Mariana Schietti in Brazil

Dear Friends,

Thank you for praying with us this week for Mariana Schietti in Brazil.

Over 210 million people live in Brazil, the largest and most populous country in Latin America. According to a 2010 census, 65% of Brazilians are Catholic, 22% Protestant, and 8% irreligious. Although Brazil has the strongest economy in Latin America and the twelfth largest economy worldwide, unemployment has soared during the pandemic, further widening the wealth gap between rich and poor Brazilians. 

Mariana is pursuing a PhD in Theology (Biblical Studies) at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná. Her research explores the divine definition of goodness in Genesis 1, in order to understand Jesus’ call to dignified, just, and harmonious living as part of the Church’s mission. Amid rising political conflict and economic inequality in Brazil, Mariana’s research challenges Christians to pursue the good life according to God’s values. 
Since 2017, Mariana has taught in the online programs of South American Theological Seminary (SATS), a partner of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative. She is part of SATS’s strategic faculty development plan to invest in outstanding women theologians. Mariana is married to Lucas Mancini Ramos.
Mariana shares the following message:

My name is Mariana Schietti, my husband is Lucas, and we’re from Brazil.
First of all, I would like to thank ScholarLeaders for all the support. You have been a blessing from God in our lives, and we are very grateful for that.
I’m a PhD student at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná in a graduate program with emphasis on the Bible, specifically the analysis and interpretation of sacred Scripture. My research focuses on the adjective Tov (translated as “good”), which appears eight times in Genesis 1. My dissertation is titled “Dignity, Justice and Harmony in Creation: A Study on the Uses of the Adjective Tov in Genesis 1.”
I propose that living in accordance with human dignity, God’s justice, and Edenic harmony involves learning to live into God’s Tov. All elements of creation fulfilling their functions are necessary for humans to live in harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with our own selves. Otherwise, humanity runs toward injustice, human dysfunction, and misuses of creation.
This topic really catches my attention because inequality is everywhere around us. Brazil is full of slums and settlements, where homeless and landless people live. A large part of Brazil’s population suffers from thirst, hunger, and a lack of hygiene and basic care. 
Many problems could be solved if our Christian population (which makes up almost 90% of our country) didn’t need so much wealth and status, and instead started to look at each other as equals, considering their growth potential and basic needs. We could achieve much more equality and, consequently, divine justice. Divine justice, as Moltmann says in many of his writings, is nothing more than all human beings living out the fullness of God’s image and likeness. This stands in contrast to our consumer society’s mentality. 
The pandemic period associated with Brazil’s political problems has drastically worsened the scenario. It’s getting more and more difficult to find a job and have proper access to good healthcare, good education, housing, and food. Inflation in Brazil has risen dramatically. The general market price index has increased 23.14% in 2021. Some food, such as poultry and certain meats, as well as basic materials, have become completely inaccessible to a large part of the population.
Considering all this, our church has intensified its work with populations in need here in our city, Londrina, located in Paraná. We distribute perishable food like fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken, meat, etc. Those receiving help include Venezuelan families who migrated to Brazil. We also help them to get their documents and get some job opportunities. 
Unfortunately, our community has been experiencing financial difficulties. In the pandemic period, many members were financially affected, and that has limited our aid work. Nevertheless, we have faith in God, and we hope that everything will be fine. 
Here at the South American Theological Seminary, everything is great – and I thank the good God for that. I’m teaching Systematic Theology and tutoring online students. 
Prayer Requests
1) Pray for my husband’s and my physical and emotional health. We have worked intensively over the years.
2) Pray for my country, which is going through a serious political problem. The extreme political division prevents the country from advancing in the fight against the pandemic and its social consequences.
3) Pray for our church, for willing people to contribute to our ministry and for us to keep helping those in need.
4) Pray for my studies, that God may enlighten me and set me on the right path to produce an effective theology for society.
5) Pray for ScholarLeaders, that you can keep receiving the support you need to maintain our help.
6) Pray for the whole world to find God’s Tov in their lives. 
Mariana Schietti

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