“I am only happy when I am really tired, consumed by God’s work”, is what Ronaldo Pereira used to say.
Ever since his youth, Ronaldo was always a revolutionary lad. During his school years, he was a writer and the editor of the school’s newspaper which had a communist tone. He wanted to finish high-school, study Agronomy and afterwards move to Cuba. However, he was taken to Shalom Community by a girl named Daniela. Then came his conversion which was a turning point in his convictions.
He went to college to study Business. His father was very happy as he wanted his son to take over the family’s business. Meanwhile, Ronaldo was getting more and more involved in his prayer group and soon turned out to have leadership qualities. Later, he was asked to coordinate another prayer group and his involvement in the service of the Lord took off. He had charisma and the gift to attract many young people like him to God.
In his spiritual journey, Ronaldo started a vocation discernment path and was called to Life Community, one of the two missionary ways of Shalom Vocation. He dropped out college, left his house and was sent on mission to Pacajus city, Brazil, away from the confortable life he used to have with his family. He wanted to take care of God’s “businesses” now, leaving his own plans and personal projects aside in order to follow the Lord’s call. This is what made him happy.
He worked in many different apostolic fronts in Shalom Community, always involved both in administrative and pastoral duties. Ronaldo was Moyses’s, the Community’s founder, right arm and later received the important mission of coordinating the Youth for Jesus Project, a pastoral organization within Shalom Community responsible for the evangelization of the youth. He carried a great desire in his heart to consume his life for the youth till his last drop of blood, as he used to say.
On February 17th, 1995, returning from a missionary trip in the city of Natal (Brazil), Ronaldo, Moyses and a few others had a terrible car accident. Ronaldo died on his way to the hospital. He lost all his blood in the accident which was later recalled by those around him saying that “indeed he gave his life and his last drop of blood for the youth”.
Ronaldo’s death opened a new time in the life of the Community, a time of grace, of human love, of spiritual parenthood, of a deeper devotion towards Our Lady, especially under the title of “Door of Heaven”. Shalom Community, filled with hope, now had one of its member, the first one, in Heaven and that built up a strong conviction of eternal realities for their members. Heaven is near. Heaven is a possibility for those who seek the Lord and wish to give their lives in His service.
Up to this day, there are many stories of life changing conversions of young people throughout the Community’s evangelization work that are in some way connected to Ronaldo’s life. Young people who never met him but are reached by his example, his words and his life consumed for God.