At 9:30pm on March 14 2004, Toni Viana was shot three times in the head in front of a church in Recife, Brazil where he was ministering with a group of DTS students. Incredible Toni survived the trip to the hospital where he was rushed into emergency surgery which lasted 6 hours. It was amazing that he survived the ordeal and was still clinging to his life.
In the first 2 months Toni was in and out of coma. Eventually he became conscience and was taken off the breathing machine. It took many months for his wound to heal. Staff from YWAM Recife & friends stayed with Toni around the clock 24/7 for the next two years.
Toni’s wife Meyre fought hard to get ‘Home care’ so that Toni could come home and be with her and their two young son’s Calebe & Levi. Finally in March 2006 Meyre won the case and Toni was brought home. We all cheered as Toni arrived home in an ambulance. It was a great victory, but it was not for long. One morning in the following month (April 12) Toni began to have difficulty breathing and went in to cardiac arrest. The nurse tried to revive him as did the doctor when he arrived but at 9:00am he was pronounced dead. All day Saturday and Sunday people from all over to pay their respects. The funeral was held on Monday morning. There was a sense of grief but stronger was the sense of peace. Toni’s journey had finished. Two years of long suffering, but a sense that God had used the life of a ordinary man to touch many lives.
The following is a word we received a few hours after Toni died.
Listen to me the Holy Spirit.
Do not weep too long, weep as weeping brings healing but do not weep too long. Let me show you a picture. In heaven there is a great party going on. God has known Toni would come home for some time and he has been preparing the “fatted calf” He and a huge host of heaven right now are greeting Toni. He is the guest of honor, he has the best place at the table, he is released from all suffering, he is free of his body. God loves Toni so much he has ordained this great celebration. He wants everyone in heaven to know Toni has pleased him greatly. Toni will be given a great place of importance in God’s kingdom.
Toni and God had a marvelous and wonderful relationship. Toni has gone to his other home. It is his eternal and everlasting home where we will be united with him eventually. He chose the moment to go home and he has released a great tribe of heavenly hosts who will ride out in the Father’s name and in the name of the comforter and will surround Meyre, Calebe and Levi and all Toni’s earthly family. Do not look for results; just be told, as you have faith so it will be done. They will be comforted. Toni’s name will be a legend to future generations he will be like a saint who was slaughtered that God would be honored.
It is also relevant that Toni died at Easter when the world is thinking of the cross and what it means. Toni made the supreme sacrifice and will be forever rewarded in heaven. Therefore rejoice my children. Do not weep too long. God knows your pain and he sees your tears, he will act to help you.
So thank God for Toni’s life and celebrate with heaven at his return and celebrate his life and what he achieved. God is and so can you.
Besides working with the DTS, Toni had started a work in a garbage dump with children and their families. He had also just returned from doing the NIKO training so he could start the program at the base. Today NIKO is one of the ministries here at YWAM Recife.