Window Into South America

Uploaded by AdventistMission on 26.09.2012

A new day dawns over the landscape of the South American Division.
Soon people will begin their day.
Soon streets will be filled, students will fill their classrooms,
and people will go about their daily business.
Welcome to the South American Division.
South America...
The name of the fourth-largest coninent on earth conjures up of a variety of
For some
it's the large cities of South America.
For others it's the mighty Amazon and once vast rainforests.
for others and it's the towering mountains of the Andes.
And for some
it's the white sand beaches.
For Adventist Mission, South America represents millions of unreached people.
Ask a Seventh-day Adventist what they know about mission in South America
and they may remember the names of Adventist pioneer missionaries
such as the Stahls
and Halliwells.
Although well-known,
these two families were just two
of many who contributed to the growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America.
today there are more than two million Seventh-day Adventists in South America
worshiping in some ten
thousand churches.
while that represents tremendous growth
there is still much to be done.
In an area with more than 318 million people
only two million
are Seventh-day Adventists.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is growing in South America
thanks to active laypeople and dedicated pastors, global mission pioneers,
and Christian teachers.
In recent years Seventh-day Adventist leaders recognize the increasing challenge
of reaching people in large urban areas.
People in cities are busy,
secularism is growing
and people in urban areas
often spend their social time with a close circle of friends.
more than half of the people on Earth
live in urban areas.
In South America,
some estimates
put the urban population
as high as 80 percent.
São Paulo is Brazil's largest city
with a population of some eleven million in the city itself
and nearly twenty million
and the metropolitan area.
Seven years ago,
Pastor Kleber Gonçalves left Andrews University where he had been studying
and returned to Brazil.
He had a dream of starting a church in the heart of the city--
in an area we're starting a new church wouldn't be easy.
"Traditionally we have not been very successful in reaching secular and postmodern
people in this area. Actually right here where we are,
the financial Center of São Paulo, Paulista Avenue,
in the past 47 years
we have not been able, as a church,
to start any churches in this area."
Despite the difficulties of the past
Pastor Kleber gathered together a small group of Adventists
and planted in the church called Nova Semente.
"Nova Semente,
the meaning of the name is "new seed"
and it comes from
Zaccheus' experience
--that little short man--
he wanted to see Jesus says
the Bible text. So he was
looking for a place
and he found a little tree in which he could
hide and there sitting
on a branch of the
Sycamore tree
he can finally see Jesus."
Today Nova Semente
--the new seed--has grown into a large and vibrant church here in the business
district of one of Brazil's largest cities.
Every Saturday (or Sabbath)
they have three services.
"The first one is at 10 AM in the morning.
It's mainly for the members
and for the new converts.
So we have a very strong discipleship program
in which we teach the
church about our mission, our vision as a church.
We help them to develop
this close relationship with Jesus Christ."
During the morning service,
families are invited to participate.
Each week, members fill out prayer requests, bring them to the front, and place then in
a box.
The box is locked
and a family that has recently joined the church is chosen to take the box
During the week,
they pray for the requests of their newfound church family.
Church members are also asked to pray for the prayer needs in the box.
Every Sabbath
Vera and Marcio open their home and invite new people for a meal and
Marcio is a chef
and he's happy to share his culinary skills with people from his church.
And Vera
has found a way that God can use her.

"When i started coming here I realized that I didn't have a specific talent.
I saw some people singing or going to prayer groups or doing the discipleship,
and I was asking God to use me.
I was doing these lunches already and I realized that God was telling me
that this was the way to serve Him,
bringing people together to have this fellowship after church."
When Vera started going to Nova Semente,
Marcio was going to another church.
Marcio was praying that Vera would come back to their old church. Vera was
asking God to help
Marcio know that
Nova Semente was the church for him.
Today Vera and Marcio are actively involved at Nova Semente.

"I try to give all the love I felt the church was giving me
and give it back to these people who are coming here for the first time."
Services don't end with morning worship and lunch at Nova Semente.
In the afternoon
they have a special program for their neighbors and members are involved in
putting on the program.
"In the afternoon everything changes,
the members they are
fired up to serve so we have dozens of volunteers. You just saw for
You just saw for this program to be able to run, we had at least 80
people involved as volunteers in various ministries."
In the afternoon,
the church focuses intentionally on secular and postmodern people.
"And a little later starting at eight, we have
another service in the mezzanine focusing on youth.
So we have our young people involved. It has also an evangelistic approach
so they can bring their friends.
So the only difference from the afternoon program from the
night service is the way we communicate."
Although Nova Semente is drawing people to the Church,
Nova Semente's members are also going out.
One of these members is Audrey.
One day, she stopped and bought some vegetables from some boys selling by
the side of the road.
While she was talking with them
she asked where they lived.
They offered to show her
and soon she found herself in one of the poor areas of São Paulo.
After the visit
Audrey promise to come back.
She started going back and taking food and clothes donated by church members and
When she saw they didn't have proper sewage and water,
she started visiting city hall and knocking on doors.
She visited office after office,
meeting with one official after another
until finally
improvements were made in that neighborhood.
She and her husband Alfred still visit to talk with their friends and to lend a helping hand when they can.
"We've been helping to build his home. That was a problem for him because he's been living in other people's houses."
Although it has taken years of work in this challenging area
more than 90 people have been baptized
and more are taking Bible studies.

While Nova Semente is near the financial hub of São Paulo,
many churches are in areas where members are struggling to make ends meet.
Global Mission pioneers and other church planters have started new congregations
that have no church building to call home.
These congregations
yearn for a church building where they can meet
and invite their friends.
In the South American Division
there are two main languages--
Spanish and Portuguese.
For years, the percentage of Adventist members who speak these languages has
remained about even.
For some 20 years South American division leaders have divided up the
Thirteen Sabbath Offering
between the territories speaking these two languages.
Please continue to pray for the people of the South American division.
And thank you
for supporting the mission offerings and world budget of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church
that are making such a different in people's
lives around the world.