‘The most important action was the training provided by Tearfund on disasters,’ says Crispim Figueirêdo, a member of the local pastors’ and leaders’ council. ‘Soon after that we had a flood, and with the place full of water, people began to act. They worked all night. This mobilised pastors to open churches and people brought groceries, food and clothes for others.’
Important role of the church
As a result of their practical engagement, churches have become better acquainted with the realities of the community. This has resulted in an approach that goes beyond religious matters, and has raised interest in focusing on the sort of structural problems that bring about poverty and misery. By overcoming these problems, the quality of life of these people will improve significantly. This situation has encouraged people to recognise the important role the church has in the community, broadening the purely spiritual profile it has had historically.
‘I believe Clear River, Healthy Town is a project of God,’ says Carlos Matheus Lima, a member of the local youth monitoring committee, ‘because it came as a bridge to relieve these people from their suffering. These people lost their land, their homes, and their business because of this pollution. So it’s a project that helps them to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.’