Every year, Catholic pilgrims leave their homes throughout Minas Gerais, Brazil, to walk to the city of Romaria for one of the greatest religious festivities in the state, which takes place on August 15. Some of these pilgrims start walking as early as August 1st. This year, the members of the Espaço Adventista da Colina in Uberlandia set up a tent along the pilgrim’s route, as part of the “Living Water” project.
Beginning with prayer and a lot preparation, volunteers spent the weekend of August 9 – 11 distributing soup, juice, bread, tea, water, and fruit. The group also provided shelter, medical care, foot massages and copies of Hope for Today’s Families to the pilgirms. They received donations from businesses and served nearly three thousand people.
The Living Water project’s founder, 38-year-old support analyst Wemerson Castro, developed an interest in helping the pilgrims in 2017, when he was returning from a trip and saw all of the people walking towards the city. Moved, he asked God why he felt so moved to help these people. That same day, he spontaneously walked into a tent where people were providing care for the pilgrims and made himself available to serve. Later, he shared his experience with his wife Jhosiane Ferreira, 33 year old public manager. “When I got home, I told her about it,” he said. “We prayed together to see what the Lord had for us to do. God’s answer was that we were able to raise the necessary funds and all the conditions lined up to set up a tent,” he explains. That is how the Living Water Project came to exist.
The name “Living Water” is a reference to the story in John 4, in which Jesus met a Samaritan woman and asked her for water. The woman questioned the fact that Jesus, being a Jew, was talking to her, a Samaritan. In the story, Christ emphasized that whoever drank the water that He had to offer would not be thirsty again.
Wemerson Castor emphasized that “there is something above the concept of religion: Christ; and we are serving Him.”