One year later...

It was exactly one year ago today that a message began to circulate through email and Christian websites claiming that a team of American missionaries had resurrected 16 victims of the floods and landslides that had devastated the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, resulting in at least a thousand deaths.

Due to factual inconsistencies in the story, compared to my understanding of events as I had experienced them in the aftermath of the disaster, it immediately raised my suspicions - suspicions which were further confirmed when the supposed newspaper front page that accompanied the story was quickly shown to be a fake. Sadly, my many attempts to make contact with the team and with those propagating the story, met with responses ranging from silence to some quite aggressive replies! Eventually, the newspaper front page was admitted to be fake, but the principal parties promoting the story, the Healing Herald site and Bethel church in Redding - CA, maintained that the story was true.

Finally, last June I was able to take a small team to the township of Caleme, in Teresópolis, where the supposed resurrections occurred, at my own expense, and we were able to film interviews with local folk that proved, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the event never happened. Interestingly, within a week of my posting the video on YouTube, a message was sent out by the couple who had originally released the story, admitting that the whole story had been a lie, told to them by somebody that they had trusted. The Healing Herald then posted a retraction (although, as of writing, Bethel still haven't, beyond admitting that the newspaper article was fake).

Why am I writing about this a year later? Well, I find it sad that the story is still available on many websites around the internet, and a video on Youtube </a>which tells the original story has been seen over 14,000 times, while my video which shows the truth (linked to the first video) has been viewed less than three hundred times. Somehow, the spectacular, even if untrue, seems so much more appealing than the truth!

And, yet, the truth is that there is resurrection happening in Rio de Janeiro's mountainous region. Folk are starting to rebuild their lives</a> and their homes, to get past the devastation, the trauma and the loss, and get on with their lives. I was proud to recently be part of a small convoy taking aid from the city of Friburgo to victims of floods and landslides that have occurred in the nearby state of Minas Gerais.

In this moment of rebuilding we have an unequalled opportunity to bring the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, to show the love of Father God in practical ways, and to bring hope - true, everlasting hope, in the midst of the chaos. I've felt led to move back to Friburgo, where I have started a volunteer Christian Crisis Response Unit</a>, to minister to both the churched and the unchurched in this region and beyond.

However, I know that I cannot do this alone. We need the help and support of the Body of Christ, both within and outside of Brazil. We need finances to be able equip and maintain our teams, and the myriad of ministry opportunities that we have before us now.

My heartfelt prayer and desire is that, just as the worldwide Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was so quick to believe and distribute an untrue story about God's miraculous intervention into the devastation that occurred here last year, that some would rise up now to participate in the true story of His grace, His love and His healing as it is being poured out now in the needy region of Brazil.

Please contact me if you would like further details of how you can help us as we work with the communities that were impacted by last January's floods and landslides here in Rio de Janeiro.

Blessings

Paul

Written by : Administrator