Roraima: assistance is given to the indigenous communities by MCC during the pandemic

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” This quote from Psalm 57 portrays the global pandemic situation that has plagued all peoples today. However, provision and assistance have been a constant concern of pastors of the Maranatha Christian Church (MCC) in dealing with their sheep, the members of their churches. In this matter, Pastor Flávio Ximenes reports the challenges and experiences of assisting indigenous communities in the municipalities of Pacaraima and Boa Vista, in the state of Roraima.

It is worth mentioning that 46,106 thousand indigenous people occupy 46.37% of the state’s territory, according to information from the Roraima government website. Currently, the church assists indigenous people from the communities of Boca da Mata, Aleluia and Fonte Nova. The first two are located in the municipality of Pacaraima and the last, in the rural area of ​​Boa Vista. The ethnic groups of the indigenous brothers in the three communities are Macuxi and Wapixana. “Even a sister, our teacher for the children, is Macuxi and her husband, who is a worker, is Wapixana,” informed Pastor Flávio Ximenes.

In addition to spiritual support, food donations are also made. The resources for the donations of the basic baskets come from the Maranatha Christian International Mission (MCIM), an organization linked to MCC that has the objective of promoting assistance to the faithful in need. “We bought 11 food baskets, we still have five and I collected some resources with brothers to make some special food supplements for the children,” said Pastor Flávio, grateful for God’s provision.

Below, specific information regarding the reception of ICM digital services in each supported indigenous community.

Boca da Mata Community participates in cell phone audio services

The highway that accesses Boca da Mata is hampered by social isolation measures. As a result, the community is in need of basic resources such as food. However, an indigenous worker, a teacher in the community, has distributed the food baskets among the 31 members.

It has been difficult to participate in services via internet and open television. The energy is through a diesel generator and there is no television signal to watch the program “Announcing the Eternal Gospel”. However, the city provided a public internet network in the locality, however with low speed, with fluctuations in operation. Given this possibility of access, Pastor Flávio Ximenes sent cell phone donations to families to absorb the digital content that is sent out by the church.

In this way, members have been following the schedule of services via audio, as they are lighter files for reception in low-speed internet areas. Daily, they receive early morning services broadcast by Radio Maanaim and 8 pm services on Youtube. When they get a better internet signal, they receive video calls from the pastor to pray with their families.

As an experience, the indigenous teacher who assists the community acquired COVID-19 along with his wife. They received the medication from the health team. They were treated at home, because there is no hospital and they are already cured.

Boca da Mata is an entirely indigenous community and has been assisted by MCC for nine years. They currently gather in a sanctuary located in a building belonging to the community with 31 members.

Aleluia community is totally isolated

Assistance to the Aleluia community was carried out constantly and in person by MCC, because in addition to evangelization, they needed material resources. Currently, MCC members belonging to the community are not communicating with the church because they do not have access to television, internet or cell phone signal. Access was attempted by the indigenous worker to take food and gasoline to the generator, however, according to the isolation measures, it was not possible.

Before the pandemic, MCC installed a generator to provide conditions for receiving the satellite signal of services on Mondays and Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Sunday Bible Schools. They also participated in presential services. “The community of Aleluia is totally dependent on us, it has no resources, it is isolated 88 km from the highway and we cannot access it.” Pastor Flávio said asking for prayer for those members who are not communicating with the church and without access to services. The pastor also said that there is enormous concern for the brothers in this rainy season, when malaria cases are increasing significantly. The Aleluia community has been assisted by the church for nine years, bringing together 21 members in a straw-covered structure, characteristic of this region.

Fonte Nova community participates in services on TV and internet

MCC also supports the community of Fonte Nova, which is entirely indigenous and also has no financial resources. So, in the face of the pandemic, it was necessary to put a power source three weeks ago and a television set for members to watch digital services. As the locality has a television signal, they are watching the Program Announcing the Eternal Gospel on Sundays at 1 pm local time. The church was also able to provide high-speed internet to participate in daily digital services via YouTube. “It is a community that is more assisted, because we can enter there to take food resources as basic food baskets”, reported Pastor Flávio, also saying that three families have malaria, but are already being medicated.

As for the time of evangelization of MCC in the community, Fonte Nova has been assisted for five and a half years and has 44 regular members. The pastor also informed that today he paid a visit in the locality to assist and take the donation of a cell phone for a family to have access to digital services. The dirt road to Fonte Nova is difficult to approach and with this rainy season it becomes even more inaccessible. However, the work of evangelization and assistance has been carried out by the MCC with the support of the MCIM so that the Gospel is proclaimed and that the faithful lack nothing.

By Andréia Talma

Translated by Sara Abbasova

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