Caught Between the Spouse and the Spirit
But for now, she adds, she is simply waiting for God to save him.
In the nearby district of Ibicuitaba, another woman named Socorro sits on her front porch and waits as well.
This Wednesday morning, Maria do Socorro Rebouças Rodrigues, also 48, is waiting for her partner of 14 years, Antonio César Ferreira da Silva, to come home for lunch after a morning of supervising 15 construction workers.
But every day of her life, Socorro says, she is waiting for him to become a Pentecostal.
"He promised that someday he will receive Jesus, but the day never comes," she says, as the cool coastal breeze whips through her hair.
Socorro spends about four hours a day sewing clothes, which she sells to make extra money. She also sings in the church choir and attends services on Sundays and Thursdays—except for when César comes home drunk or in a bad mood.
Her voice becomes faster and louder as she mocks his complaints: he gripes that she has left him nothing to eat and that she goes to church all the time.
It won't hurt her to skip church one day, he tells her.
Whatever his complaint, she stays home to avoid an argument.
"When I have to stay, what I do is cry," Socorro says.
Socorro says her family's resistance to Pentecostalism holds her back. Her two grown children have chosen Catholicism, and César avoids all churches.
César's black curls are dripping wet from the shower he took during his lunch break. His arms crossed, he says joining the Pentecostal church would require too much time and effort; he would have to change his behavior and end some of his friendships, he says.
"But I live my life. I don't bother anybody," he adds. "I'm almost like a Christian."
He says his relationship with Socorro is fine and that nothing would change if he became a Pentecostal.
After he leaves, Socorro disagrees.
He has no idea how much better their lives could be because he does not know Jesus, she says, as she gazes at the place where moments ago he sped off on his motorcycle.
'Today Is My Day'
About three blocks up the road from Socorro's house, 26-year-old Ednira Bessa leads a different life.
Ednira takes her 4-year-old daughter to a neighbor's house, travels around the city helping elderly residents with their finances, returns home to change, and then goes to church with her husband, who recently came to Christ.
Ednira walks into the family program in Melancias with her husband, Carlos Barros Jr., who is the only other married man in the room besides the official church leaders.
Carlos puts his arm around Ednira, who is wearing a short, bright red dress and white high heels.
Carlos's black hair is short, styled with a small amount of gel. His hands are callus-free because he works as a high-school chemistry teacher instead of as a fisherman.
Both of their faces are smooth, unlike many of the people around them, who are at least twice their age.
On the night of the seminar, they sit in the last row. But on any other night in their neighborhood of Ibicuitaba, Ednira conducts the choir and Carlos leads songs with his baritone voice and guitar.
It didn't used to be this way.
Before Carlos became a Pentecostal, the church was a source of tension in their relationship, Ednira says.
On the one hand, she longed to rejoin the church of her birth after distancing herself from Pentecostalism, which she felt was too strict about modesty and a woman's appearance.