Don't worry about death or when it will come, pastor Jose Carmo Jr. said in some of the final words he preached to his Brazilian-immigrant congregation, Marietta's Igreja Internacional da Restauracao.
Kennesaw resident Carmo, 43; his wife, Adrianna, 39; their first daughter, Leticia, 17; his brother, Edson, 38; and Edson's girlfriend, Roselia DeSilva, 41, died early Sunday on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, FL, in a horrific crash involving at least nine other vehicles.
In a YouTube video of a church sermon posted last week, Carmo addresses speculation that 2012 will bring the end of the world and emphasizes that only God knows when the end will come.
Citing Scripture, his sermon has an underlying message of hope: "The Bible says this is not the end. It is the beginning."
Toward the end of the sermon, Carmo invites members of the church to come to the front, and he leads a blessing. He says we are born, we grow, we live, we have big dreams and plans, but one day our lives end. Rather than worry about death or when it will come, though, he tells the members of the church to place their lives in God's hands.
It was his desire to get back to Marietta in time for this past Sunday's service at the church, whose Portuguese name translates as the International Church of the Restoration, that led Carmo and his family to be on I-75 early Sunday.
Carmo had shrugged off pleas to spend the night in Florida before driving home from a religious conference in Orlando because he wanted to get home to his church, according to an Associated Press story.
Around 4 a.m., the Carmos became victims of the disastrous pileup on I-75 near Gainesville—caused by fog and smoke from a brush fire.
Lidiane Carmo, 15, the second daughter of Jose and Adrianna Carmo, was the only survivor of the six people in that van. She hadn't been told Monday that her parents and sister died, but an uncle was with her at the hospital.
Lidiane had improved from critical to fair condition by Tuesday morning, WSB-TV reported.
Both girls attended in Northeast Cobb.
In a graphic 911 call, a woman whose car hit a guardrail describes hearing other crashes and seeing victims through the smoke. A fire after the crashes consumed some of the vehicles.
Nine other church members traveled in a second van caught in the chain-reaction wreck and were injured.
At a memorial service Monday night, about 100 people gathered at the Brazilian church at 1395 S. Marietta Pkwy. in Marietta and wailed as the senior pastor addressed them in Portuguese.
Amazonas had been at the conference in Florida with the family and many others since Thursday and said everyone had a good time.
Friends said the family moved to the United States 12 years ago and helped start the church two years ago.
“They were a quiet family. Very discreet but very strong and united,” family friend Rosana Alves told the Marietta Daily Journal.
Two years ago, the Carmos left their jobs to devote themselves to the church full time. The Carmos often served as surrogate parents of other Brazilian immigrants, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A YouTube video marking the church's first anniversary last year prominently features the family in establishing the Marietta church.
Another YouTube video shows the joy of church members as they dance and worship together. The Portuguese song partially translates as:
To the right, to the left, to the front and to the back
Everywhere, I am blessed
In everything I do, I am blessed
The Lord has prepared all kinds of blessings for me
And in all things, I am a victor.
If you would like to help the family, you can donate to the Carmo Family Funeral Fund at any , Alves said.