, as his relatives and most of the members live close by. “Everyone is amazed, because the LORD has been working greatly on his family,” said Danilo Israel, who assists the municipality with the help of pastor Edvan Ferreira de Oliveira. In SSBV there are cases of COVID-19, but no member has been diagnosed.
The other brethren, belonging to the churches of the River Flexal and Furo Grande do Umarituba, go to the church of the River Umarituba in order to participate together in the cult via satellite, as they still have no reception in their localities, very little internet signal. It is worth mentioning that there are no cases of coronavirus in these assisted riverside communities that are part of the municipality of SSBV.
As for social assistance, the brethren have not yet expressed the need for basic food baskets, but they have already received financial aid for medical needs.
Testimonies from the brethren of SSBV
“Peace of the Lord, this is Brother Everaldo from São Sebastião da Boa Vista. We are very happy to be able to attend the services, which God provided for us with the installation of the antenna; the EBD, which is a wonderful Sunday Bible School, the teachings; as for the evening service, the praises are very good and the messages too. And to say that we are going through this time of distress, but God is with us. We feel very privileged to be attending these services at home, with family members, with friends and we miss you. May this work continue to grow, because it is serious work. I have been evangelizing with you, along with the brethren. We have only one purpose and I feel like I am part of this wonderful church. ”
“I am very happy and honored that God has given us yet another victory as we are gathered at home, watching satellite services every day, which is without a doubt a blessing. Sunday Bible School for children … We were praying, asking for this blessing, that it would come in our favor. Because, many times, we face difficulties to go to the city, but always waiting on the Lord, persevering. The Lord contemplated us and now we are all at home in this moment of battle. We have also always been assisted by pastors Danilo, Antonino, Edvan, who are always willing to advise us, to speak the Word, to alert and guide us. I’m very thankful. In the name of Jesus I know that we will go through all of this and in the end we will see the victory. ” Sister Leuda of São Sebastião da Boa Vista.
Translated by Sara Abbasova