The year 2021 arrived for Youth for Christ Brazil with many hopes and expectations. The pandemic year of 2020 being very difficult for everyone, Youth for Christ Brazil thought the new year would be one of recovery with things returning to normal.

With that in mind they began the year with a gathering for their staff and families, bringing in specialists to care for them spiritually, mentally, and physically. Meeting at the Youth for Christ Brazil camp they followed all the government protocols for sanitation, masks, and social distancing. By all accounts, it was a week of great blessing for all the attendees.

Yet not long after the retreat ended, they started getting news of people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The week designed to bring health and wellbeing resulted in dozens of people being infected with COVID-19, some with mild symptoms, some being hospitalized and, sadly, even one of their key leaders tragically dying.

Marcelo da Silva, Youth for Christ Brazil National Director, was one of those hospitalized. Like so many others worldwide he never imagined he would find himself in a hospital bed “having to face myself, at the feet of the Lord.”

When I was discharged from the hospital, I went home with my wife. And while we were inside the cab, going home, I kept thinking of what matters. People are lost, running in circles. You know, when you are in the hospital, you understand. Look, I would say something with all my heart: please do not, don’t be forced to have an experience like I had to understand what is really important in life. Rethink your lifestyle, rethink your life so you don’t have to do it inside a hospital in pain and suffering. Rethink your ranking of priorities.”

Youth for Christ Brazil will celebrate 70 years of outreach to young people next year. Throughout their history Marcelo says they have never been through such a hard time. Their entire staff was greatly impacted by what they went through.

Looking ahead Marcelo is hopeful. “I believe the blessings ahead will be greater than we have ever had, that thousands and thousands of young people in Brazil will come to Christ. COVID-19 took us down to our knees in prayer. We are committed to fulfilling this mission… the Lord will do wonderful things.”

To find out more about our programme in Brazil, go to br.yfci.org