Churches know the needs of their communities better than anyone else. They have a God-given mandate to love their neighbours – to give them both practical and spiritual help. Through our work with churches around the world we see them doing this all the time. Here’s one inspiring example from Brazil.
Carlos* and his wife Francisca have four children. They used to live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But then Carlos got sick. Money became tight and the family were forced to leave the city.
The family lived in a canvas tent and were reluctant to seek help. ‘I did not want to take land from others,’ says Carlos.
Thankfully, Carlos was persuaded by his family to approach the government for support. They were moved out of the cramped tent and into rented accommodation before a house was built for them.
However, Carlos and Francisca still couldn’t find any work, leaving them unable to provide for their family. And a drought made everything worse.
It began with a well
The dam close to them had dried up. To get water, the family were forced to travel over four kilometres. Water was limited – one small water source had to be shared between 20 families. Cooking, drinking, washing – all necessary things that this limited resource was desperately needed for.
Carlos then met two people who helped turn his family's lives around.
Mr Tarcisio and Pastor John were part of the leadership of two nearby churches, supported by our local partner, Evangelical Action Brazil (ACEV). Mr Tarcisio was an Elder at one, and Pastor John was a pastor at the other. They saw the needs of these communities, and wanted to help out.
Through our local partner, Tearfund has been equipping them to help them address the needs in their local community, so that people can overcome poverty. It’s a model that works because it empowers local people to be the solution for change.
After talking with these communities to find the best location, Tearfund was able to help the churches to build a well. This gave them the water they needed to flourish. And after tackling the issue of providing clean water, other problems could be addressed too – such as how Carlos and Francisca could feed their family.
Life and life to the full
Our work through our church partners is designed to care for the individual as a whole. We believe every human being is created in the image of God – having inherent value. And we want to help each person be able to flourish and achieve their God-given potential. That means breaking the barriers that poverty traps people behind.