Over the next several weeks, let us intercede for Latin American Christian leaders in the ScholarLeaders Prayer Community. Latin America comprises 20 countries and 14 territories, including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. ScholarLeaders has collaborated with four seminaries in the region through the Vital Sustainability Initiative and has supported 29 Latin American scholars for PhD studies through Leader Studies. Learn more by visiting our Prayer Community page.
This week, please pray with us for Mariana Schietti in Brazil.
Brazil, the largest and most populous country in Latin America, is known for its Amazon rainforests, Carnival festivals, and Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Of Brazil’s 217 million people, 65% are Catholic, 22% Protestant, and 8% irreligious. Although Brazil has Latin America’s largest economy, corruption and socioeconomic inequality persist, with the richest 5% of Brazilians controlling as much wealth as the remaining 95%.
Mariana is pursuing a PhD in Theology (Biblical Studies) at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná. Her dissertation explores the divine definition of goodness in Genesis 1. Through this research, Mariana seeks to understand Christ’s 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 scholarship 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 client of the Vital Sustainability Initiative, in Londrina, Brazil. 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:
Hi, my name is Mariana, I’m married to Lucas, and we’re from Brazil.
First, I thank God for the opportunity to be introduced to ScholarLeaders’ network, and I thank you for helping me on this journey of studies, allowing me to get to this point. Brazilians often say: “I am Brazilian, and I never give up.” Even with the difficulties of pursuing a doctorate, I never gave up on that dream. I always had faith that, one way or another, this would be possible – and because of SL, this has become possible.
Pray for Education in Brazil
I take the opportunity to mention that, in our country, education is very lacking. Although we have many public schools, there are still many regions without access to education. In other regions, it is precarious, with many deficiencies. It has been necessary to invest in private schools to access good education.
We also have a problematic scenario at the college level. The best colleges are public, and the selection process makes it very hard for those who have had poor primary education to gain access. Meanwhile, private colleges are extremely expensive. Getting a master’s or doctoral degree is very difficult in Brazil due to costs, location, requirements, and low government investment. Thus, higher education has become a privilege of the upper classes. This, unfortunately, does not help our country to develop socially.
This is a very important prayer request for Brazil. We believe that education can make a change. In our local church, we give great importance to helping people get proper education and to sharing with members all we have received in our theological formation. We ask your prayers as we continue to bless people’s lives through teaching.
Pray for My Research and Teaching Ministry
As for me, I have the pleasure and privilege of sharing that my research and thesis will be completed later this year. The defense is scheduled for March 2024. Almost three years have passed since I’ve dedicated myself to studying Genesis 1 to better understand what God’s “good” means. My interest in the subject continues to grow, and I am sure that we Christians need to rediscover the goodness of creation. It is only through the eyes of Christ that we can make this created world a good place before God. I ask you to pray for strength, understanding, and enthusiasm as I complete the program, that God may blow his Spirit of wisdom upon me so that I can finish my research with excellence.
I also ask for prayers for my ministry at South American Theological Seminary, so I can balance my time while I teach, mentor students, and assist in other administrative tasks. This ministry has always been and remains my greatest desire and passion.
My husband and I thank all SL contributors for supporting us over these years along this journey.
May God continue to bless and guide you.