I just received another e-mail from Jim Leonard in Brazil, which included this piece of information:
Rain is a scarce commodity in our semi-arid region. The average yearly rainfall, 50 inches, falls between January and April, sometimes allowing the subsistence farmers in the region to harvest a crop, but often not. Actually, there is seldom an “average” year when it comes to rain in Northeast Brazil. This year in January alone we received more than 50 inches of rain. In February the rains have continued far above the normal. The results of so much water include flooding, broken dams, washed out bridges, damaged roads and destroyed houses. Traffic has come to a near standstill. Between our city of Crato and Fortaleza, the state capital to the north, four bridges have been washed away. To the south a two mile stretch of highway was completely carried off. Even within our city and other neighboring cities roads have been closed by mud slides and washouts. Many cities have declared a state of public calamity. Last Friday night a tragedy happened about one hour from where we live. A bus with 42 passengers went off the highway into a lake which had overflowed all the way to the shoulder of the road. There were no survivors.
After I read this, I began searching for news articles about the accident. The images I saw were very sombering. Here a a couple of them:
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The bus being pulled from the water, and the first bodies being recovered.
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The bus, presumably with many bodies still inside.
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The families of the victims, waiting to identify the bodies.
I guess what makes this so poignant to me is the fact that I am well aquainted with the stretch of road where this happened. I have traveled it many times, on the same bus line. In fact, possibly on the same bus.
I can’t help but think of the 42 lives which were snuffed out, and wonder how many of them knew Christ as their Savior. My heart aches for the families of the victims, and I know that so many of them put their trust in their own works to get them to heaven. What kind of moments must they have passed when they realized that they were submerged in 20 feet of water.
I really, really want to get to Brazil, so that I can tell as many people as possible that they can have assurance of salvation.