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Caught Between the Spouse and the Spirit
Zachary Bennett
Caught Between the Spouse and the Spirit

Francisca Maria Costa Lima was 21 years old when her husband first locked her out of the house.

It happened three times, and each time she had to bang on the door, with her Bible in the other hand, shouting at her husband to let her in.

The expletives her husband yelled back contrasted sharply with the prayers Francisca spoke in the Pentecostal church about 15 minutes earlier.

But she says she had known it would not be easy following this new wave of Pentecostalism with a husband stuck in the past.

A Balancing Act

Now 35 and able to freely walk to and from church, Francisca sits on her porch in Mutamba, a neighborhood in Icapuí, a city of 16,000 in northeast Brazil. She fixes her dark brown eyes on the wooden door she used to beat with her fists.

The rest of her house is made of bricks and clumps of hardened mortar from when the mixture was left to ooze out of the cracks while it was still wet.

Forroacute;—the traditional northeastern music blending accordion, triangle, and zabumba drum—blares from the house across the street, dancing over the dirt path and the uneven fence surrounding Francisca's house.

Living in the sunniest state in Brazil for all her life has darkened Francisca's face and added lines beyond her years. Her fingers smooth her turquoise skirt and brush over the worn pages of the Bible she received 14 years ago, when she first encountered Christ.

Her husband no longer locks her out to stop her from attending church, she says, but still, he complains.

"This time that I dedicate to the church, he wants for himself," she says.

Whether she is teaching a youth Bible class or leading a weekly prayer meeting at Templo Central, Francisca is one of the many ...

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Caught Between the Spouse and the Spirit
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September 2012

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