“It was 9 p.m., and the church service had just finished,” Emanuelly remembers. “We were outside talking with the other teenagers.” Suddenly, someone arrived to tell Emanuelly and her twin sister, Eduarda, that their house was burning down.
It wouldn’t be the first time the teenaged sisters had lost a home. Their father was involved in drug trafficking, and their mother was abusive. “She never treated us like her children,” Eduarda explains. “She treated us like strangers, and she didn’t let us eat. When I was little I tried to commit suicide because of the abuse my mom put me through.” When the girls were just 7 years old, their mother abandoned them.
Emanuelly and Eduarda went to live with their grandmother, who began taking them to the Assembly of God church in Vila Alança, Río de Janeiro. There, the sisters were given Reach4Life Bibles donated by Biblica supporters like you and began attending the church’s Reach4Life group.
“When they got here, they were very scared,” says Pastor Antonino Moreira. “When they learned about the Word of God through this wonderful project, Reach4Life, they felt comforted. There was a change in the twins’ hearts.” Then came the fire.
“They are a very poor family,” says Pastor Moreira. “The little that they had, they lost. When I found them after the fire, I thought especially Emanuelly would be desperate. Instead, she was happy, and she told me a Bible verse that she had learned: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NIV).
Emanuelly can’t speak of the fire without tears, but she explains how it affirmed her faith in God and their church community. “Everyone from church went to help us. That was what comforted me. I thought that nobody loved me, but when I got here, I had friends by my side and they gave me advice. They were with me step by step. I saw what true love was.”
“By the grace of God, the church came together to restore their house,” says Pastor Moreira. “But the most important part was not the material goods that the girls managed to recover. It was their reaction.”
For sisters who had been abandoned by the most important people in their lives, learning about God’s never-failing love through Reach4Life was transformative.
“I did my best efforts to forget my mom,” Emanuelly says. “Then I learned that God didn’t want me to be mad at my mom and to have this pain inside of me. God’s love is necessary for those who go through problems at home. I want to tell you what others always tell me. Even if a mother forgets her son, God has not forgotten about you [see Isaiah 49:15].”
She adds, “I wanted to give a huge thank-you to Biblica that gave us this wonderful Bible. Because of this Bible, many lives are being saved and many houses have been restored. Many teenagers have left behind the world of drugs and prostitution.”
Pastor Moreira agrees. “We thank God for this project. We have seen the results of what the Word of God is doing in the lives of these teenagers who live in a community where drugs, prostitution, and abandonment are part of most kids’ lives. The results of this project have been spectacular and very surprising.”