Many of us will be familiar with the call to volunteer at church. Joining the welcome team. Helping with the tea and coffee. Singing in the worship group. But for one church in Recife, Brazil, a very different call came: they needed firefighters.
Born out of a need
The floods come every year in Recife, a city in north-east Brazil. Rainfall floods the streets and the main river regularly bursts its banks – leaving the local community defenceless as their homes fill up with dirty water. Meet the local church that now has a team of firefighters trained to save lives as soon as disaster strikes.
‘The group of firefighters comprises of about 15 to 20 people… it was born out of a need that we had,’ shares David Marcelino, who splits his time working for Tearfund’s local partner, Instituto Solidare, and his local church.
‘[Before] when we had the floods, we entered the community without any preparation… We didn't know what we could hold, what we couldn't, how we were going to get someone out of the house.
‘We carried the children on our shoulders because that's what we had.
‘The floods are recurrent, almost every year. Sometimes twice a year. So, the church and Instituto Solidare realised that it is necessary to have a team… A team prepared for this.’