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Faith in the Midst of Tragedy in Riacho da Porta


We have been aware for some time of the growing violence in Brazil. The current unemployment rate is high, the economy is in a bad place, and despair and drug use are on the rise. For those who have visited Riacho da Porta, it would be easy to think that this rural community would be immune to the kinds of violence all too common in Brazil’s cities. But that wasn’t the case the night of September 14, 2017.

Yasmin, 14, and her mother Fernanda were home when two young men broke into their house that evening looking for money and items they could sell for drugs. One of the men shot Yasmin in the head, and she died several hours later at a hospital in Fortaleza. The local news story can be found here.

While an absolute tragedy of a life cut way too short, Renato is thankful to know that Yasmin prayed to receive Christ just a couple of months earlier during the church service held in the community. Renato noted that Yasmin had been very active in communicating her faith with others through the summer. Since this tragic event, the church has continued to be a source of strength to the community and services have been packed with families coming in from neighboring areas. Yasmin’s stepfather accepted Christ at the funeral. Pray for Yasmin’s mom who feels her security has been shattered (especially at night). And pray for the community to heal and grow stronger through these challenges.

Often in rich countries, our focus when tragedy strikes is to seek justice and to look for ways that laws can be improved to somehow prevent all future tragedies. But Renato reminds us that it is equally important to go through suffering when tragedy occurs, to consider the condition of man (which includes all of us) and to reflect on the fragility of life on this earth. Our true hope won’t be found in perfecting society, but rather in leaning on the Perfect One who gives us hope beyond this life.

Again, thank you for your support of Jacob’s Well, which includes the support of the local church at Riacho da Porta. When tragedy strikes, God’s people more than ever need a place to come together.

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