However, she soon discovered that the tentacles of corruption extended far inside Court of Accounts itself along with the other government departments. ‘There was nothing I could do because the corruption goes right to the top; my work was basically put onto the garbage pile.’
Elda also saw the ill effects of the corruption she was supposed to be fighting, whilst powerless to stop it.
‘I saw a child die in the public health system. Why did it happen? I saw the bad quality of care, and how much money was being siphoned out of the healthcare budget into people’s pockets. Sometimes I couldn't sleep at night for asking myself, "How can people do this? Who is taking the money? Where is it going?”’
The anger and frustration took its toll on her health; Elda developed chronic Burnout Syndrome and was given early retirement from her job in 2011.
Ironically, she says, leaving that job has allowed her to make a far bigger impact. ‘I was a slave in Egypt in this job – like Moses and the Israelites. Now God has delivered me out of slavery, I can really do something.’
Elda hadn’t lost her sense of vocation. Inspiration for a new way to tackle the problem came after the Micah Challenge social justice campaign (in which Tearfund plays a major role) visited Brazil. Elda was invited to join them.
‘It's changed everything; before I was fighting against corruption only with my energy. It wasn’t about God. Now I fight against corruption in the name of God of the impossible.’ Her other new allies were God’s people; the church in Brazil.
Elda helped to found a brand new national anti-corruption movement ‘Love the Truth – Evangelicals Against Corruption.’ Its mission; to get the local church to join the fight – from the grassroots upwards.
Rampant corruption may be common knowledge to all, but getting it talked about in church wasn’t so easy. ‘That sort of discussion isn’t allowed in the church, because it divides people. People would say “I prefer this party, and you prefer this party,”’ says Elda. ‘We want to show pastors that the discussion is not about people, it's about God’s values, like integrity and truth; these are the very opposite of corruption. Corruption is the lie. Jesus Christ is the truth.’
There’s another key Christian principle at work in Love the Truth; taking the splinter out of your own eye first. Pastors and churches are encouraged to examine their own attitudes towards probity first, rather than merely pointing the finger at faceless bureaucrats and politicians.