The neighborhood of Xerém, 30 miles north of downtown Rio, sits at the foot of mountains. It has made a name for itself as a home to the car industry, drug-related violence and the Fluminense Football Club. For the better part of the last century, wealthy Brazilians cut through it on their way to fancy weekend mountaintop hideaways.
But some 20 years ago, Xerém also began a big religious experiment: some of the first evangelical churches in Brazil set up shop there. Marly Silva witnessed the transformation. When she first arrived to the Rio metropolitan region 20 years ago from her home in the poverty-stricken north, evangelicalism offered her a community. She converted from Catholicism.