As heavy rains and flooding continues in Brazil, woman who lost everything has only one request: a Bible

By Lizzie Sotola |
Floods in Brazil
As it rains again, the civil defense agency ordered no one to go to the city of Porto Alegre. However, the volunteer assistance to the rescued people hasn’t stopped. | Aliança Evangélica Brasileira

Among the testimonies that the Brazilian Evangelical Alliance (Aliança Evangélica Brasileira, AEB) collected during the ongoing rain emergency in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, a woman approached Pastor Cassiano Luz, executive director of the alliance. “Can I ask you for something?” she said, and when he responded affirmingly, she whispered: “I just want a Bible.”

Pastor Luz shared his reflection on the very emotional moment on his Instagram account, saying, “I passed by a shelter, there are 6 in [the municipality of] Cruzeiro do Sul. As I was talking to the people they started asking for some things, like wet wipes, diapers, big clothes, etc. And then I said, we’ll bring it tomorrow, tomorrow I will come early and bring food.”

Cassiano Luz, Executive Director of the Brazilian Evangelical Alliance.
Cassiano Luz, Executive Director of the Brazilian Evangelical Alliance. | Instagram

“As I was leaving, a lady, a little old lady called me, and she said quietly in my ear, “can I ask you for something?” And I said, “sure, I don't know if I can help, but yes.” And then tears started rolling down her eyes and she said, “can you get me a Bible? Because mine got washed away in the flood.” It's one of those moments when you break down, isn't it? It's already getting dark here, but I told her, I'm going to come back today to give you the Bible,” he said.

At a time when people lost everything, the only thing she asked for was a Bible. Although she must have had many other needs because the water ruined her material possessions and she may even have lost her house, she only had that one request for what is most important in her life: the Word of God.

Volunteers at the forefront of relief work

The AEB continues working with volunteers coming from different parts of the country. They had to create a waiting list of people whom they ask to be “prepared because at any moment a place will be assigned to them”, Pastor Luz said. He himself has been in the affected areas for days, supporting the local population.

“We continue to receive more volunteers and a greater volume of donations. Trucks are arriving every day,” he said. Therefore, he asked the municipal authorities, to “please take over emergency management in the municipality,” AEB said in an Instagram post.

At the moment, the vast majority of rescue and care work is handled by volunteer civilians who simply came in solidarity, bringing whatever tools and material they had to lend a hand, according to a CNN journalist.

Brazil floods donations
Donations keep coming in for those affected by the floods. | Aliança Evangélica Brasileira

As it rains again, the civil defense department ordered no one to go to the city of Porto Alegre. However, the volunteer assistance to the rescued people hasn’t stopped: They feed them, provide them with personal hygiene kits, clothes to change, they listen to them, hug them and cry with them, according to reports. The volunteers left the comfort and safety of their homes to come to the aid of those in need. And the requests for help keep coming in.

“Today our team of volunteers was called to help 'rescue' a school that was being flooded and was at risk of losing everything that was left, including the donations they had already received,” said the AEB.

Increasing concern as rivers rise again

In recent days, the rains were again torrential and the little water that had receded began to again increase the flow of the rivers. In a region already devastated by floods that have left more than 140 dead and hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes, the rising rivers are of great concern.

“Practically all the large rivers in the state show a tendency to rise,” reported the Civil Defense agency of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is experiencing the worst climate disaster in its history. The historic floods caused by heavy rains since the end of April have affected more than two million people. The National Water and Basic Sanitation Agency (ANA) reported that the level of the Guaíba river in Porto Alegre now reached 4.78 meters. Authorities expect that it will continue to rise and could reach 5.5 meters.

On social media, Ronaldo Lidório, a Brazilian theologian and writer, is among those who call for continued prayer and support. “Pray for the people of Rio Grande do Sul during this difficult time that the rains brought. Let us also support the Church of Christ that is at the forefront of several charities in that region,” he said.

Originally published by Diario Cristiano, Christian Daily International's Spanish edition.